Top police officer who worked on Nicola Bulley investigation 'died of natural causes', coroner reveals

13 December 2023, 06:03

Peter Lawson was a key figure in the case of Nicola Bulley
Peter Lawson was a key figure in the case of Nicola Bulley. Picture: Alamy/Handout

By Kit Heren

A senior officer who died aged 50 on Sunday, and who worked on the investigation into Nicola Bulley's disappearance, died of natural causes, the coroner has found.

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Lancashire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson died at home on Sunday, and the coroner said there would be no need for an inquest.

The force did not initially elaborate on the cause of ACC Lawson's death other than to say it was "medical-related".

Lancashire Police said in an update: "Following the tragic death of Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson at the weekend, His Majesty’s senior coroner for Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen has reviewed the circumstances.

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Lancashire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson
Lancashire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson. Picture: Alamy

"It has now been established that Peter died from natural causes and funeral arrangements will be made in due course.

"His Majesty’s senior coroner has confirmed there is no requirement for an inquest. Our deepest condolences once again go out to Peter’s family, and we will support them as much as we can.

"Our thoughts are with them and everyone who knew Peter. We want to respect their privacy and would ask that the public and media do so too.

"We will continue to offer support to all our staff and those who worked with Peter, as we mourn his loss."

Nicola Bulley died in February after she disappeared while on a dog walk
Nicola Bulley died in February after she disappeared while on a dog walk. Picture: Handout

ACC Lawson took part in the probe into the disappearance of Ms Bulley, the 45-year-old woman who went missing in January, and whose body was discovered in a river more than three weeks later.

He appeared at a number of press conferences, during which regular updates about Ms Bulley's disappearance were given.

Lancashire's Chief Constable Chris Rowley said Lawson's death was "incredibly sad and tragic", adding that his "thoughts and prayers" were with his family.

"Pete's death will come as a shock to the entire force and the wider police family across the country. He was an outstanding officer who served the communities of Lancashire with pride.

"He was also highly respected and admired by all who knew him and worked with him. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and we will support them as much as we can.

"We will offer support to all our staff and those who worked with Pete, as we mourn his loss," he added.

Lawson became assistance chief constable of Lancashire Police in 2019, with Ms Bulley's disappearance and death being one of the force's most high-profile cases in recent years.

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson of Lancashire Police with Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Lawson alongside Pauline Stables
Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson of Lancashire Police with Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Lawson alongside Pauline Stables. Picture: Alamy

Nicola Bulley died accidentally and ‘almost immediately’ after falling into the River Wyre, an inquest into her death concluded in the summer.

A huge search for the 45-year-old mum-of-two was sparked following her disappearance near the River Wyre in February.

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