Nicola Bulley diving expert Peter Faulding proud of work despite being 'cut from National Crime Agency list'

27 February 2023, 16:02 | Updated: 27 February 2023, 16:39

Peter Faulding has insisted he is proud of his work
Peter Faulding has insisted he is proud of his work. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

A diving expert who was removed from the National Crime Agency's list of specialists after failing to find missing woman Nicola Bulley in a river has insisted he is proud of his work.

Peter Faulding’s Specialist Group International (SGI) was suspended last week while a review of the investigation is carried out.

SGI carried out a sweep of the River Wyre a three-mile stretch of the river between St Michael’s and Cartford Bridge over two and a half days, using sonar equipment he described as “state of the art”.

When Ms Bulley wasn't found in their search, Mr Faulding concluded Ms Bulley was not in the river, speculating that her phone, which was found on a bench overlooking the river, may have been a “decoy”.

Ms Bulley was later found in the river by passers-by, bringing an end to the three week search.

But Mr Faulding has insisted that "SGI’s operational ability, integrity and professional search and rescue capabilities are not in question in these matters.

"We are proud of our record in specialist search and rescue operations, conducted over many decades...

"During which we have worked with police departments and other agencies to the high standards expected of nationally recognised specialists."

Mr Faulding was asked by Ms Bulley's family to help as police in Lancashire searched for the missing mother in the village of St Michael's on Wyre.

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On February 8 Mr Faulding said: “If Nicola was in that river I would have found her — I guarantee you that — and she’s not in that section of the river.”

Her body was eventually found 0.9 miles downstream from St Michael’s on Sunday February 18. A full inquest into her death is expected to be held June.

Peter Faulding speaks to the media in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continued their search for Nicola Bulley, February 6, 2023.
Peter Faulding speaks to the media in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continued their search for Nicola Bulley, February 6, 2023. Picture: Alamy

He called criticism he received after the body was discovered "unfair" and it wasn't fair for him to be made "the fall guy".

The NCA’s Expert Advisers Database (EAD), which is used to identify and source experts helpful to law enforcement investigations, listed Mr Faulding as a registered search expert.

Its database covers a broad range of expertise in more than two dozen areas, including psychiatrists, accountants, and forensic artists.

A spokesperson for the NCA said: “The NCA does not employ, endorse or accredit experts on our adviser database.

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

"The database is subject to continual review and its purpose is to maintain a list of expertise UK law enforcement can draw upon when required.

“We proactively seek feedback from customers regarding experts’ performance and contribution.

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"The monitoring of performance equally applies to individuals and organisations who become involved in investigations without NCA engagement.”

According The Times, a review into what happened in the Bulley case is being carried out internally and SGI could be returned to the list depending on its findings.

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