NEW claims say that missing British hiker Esther Dingley ‘was taking a break’ from her relationship at the time of her disappearance.
The fitness enthusiast, 37, has not been seen since November 22, when she went for a solo hike on the Spanish/French border.
She was reported missing by her partner Dan Colegate, 38, after failing to return from her journey from Port de la Glere to the Port de Venasque, along the border of both countries.
Now fellow hiker Laura Adomaityte, 27, who lives in Spain and spoke with Esther a shelter just days before she vanished said the couples relationship was on the rocks.
She told the MailOnline: “ Esther said they were taking a break and didn’t know if they were going to get back together again.
“When you’re not 100 per cent okay with your partner, you’re not going to be totally balanced emotionally.
“She didn’t seem desperate to me but the last time we spoke was about a week before she went missing and in that space of time a person can have a lot of highs and lows.’
Laura, an expat from Lithuania, added: “I spoke to the Spanish police two days after she was reported missing and told them everything I knew.
‘The British police called me last month after the Civil Guard rang me back to ask if they could pass on my number to them.
“They wanted to know my opinion about how well prepared Esther had been in terms of the equipment she was carrying and the shape she was in physically as well as how she was emotionally.
“They didn’t appear to me to be focusing on anything in particular. They just asked a lot of questions.
“he one thing that did surprise me about Esther was how little food she took with her on the last hike we did together.
“We left on the afternoon of November 12 and returned the following day around midday.
“Esther only took dried oats, a red pepper and a small lettuce. I ended up sharing the food I’d taken for myself when we reached a refuge for the night called Refugio de Pescadores, which included a can of tuna and potatoes we heated up in the evening and an apple the following morning.
She said she liked to travel light when she was in the mountains.’
“If she made mistakes anywhere, it could have been the provisions she’d take because she was well-prepared in terms of equipment and very strong physically.”
Esther’s partner of 19 years Daniel has dismissed media reports that their relationship was an unhappy one.
He said: “We spoke every day, the time apart worked as we expected, and we were very joyful when we spoke.
“The hike she went missing on was to be her last before driving back. Our last conversation was totally loving and all smiles. She was so happy, and we were excited to see each other.”
The Oxford graduate has been grilled by police three times since his girlfriend’s disappearance, but cops maintain that he has been interviewed as a witness and not a suspect.