Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Home Secretary ‘concerned’ with police sharing Nicola Bulley update

Nicola Bulley: Ex-detective ‘confused’ at police’s alcohol comment

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The Home Secretary has been left concerned by Lancashire Police’s decision to reveal personal information about Nicola Bulley’s “vulnerabilities”. The force revealed on Wednesday that missing mother Nicola had suffered from “significant issues with alcohol” brought on by her struggles with the menopause at age 45. Suella Braverman is understood to have been left concerned by the statement from the police, as Nicola’s family step in to clarify that she had a “crisis” after stopping hormone replacement therapy (HRT) due to the side effects.

Lancashire Constabulary is facing a growing backlash over its handling of the case, and has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over contact it had with Nicola over a concern for welfare just over two weeks before she vanished.

The force has been accused of “victim blaming” in the wake of their statement, with police initially refusing to divulge details about the “vulnerabilities” they had been discussing during the press conference.

But after growing speculation online, they said they felt the need to “explain” what they had meant when they said Nicola was classed as “high risk” from the beginning.

According to reports, Mrs Braverman has been receiving regular updates on the case, but was left concerned with this latest development.

A source close to Mrs Braverman told The Telegraph: “The Home Secretary was concerned by the disclosure of Nicola Bulley’s personal information by Lancashire Police and asked the force for an explanation, which was received yesterday evening.”

Police initially said her health was “not relevant” to the investigation and it was not a factor “at all”. However, it said on Wednesday that she was “high risk” and vulnerable, before revealing her health problems.

In a statement, Nicola’s family said: “Due to the perimenopause, Nikki suffered with significant side effects such as brain fog, restless sleep and was taking HRT to help. 

“But this was giving her intense headaches which caused Nikki to stop taking the HRT thinking that may have helped her, but only ended up causing this crisis.”

Dr Paula Briggs, the chairman of the British Menopause Society, said her group was concerned the decision to release the details of Ms Bulley’s menopause and issues with HRT may “worry” other menopausal women.

She said: “Every woman is different, and we don’t have all the details for Nicola Bulley. We don’t know her past medical history, and so it’s very difficult to say what went on with her without all the medical details.

“But whatever she was suffering… is unique to her and you can’t generalise from one case.”

A criminal investigator has also said that detectives have committed “major failings” and that their strategy has left Nicola’s family in “turmoil”.

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Mark Williams-Thomas said Lancashire Police’s media strategy is “totally wrong” in the probe into the mortgage adviser’s disappearance while out walking her dog three weeks ago. 

Mr Williams-Thomas told MailOnline: “They [Lancashire Police] got their media strategy totally wrong.

“The family are now in turmoil. The last 24 hours have been horrific because the police decided yesterday to release that she was a high-risk missing person. Their performance yesterday was shocking.”

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