"He wasn't the father I knew. He was lost and disturbed."

The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was in emotional turmoil over the break-up of his marriage, his family have revealed.

Speaking about the mystery for the first time, the wife and daughter of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah said the 53-year-old pilot had been distracted and withdrawn in the weeks before the aircraft’s disappearance – and refused pleas to attend some marriage counselling sessions…

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the pilot’s wife, Faizah Khanum Mustafa Khan, has told investigators that he stopped speaking to her in the weeks before the fateful flight on March 8, and spent time alone in his room where he had built a flight simulator. ‘He just retreated into a shell,’ she said.

Meanwhile, Aishah Zaharie, 28, the pilot’s daughter, said that in her last conversations with her father, she barely recognised the man who used to dote on her. ‘He wasn’t the father I knew. He seemed disturbed and lost in a world of his own,’ she said.