'Nicola's family told me she had no underlying issues', says diving expert Peter Faulding after 'high risk' police claim

15 February 2023, 17:38 | Updated: 15 February 2023, 18:00

Nicola Bulley has been missing since January 27
Nicola Bulley has been missing since January 27. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Diving specialist Peter Faulding has told LBC Nicola Bulley's family confirmed to him that she had no underlying issues, despite today's admission by police that she was treated as a "high-risk" missing person with "specific vulnerabilities".

In a press conference today, Lancashire Police said Ms Bulley had underlying "vulnerabilities", but said they could not provide any further information about what they were.

But Mr Faulding, who joined the police search for Ms Bulley after she went missing, has cast doubt on the police's assertion, saying that her partner Paul "confirmed to me that there were no underlying issues from Nicola".

"I've spoken to the family in depth and the family confirmed to me that there were no underlying issues with Nicola. This is from her sister, this is from Emma, this is from Paul [Nicola's Partner]," Mr Faulding told LBC's Tom Swarbrick.

"They were talking about a spa day the night before messaging each other. There was not any inkling that there was anything wrong at that stage."

Private investigator on Nicola Bulley case, says family 'confirmed she had no underlying issues'

Mr Faulding also confirmed that it would have been standard for him to have been briefed on specific issues Ms Bulley may have had when she went missing.

Speaking at a press conference at Lancashire Police headquarters on Wednesday officers said Nicola Bulley was listed as a "high-risk missing person" due to a "number of specific vulnerabilities."

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police said the move was "normal for a missing person with the information we were in possession of".

Nicola Bulley celebrating her 45th birthday
Nicola Bulley celebrating her 45th birthday. Picture: Facebook

It is still the "main working hypothesis" that Nicola Bulley fell into the River Wyre before going missing, she said, adding that detectives are keeping an open mind on the mother-of-two's disappearance.

Hitting out at "TikTok amateur detectives" the officer leading the investigation said efforts of social media commentators have "significantly distracted the investigation."

Read more: 'Stained' glove found in hunt for missing Nicola Bulley yards from where she vanished

Read more: Nicola Bulley's partner pleads with Mercedes to track missing mum-of-two's car keys

Read more: Two arrested after 'offensive' Nicola Bulley voicemail sent to councillor amid slew of late-night 'mystery calls'

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith refused to give more details of the mother-of-two's "individual vulnerabilities".

Referring to Ms Bulley's partner Paul Ansell, she told a press conference: "It's normal in any missing person investigation that you obviously gather as much information at an early stage about the person in question, which is no different and we did that with Paul.

"I'm not going to go into the details of those individual vulnerabilities. I've asked you to respect the family, who are going through unimaginable pain and distress at this moment.

"But those vulnerabilities based our decision-making in terms of grading Nicola as high risk and have continued to form part of my investigation throughout."

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police holds a press conference at Lancashire Police HQ
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police holds a press conference at Lancashire Police HQ. Picture: Getty

Asked if she hoped to find her alive, Det Supt Smith said: "I hope with all my heart that we find Nicola Bulley alive more than anything."

Ms Bulley's partner Paul has previously said that he '100 per cent' does not think his partner fell into the river, while Mr Faulding has suggested the same.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Australia Double Fatality

Police asked not to march at Sydney Mardi Gras parade after alleged murders

Protesters should have to provide more notice ahead of demonstrations, the Home Affairs Committee has suggested.

Gaza protests have cost police more than £25m as MPs warn demonstrations put other force priorities at risk

Ms Harman suggested the model to help MPs who feel 'vulnerable'.

Return to hybrid model of working could help MPs who 'feel vulnerable' amid safety fears, Labour MP tells LBC

Experts have urged the Chancellor not to make huge tax cuts.

Stamp duty cuts should be 'front of the queue' for Jeremy Hunt in upcoming Budget, experts say

Emmanuel Macron

Putting Western troops on the ground in Ukraine not ‘ruled out’, says Macron

Israel Palestinians

Biden ‘hopes Hamas ceasefire and hostage deal can take effect by next Monday’

James Cleverly is expected to address global leaders on Tuesday.

West must 'help people thrive in their own countries' to tackle migrant crisis, James Cleverly says

Parents demanded refunds after the event.

Kids left in tears and police called over 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event after parents forked out £35 per ticket

Don Henley

I never gave away draft lyrics of Hotel California, Eagles singer tells trial

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán

Hungary approves Sweden's bid to join Nato as the military alliance expands in the face of Russia's war in Ukraine

Election 2024 Trump

Judge in Trump hush-money case asked to issue gag order on former president

Brits have been warned to prepare for heavy snowfall later this week - with some areas forecast to face up to six inches.

Exact areas snow could fall this week as Brits told to prepare for up to six-inches while others face torrential rain

Sir Lindsay Hoyle is facing renewed pressure to step down as Commons Speaker

'He's not fit to stay in the role': SNP Westminster leader calls for Sir Lindsay Hoyle to step down over ceasefire row

Paul Scully claimed the cities had 'no-go' areas.

Fury as Tory MP claims there are religious ‘no-go’ areas in Birmingham and London as party's Islamophobia row deepens

Charlotte Church has been criticised for the chant being used at the concert

Charlotte Church says she is 'in no way anti-Semitic' after singing controversial 'from the river to the sea' chant

Hungarian parliament

Hungary’s parliament votes to ratify Sweden’s application to join Nato