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POLICE

Partner finds body of missing British hiker close to border between France and Spain

The partner of a British hiker who went missing in the French Pyrenees last November has found her body, her family said on Tuesday, adding that an accident was "the most likely hypothesis".

Partner finds body of missing British hiker close to border between France and Spain
Illustration photo: Raymond Roig/AFP

Esther Dingley, 37, had been walking on her own in the mountain range, which straddles the border between France and Spain, but had not been heard from since sending a WhatsApp message on November 22nd.

Her partner Daniel Colegate, who raised the alarm over her whereabouts, found her body on Monday following a “relentless search”, according to a family statement released by charity LBT Global.

Colegate found Dingley’s body and equipment close to where a bone was found by a mountain runner two weeks ago.

A DNA test on the bone confirmed last month that it belonged to the hiker.

“At this stage an accident is the most likely hypothesis, given the location and other early indications,” the statement said.

“A full investigation is under way to confirm the details.”

Her family said they “remain incredibly grateful for the efforts of the police units involved and their commitment to understanding the exact circumstances of Esther’s death”.

Dingley had planned to make a loop around the Salvaguardia peak, which stands at 2,738 metres above sea level, between Spain and where her vehicle was parked, according to investigators.

The BBC reported she and Colegate, who were partners for 20 years, had travelled around Europe in a camper van after leaving northeast England in 2014.

Colegate was house-sitting at a Gascony vineyard while his girlfriend took their motor home on the journey to Spain.

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POLICE

Paris suburbs see third night of violence

The Parisian suburbs of Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France have seen clashes between residents and police, ever since an officer shot and killed the driver of a stolen van on Saturday.

Paris suburbs see third night of violence

Angry residents and police clashed for a third night in suburbs north of Paris, leading to 13 arrests following the fatal shooting of a father-of-four by an officer at the weekend, police said Tuesday.

Despite a heavy police presence to prevent further violence, several cars, a dozen bins and an abandoned sports centre were set alight overnight in the low-income Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France suburbs, a police source told AFP.

The unrest began Saturday after a police officer fatally shot the driver of a van that had been reported stolen and was being inspected at a traffic light in Sevran at around lunchtime.

The officer was hospitalised afterwards “in a state of shock,” local prosecutor Eric Mathais said Sunday, while internal police investigators have opened a probe into the incident.

Local people who knew the man named as Jean-Paul told AFP that he had taken a van owned by his employer who owed him wages.

They have also questioned how the officer could justify opening fire when his life was not in danger, which is the only justification for using a weapon under French law.

A protest march by the dead man’s family is expected in the next few days.

Residents in France’s multiracial suburbs often complain about heavy-handed policing methods and violence that have led to a series of scandals in recent years, including the February 2017 arrest of a black man who was allegedly sodomised with a police baton.

Police unions say officers often face hostility and attacks, and are faced with the difficult task of trying to maintain order in impoverished high-rise housing estates that in some cases are centres of drug dealing and other criminality.

The French government began a public consultation in February aimed at devising ways to increase public confidence in the police.

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