Search diver Peter Faulding offers to help find Gaynor Lord despite Nicola Bulley controversies

14 December 2023, 13:49

Peter Faulding says he is willing to help the Gaynor Lord search
Peter Faulding says he is willing to help the Gaynor Lord search. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Search boss Peter Faulding has offered to help find missing mother Gaynor Lord - after emerging to prominence in the search for Nicola Bulley.

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The head of Specialist Group International, a UK firm that has assisted police in searches before, said he would be willing to help the investigation in Norwich for free.

He made headlines at the start of 2023 when he began a river search for Nicola Bulley, the 45-year-old who disappeared from a Lancashire village and was found in the water more than three weeks later.

Faulding used his sonar to probe a part of the river at St Michael's on Wyre, where Ms Bulley disappeared without a trace in January after her belongings found on a bench.

Her case has been compared to Ms Lord's, whose disappearance is considered out of character and her possessions were found strewn around a park in Norwich.

"We would happily assist the family free of charge. They currently have search teams on scene but the more expertise the better. Let's hope Gaynor is alive somewhere," Mr Faulding said on X on Thursday.

Read more: Diving search expert Peter Faulding 'found Nicola Bulley within six minutes' - 12 days before police discovered her

Peter Faulding has said he is willing to get involved in the search
Peter Faulding has said he is willing to get involved in the search. Picture: Alamy

Mr Faulding, however, was criticised before for saying he believed Ms Bulley had not fallen into the river after his search found nothing - with rumours and TikTok sleuths all entering the mix and adding to confusion.

Pressure on police built to the point where Lancashire Constabulary even publicly revealed Ms Bulley's past issues with alcohol as they defended their investigation, and their main theory that she entered the water, against online claims and conspiracies.

Officers were proven right as she was discovered in reeds in another part of the river.

Read more: Underwater search expert Peter Faulding 'caused challenges' to Nicola Bulley investigation, say police

A review into the investigation found Mr Faulding's participation, which came among much fanfare in the press, created "challenges".

"It is the view of Lancashire Constabulary that Mr Faulding had a significant impact on the investigation and public confidence through his activities and his engagement with the media," a report said.

"The review team considers that some of his actions created a more challenging environment for the investigation team.

Mr Faulding tried to find Nicola Bulley but was unsuccessful, with police criticising his impact
Mr Faulding tried to find Nicola Bulley but was unsuccessful, with police criticising his impact. Picture: Handout

"His public statements often contradicted the investigative and operational approach, leading to confusion for the public and reducing the family's trust in the investigation and search operation."

In a statement, Mr Faulding said: "I take confidentiality very seriously and would never breach an NDA or disclose any confidential or protectively marked material. The only instructions I was given was to use discretion and keep operational information confidential.

"I was never given any operational information and never disclosed any (ie: location of a significant target). If at any time I was asked to stop updating the media, I would have immediately, but no request was ever made."

As recently as last month, he claimed he found her body within minutes of his search, but officers dismissed it.

However, police have said he actually found a branch.

The search for Ms Lord continues as police try to piece together what happened.

The 55-year-old was seen smiling as she left her job on Friday afternoon, having left work early.

Gaynor Lord has been missing for almost a week
Gaynor Lord has been missing for almost a week. Picture: Norfolk Police

CCTV caught her rushing around the city centre in Norwich and visiting the cathedral.

Her belongings, including clothing, two rings, a mobile phone and glasses, were found scattered in Wensum Park, around one mile from her workplace.

She has not been seen from since.

In another ghoulish parallel with the Bulley case, a member of Ms Lord's family criticised internet "sleuths" on Wednesday for sharing theories about her disappearance.

The family member, who asked to remain anonymous, told MailOnline: "There's been lots of things being said, like 'Has she run away with anybody?' and things like that.

"It's not very helpful. It's hard enough as it is."

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