Sunday, 21 Apr 2024

Home Secretary demands answers over release of Nicola Bulley's personal details

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Nicola Bulley have been ordered to explain why they disclosed details of her private life.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is said to have been ‘concerned’ by the decision to release a statement detailing how the missing mum’s ‘ongoing struggle with the menopause’ led to ‘significant issues with alcohol’.

The Home Office said it receives regular updates from Lancashire Police, and on Thursday got an explanation for ‘why personal details about Nicola was briefed out at this stage of the investigation’.

The force, which has faced growing backlash over its handling of the case, was accused of ‘victim blaming’ and trying to hide its own ‘incompetence’ with the extraordinary statement.

It has also now referred itself to the police watchdog over contact officers had with Ms Bulley prior to her disappearance.

The referral comes after her family called for an end to the ‘speculation and rumours’ about her private life.

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Friday marks three weeks since Ms Bulley vanished after dropping off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school on January 27 in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire.

She was last seen at 9.10am taking her usual route with her springer spaniel Willow, alongside the River Wyre.

Her phone, still connected to a work call for her job as a mortgage adviser, was found just over 20 minutes later on a bench overlooking the riverbank, with her dog running loose.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Ms Bulley’s family said people needed to stop ‘making wild theories up’ about her private life.

The statement, issued through the force, said: ‘Although we know that Nikki would not have wanted this, there are people out there speculating and threatening to sell stories about her. This is appalling and needs to stop.

‘The public focus has to be on finding her and not making up wild theories about her personal life.’

Concluding their statement, Ms Bulley’s family issued a direct plea for her to return, saying: ‘Your girls want a cuddle.’

The statement read: ‘Nikki is such a wonderful daughter, sister, partner and mother and is missed dearly, we all need you back in our lives.

‘Nikki, we hope you are reading this and know that we love you so much and your girls want a cuddle.

‘We all need you home.’

Ms Bulley’s parents, Ernest, 73, and Dot Bulley, 72, left a yellow ribbon tied to the bridge over the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre, where their daughter vanished on January 27, with a message that read: ‘We pray every day for you. Love you, Mum + Dad XXX.’

A second ribbon, believed to be from Ms Bulley’s sister, Louise Cunningham, read: ‘Nikki please come home. I love you. Lou XXX’

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