'Nikki, we can let you rest now': Family's heartbreaking tribute after body identified as that of Nicola Bulley

20 February 2023, 18:33 | Updated: 21 February 2023, 00:59

The family of Nicola Bulley have released a heartbreaking tribute to the mum-of-two in which they said: "Nikki, we can let you rest now," after police confirmed that a body found in the River Wyre was that of the missing 45-year-old.
The family of Nicola Bulley have released a heartbreaking tribute to the mum-of-two in which they said: "Nikki, we can let you rest now," after police confirmed that a body found in the River Wyre was that of the missing 45-year-old. Picture: Alamy / Lancashire Police / LBC/PA

By Danielle DeWolfe

The family of Nicola Bulley released a heartbreaking tribute to the mum-of-two in which they said: "Nikki, we can let you rest now," after police confirmed that a body found in the River Wyre was that of the missing 45-year-old.

Lancashire Police confirmed on Monday evening that the body pulled from the water was that of Ms Bulley.

Ms Bulley's family paid tribute to "the one who made our lives so special" before hitting out at the "absolutely appalling" media coverage of her disappearance.

In a statement read out by a Lancashire Police officer, the family said: "We will never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments and that will never leave us," the family said in a statement.

"We will never forget Nikki - how could we? She was the centre of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that."

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“Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most.”

“The community support in St Michael’s, friends, neighbours and strangers has been nothing short of comforting and heart-warming. Friends you know who you are. Thank you.

“Our hearts truly break for others who have missing loved ones. Keep that hope alive.

'Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found' Nicola Bulley's family said in a statement read by Lancashire Police.
'Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found' Nicola Bulley's family said in a statement read by Lancashire Police. Picture: LBC / PA

“Finally, Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found, we can let you rest now.

Paying further tribute to her at the end of the statement, the family added:

Yellow ribbons adorn a bench, where Nicola Bulley's phone was found, next to the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre on February 20, 2023 in Preston, England.
Yellow ribbons adorn a bench, where Nicola Bulley's phone was found, next to the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre on February 20, 2023 in Preston, England. Picture: Getty

“To those who genuinely helped and supported us, privately, we thank you.

The family also questioned the role of some sections of the press during the investigation and accused the media of "misquoting and vilifying" Ms Bulley's partner Paul Ansell, as well as their relatives and friends.

Body found in river confirmed as Nicola Bulley

“It saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them (Ms Bulley’s children) that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family,” they said.

“This is absolutely appalling, they have to be held accountable. This cannot happen to another family.

“Do the press and other media channels and so-called professionals not know when to stop? These are our lives and our children’s lives.”

It is shameful they have acted in this way, they should leave us alone now These are our lives and our children’s lives"
It is shameful they have acted in this way, they should leave us alone now These are our lives and our children’s lives". Picture: Lancashire Police

The 45-year-old was last spotted on Friday, January 27, while walking her dog along a riverside footpath near St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire.

The mother-of-two was missing for 23 days - a period of time which saw police and underwater search teams scour the stretch of the River Wyre and nearby Morecambe Bay extensively.

The mother-of-two was missing for 23 days having last been seen on January 27.
The mother-of-two was missing for 23 days having last been seen on January 27. Picture: Facebook

As part of the news conference Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson of Lancashire Police reflected on the identification.

"Today's development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted, but we hope that it can at least start to provide some answers for Nicola's loved ones, who remain foremost in our thoughts," Lawson added.

Officers closed a road near where Nicola was last seen before announcing a few hours later that a body had been discovered.The force had previously said the death was being treated as unexplained.

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