- Dog vanishes from the former England cricketer's North Yorkshire home
- Spaniel was last seen on CCTV with Liam Botham's ex
- Liam offers £2,500 reward for Woody's safe return
Officially police were yesterday investigating the theft of a dog.
But it quickly became clear that there was much more to the reported ‘dognapping’ of Woody the spaniel.
The mystery involved the son of a cricketing legend, a far from amicable divorce, a vivacious blonde who organises orgies for a living and a great deal of passion.
Missing: Woody was snatched from a private courtyard at former England cricketer Sir Ian Botham's home in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire
Until he vanished on Sunday at lunchtime, Woody lived with rugby player Liam Botham and his fiancée Emma Sayle, whose company Killing Kittens runs ‘adult parties for open-minded’ young couples.
Mr Botham, 34, is currently in the final stages of getting a divorce from estranged wife Sarah-Jayne, 37, which is where the plot thickens considerably.
The couple have three children and Mrs Botham still lives in their former marital home in North Yorkshire, which is owned by Liam’s father Sir Ian Botham.
Mr Botham spends the majority of his time living in South-West London with Miss Sayle, who also runs the female sports charity organisation The Sisterhood.
Search: Sir Ian Botham and his son Liam, who has offered a £2,500 reward for Woody's safe return
But he also lives part-time in his father’s house, yards from his estranged wife’s home, so he can see the children.
And it was in the private courtyard near both properties where sprocker spaniel Woody – a cross between a springer and a cocker – was last seen.
A short time later the mother of three drove off in her car and the dog has not been seen since.
Mrs Botham has categorically denied taking the dog belonging to her estranged husband and his new fiancée.
Woody lived with rugby player Liam Botham and his fiancée Emma Sayle (above), whose company Killing Kittens runs 'adult parties for open-minded' young couples
But although they chose their words carefully, the worried owners feared Woody may have been snatched and they have offered a £2,500 reward for his safe return.
Yesterday Mr Botham told the Mail: ‘Woody was on CCTV.
‘The last I saw of him he was going around the back of the house with my ex-wife. She drove out. That’s the last time I saw Woody.
'All we want as a family, for the sake of Emma, is for Woody to be returned.
‘Emma has had Woody since he was a puppy so there is a special bond, as every dog lover knows.
'They went everywhere together. My mum and dad are very hurt and angry this has happened on their property.
‘What happened is all a bit of a blur at the moment but we have reported Woody stolen. The police have all the CCTV photographs and it is up to them what they do with it.’
According to Miss Sayle, 33, Woody was seen outside near Mrs Botham on CCTV at 11.45am on Sunday. Mrs Botham drove out of the gates and at 12.20pm it was realised the dog was missing and the police were called.
'I am devastated. He is my little baby'
Miss Sayle, a former friend of Kate Middleton, said: ‘Woody disappeared around the back of her house with her and never reappeared again.
‘She drives off from around the back of the house 20 minutes later.’ She said Mr Botham checked his estranged wife’s property and couldn’t find Woody and the grounds are private and secure.
‘Woody never runs off and the gate is padlocked and chained shut so he wouldn’t have run off.’
Mr Botham added: ‘I am not accusing her. She says she has no idea of where the dog is. We just hope Woody returns. That’s all I care about.’
Neither appeared to consider the possibility that the dog might have run out as the car was leaving.
Mr Botham met Miss Sayle 15 months ago, one week after she got Woody. She said Mr Botham had already been separated from his wife for about a year.
Commenting on the dog, she added: ‘I am devastated, he is my little baby.
‘Wherever I go he goes, he had done everything with me since he was born.’
Mrs Botham said: ‘I haven’t taken their dog. I haven’t got a clue where Woody is. He was last seen by my car which is what I told police.’
A police spokesman said inquiries were continuing.