Police search for missing Briton by Lake Como cliffs

Italian police and rescue teams were yesterday searching the mountainous terrain above Lake Como for a British woman who went missing 10 days ago.

Glenys Sylvia Turner, from Derby, disappeared after going walking above the West shore of the lake, which is 40 miles north of Milan. The alarm was raised on Tuesday 11 October by staff at the Hotel Britannia in the village of Griante, where Ms Turner was staying. They discovered her electronic door key had not been used since 7 October and her documents and clothes were still in her room.

It is feared the 46-year-old may have fallen from a steep mountain path leading to the Church of San Martino above Griante. It was reported, Ms Turner had asked hotel staff for directions to the church.

Yesterday, however, the local police chief said suicide had not been ruled out, after discovering Ms Turner's father had recently died.

Captain Natale Grasso told The Independent: "We're not ruling out anything, but the death of her father might have been a psychological factor behind a suicide."

Captain Grasso, who has been in contact with Ms Turner's mother, admitted her disappearance was a mystery: "We've had volunteers and rescuers out and we've also been using a helicopter. If she had died, we would have expected to find the body by now. It's very strange. With so much time having passed hopes are fading. But what's happened, we really don't know. It's a mystery."

The hotel owner's son, Thomas Wieldon, said he had the impression Ms Turner had come to the area to take her mind off her bereavement. But added: "She didn't seem depressed when I talked to her."

The Foreign Office said it was assisting the family and liaising with the Italian authorities.