Saturday, 2 Mar 2024

Nicola Bulley detectives still believe missing mum fell in the river

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Detectives investigating the disappearance of Nicola Bulley continue to believe she fell in the river. In its latest update, Lancashire Constabulary sought to dispel myths which have surrounded the case, including the sighting of a red van in the area around where Ms Bulley, 45, from Inskip, Lancashire, was last seen.

The mortgage adviser was walking her springer spaniel Willow when she disappeared near the village of St Michael’s on Wyre on January 27.

Lancashire Constabulary today (February 15) released a statement saying officers continue to scour the River Wyre, the surrounding area and out to sea. The force said it has also spoken to environmental and tidal experts.

It added detectives continue to believe the most likely scenario is Ms Bulley fell into the river. However, Ms Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, said last week that his “gut instinct” is that she is not in the Wyre.

Forty detectives have sifted through hundreds of hours of CCTV and dashcam footage, according to the force.

They have spoken to numerous witnesses, carried out digital enquiries and examined hundreds of pieces of information after being contacted by the public.

Lancashire Constabulary said: “The sole focus of our work has been to find Nicola, bring her home for her family and give them the answers that they so desperately need.”

The force added its officers have visited more the 300 premises, spoken to almost 300 people and acted upon about 1,500 pieces of information.

The constabulary’s statement added: “Because many of our key witnesses know Nicola, and there is a significant amount of CCTV coverage in this area, we have been able to… plot Nicola’s movements and significantly narrow down the timings, to focus on a period of time where we need to concentrate our enquiries.”

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So far the force has established that Ms Bulley was in an upper field at about 9.10am on the day she vanished.

Her mobile phone was in the area of the bench at about 9.20am. At about 9.33am, a local dog walker found Willow running around off her lead.

Ms Bulley’s mobile phone was found screen upwards on the bench while Willow’s harness and lead were halfway between the bench and the river.

The force said officers are making efforts to contact the owner of a red van seen in the area, but there is nothing to suggest it is anything other than one of the hundreds in the vicinity that morning.

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Lancashire Constabulary added: “The inquiry team are working through hundreds of pieces of information and reports such as this in the media can distract them from genuine enquiries.”

It said officers continue to keep an open mind about what happened and continue to look at all the potential scenarios.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith said: “We’re really grateful to members of the public for ringing in to the inquiry, we wouldn’t have got this far without everyone’s help.

“But it’s also really obvious that we are being inundated with false information, accusations and rumours which is distracting us from our work.”

She said the speculation has been affecting Ms Bulley’s family.

Based on all the extensive work looking at CCTV, dashcam and other evidence, there is nothing to suggest Ms Bulley left the field, the force said.

Lancashire Police say they are being “inundated with false information, accusations and rumours” about the case which is “distracting” them.

Det Supt Smith sought to dispel myths which have emerged from the case, including speculation about a derelict house on the other side of the River Wyre.

She said the property has been searched three times with the permission of the owner and Ms Bulley is not there.

The officer also addressed talk of fishermen being seen in the area who have been described as suspicious.

Det Supt Smith said: “I myself don’t find it suspicious that fishermen would be in the area of a river that morning or carrying fishing rods.”

However, officers have checked CCTV, contacted local angling clubs and appealed for information after a witness report about a fisherman in the area supposedly trying to cover his face.

Police also said a glove found in the area does not belong to Ms Bulley.

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