Mystery as photos on phone used by Esther Dingley could hold key to mountain death

PHOTOS on the phone used by tragic hiker Esther Dingley to send her last message could hold the key to her mountain death.

Esther, 37, had a £270 Redmi Note 9 Pro which was turned off for large parts of her solo walk to conserve its battery.

But it is likely to have continued to send signals before she met her death in the Pyrenees.

And pictures in its memory could provide more vital clues as to how she met her fate, investigators said.

The camera is understood to have been taken for analysis.

A source said: “Phones are always crucial to solving cases like this.

“This is why the device will be picked over by the forensics officers working on the case.

"As far as the ongoing investigation is concerned, it is easily the most important bit of equipment.”

Esther used the phone on November 21 to post a selfie on 8,900ft mountain Pic de Sauvegarde.

She sent it to boyfriend Dan Colegate, 38, who had stayed behind at the couple’s camper van 100 miles away.

He received the picture and a message the next morning. Three days later, she failed to make contact and he reported her missing.

Dan found Esther’s remains and most of her trekking kit on Monday — two weeks after a skull fragment was found nearby on a trail.

Police last night declined to confirm if the phone had been recovered as forensic work continued at the scene.

French and Spanish cops have privately put murder low on their list of theories, with an accident the most likely explanation.

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