THE girlfriend of missing businessmen David Guilfoyle has been warned by police to expect grim news.
And Debbie Fitzpatrick, 39, is reeling after learning that her boyfriend of over a year had cheated on her with a string of other women.
Debbie, a learning support teacher at Sacred Heart School, Church, said as far as she knew they were in a happy relationship.
Debbie, who lives with her three daughters on Hill Street, Baxenden, said: "He is a romantic man and he has been very good to me. We speak to each other every day and see each other most days.
"This whole situation has completely mystified me and I am extremely concerned for Dave's well-being."
The couple met in February last year and at the beginning of their relationship they both decided to take things very slowly.
She said: "This suited Dave just fine as he is definitely a confirmed bachelor and likes going out with his mates.
"I don't think moving in together straightaway was on the cards for either of us."
Nevertheless, she said their relationship is serious and he regularly says he loves her.
The couple enjoyed a long weekend away in Belgium last Easter and in York to celebrate David's birthday in March.
Since investigations into his disappearance began, Debbie has been told by his friends he was "a bit of a ladies' man" and that he had been seeing a string of women during their relationship.
She said: "I am very shocked and find it hard to believe. I don't see when he would have had the time for other women but I know his mates wouldn't have told me if it wasn't true."
Debbie added: "We were on good terms when he left to go and watch the football. He went and got me and the girls a DVD to watch. He gave me a kiss, said he'd ring me the following day and drove to the pub. I haven't heard from him since."
The following day David's best friend, Neil Bennett, rang to ask if she had seen David as it was unusual that he had not heard from him all day.
The pair went to the house and everything seemed normal, but by Friday morning Debbie was seriously worried. She dropped the children off at school and went to work but the headteacher told her to go home as she could see her anxiety.
She arranged to meet Neil at David's house, where the pair used a spare key to get in.
Debbie said: "I was worried he could have had a heart attack but when we got in there was nothing out of the ordinary, except the computer had been left on which we both thought was strange. The mail on the doormat was mounting and he had clearly not been home."
She and Neil decided to contact the police to officially report David as a missing person, after local hospitals failed to come up with any information.
Debbie said: "Dave does have a few enemies, as he doesn't suffer fools gladly, but he definitely has far more friends.
"He's a bit of a wheeler-dealer and has contacts all over the country, including London.
"I just can't understand what has happened to him and we are all desperate to have him home safe and well. This is very distressing for all of us and we just want to know that he is all right."