POLICE have launched a murder-style inquiry into the disappearance of a wealthy businessman who vanished over a week ago.
Father-of-one David Guilfoyle, 37, was last seen leaving an Accrington pub in his distinctive green convertible Jaguar XK8 sports car after watching the Liverpool v AC Milan football match last Wednesday.
Forensic experts were called in to conduct a thorough search of his £230,000 bungalow in affluent Royds Avenue, Accrington, after police became increasingly concerned for his safety.
Officers now believe that a violent assault took place at the address, in which somebody suffered serious injuries.
A major incident room has been set up at divisional headquarters at Greenbank, Blackburn, and the investigation is being led by Detective Super-intendent Mick Turner.
He told a Wednesday morning press conference: "I am gravely concerned for the welfare of Mr Guilfoyle as we have had no sightings of him since he left the Grey Horse pub last week. This, coupled with what we have found at his home address, leads us to believe that he may have come to serious harm."
Friends said that when Mr Guilfoyle left the Whalley Road pub, where he is a regular, he was in a "jubilant mood".
It appears that he arrived home at some point on Wednesday night and parked his car on the driveway. Since then there has been no further contact from him.
Mr Guilfoyle, who has a 15-year-old daughter who lives with her mother, is an international pool player who has represented England in the sport and is well-known throughout the area.
He has lived at the address in Royds Avenue for just over a year.
Det Supt Turner said: "He is a businessman who has a lot of property interests and a number of houses throughout Accrington and elsewhere.
"He is very well-known and has lived in the Accrington area all of his life."
Worried friends and family contacted police after they were unable to get in touch with Mr Guilfoyle, who they said is very much a "creature of habit".
Supt Turner said: "He has a girlfriend and lots of friends and they couldn't get in touch with him. On Friday they visited his home and let themselves in, noticing that his car was parked and secured on the drive. At about 2.20pm on Friday such was their concern that they rang us.
"Over the weekend officers carried out inquiries and nobody had heard from him, which is especially unusual.
"He speaks to his friends and family every day and uses his mobile phone frequently. There has not been any use of his mobile phone since the middle of Wednesday evening."
On Monday officers decided it was more than a missing-from-home case and detectives were brought in.
Supt Turner added: "He is a man with a complicated business life and busy social life and I am asking for help from people who know him. We are appealing for anyone with information to contact the police immediately."
Anyone with information can contact police on 51212 or the free Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111. Information will be treated in the strictest confidence.