'Nicola Bulley is not in the river' insists search specialist Peter Faulding as cops probe 500 lines of inquiry

8 February 2023, 07:55

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

By Will Taylor

Search specialist Peter Faulding has told LBC he does not think missing Nicola Bulley has fallen into the river.

Ms Bulley, 45, was last seen in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire at around 9.10am on the morning of January 27.

Her phone and dog were found at around 9.30am at a bench near the river by another dog-walker, with police working on the theory she fell into the Wyre - despite friends of the family suggesting that is not the case.

Mr Faulding, who runs search group Specialist Group International, has arrived to much media fanfare as he carried out a sonar sweep this week.

Read more: Police looking at 500 lines of enquiry in Nicola Bulley hunt but still believe she fell into river

But he told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Wednesday: "I don’t think she fell in the water. That's just my opinion with all the drownings I've dealt with over the years.

"They normally go down and the police dive team are brilliant, they know what they're doing, professional, they would have found her, as we would've done.

"We locate people quickly. That's what I'm shocked with, that she's disappeared."

Search expert tells LBC he doesn't think missing mum Nicola Bulley fell into the River Wyre

There has been no trace of the mother-of-two as search efforts ramp up as the search continues into its second week.

Mr Faulding said he will focus on searching the river in the area of a weir, downstream from where Ms Bulley's phone was found.

The police's "main working hypothesis" is that the mother-of-two fell into the River Wyre near to the village of St Michael's on Wyre, but officers are following some 500 lines of enquiriy.

But her family and friends have claimed there is "no evidence" to support this and Mr Faulding previously suggested police wonder if it could have been used as a "decoy".

Ms Bulley is described as white, 5ft 3in, with light brown, shoulder-length hair.

Read more: Epsom headteacher 'made distressed phone call to sister just minutes before being shot dead by husband'

Peter Faulding does not think Nicola Bulley is in the river
Peter Faulding does not think Nicola Bulley is in the river. Picture: Alamy

At the time of her disappearance she was wearing a long black gilet jacket with a hood, black jeans and olive green ankle wellington boots.

Lancashire Police also said that Nicola Bulley did not leave the field where she was walking Willow via Rowanwater, either through the site itself or via the piece of land at the side.

Officers are now focusing on a river path that leads from the fields back to Garstang Road and are appealing for drivers and cyclists to come forward.

Nicola's partner, Paul Ansell, said earlier in the week: "It's been ten days now since Nicola went missing and I have two little girls who miss their mummy desperately and who need her back.

"This has been such a tough time for the girls especially but also for me and all of Nicola’s family and friends, as well as the wider community and I want to thank them for their love and support.

"We are also really grateful to Peter and his team from SGI for coming up and helping support the work of Lancashire Police as they continue their investigation.

"If anyone has any information which could help find Nicola, I urge them to get in touch with the police and help us provide the answers we all so badly need."

Police have hit out at amateur sleuths and online speculation over the case.

Superintendent Sally Riley said: "We will not tolerate online abuse of anyone, including innocent witnesses, members of the family and friends, of local businesses, or of criminal damage or burglary. We will be taking a strong line on that, as you would expect."

She added: "There are some properties along the riverside which are empty or derelict.

"Whilst it may be well intentioned that people think that that could be a line of inquiry, I would ask them to desist from doing that.

"In some cases it may be criminal if they are breaking in and causing damage or committing a burglary."

She went on: "Because there is no criminal element yet identified, and we don't expect there to be in this inquiry, then we're not starting to go into houses because that's not where the inquiry is leading us,"

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