Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Nicola Bulley river search expert breaks silence after body found

Nicola Bulley: Lancashire Police find a body in the River Wyre

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Search expert Peter Faulding has broken his silence after a body was found near to where mother-of-two Nicola Bulley vanished. He appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today to claim that if the body is in fact the 45-year-old, then she was found in the reed bed as “there was no body in the river at that time when we were searching”. He also declared “hand on heart” that his team “did its best” amid the widespread search.

The head of Specialist Group International (SGI) was recruited by Bulley’s family 10 days after she vanished on January 27 in Lancashire in hopes of solving the dissapearance case.

Mr Faulding’s team scoured the River Wyre and conducted underwater searches across three days.

However, a shocking discovery was made by two dog walkers yesterday, when the pair found a body a mile away from where Bulley was last seen.

It is understood that a man and a woman walking their dog near the river called the police after spotting a person in the water, prompting officers to launch an urgent search.

Mr Faulding said: “The Lancashire Police have searched the area thoroughly with divers, their sonar and their bank search officers and if this is the body of Nicola then she was not found in the river then she was actually found in the reed bed to the side of the river.

“Our task was to was to clear the river and at the time I can categorically say, I have the data to prove it, that there was no body in the river at that time when we were searching.”

He continued: “Our main focus was above the bench area, above the Wyre. We searched for four hours in that particular stretch, where Nicola’s body was found, down to the bridge.

“I can hand on heart say that we did our best but she was not on the river bed, we would have seen her clearly.”

The 45-year-old’s family have been informed, but Lancashire Constabulary said a formal identification of the body is yet to be carried out

The spot was a mile downstream from where Bulley had left her phone on a bench when she vanished over three weeks ago while on a walk with her dog Willow.

Her pup Willow was found by a riverbank in St Michael’s along with her phone still connected to a Microsoft Teams work call. Upon the discovery of the unidentified body, Mr Faulding said he was “heartbroken”.

He said: “I only hope that if this does prove to be Nicola, finding her can start her family on the long road to grieving for her.”

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Andrew Snowden, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “My thoughts are with Nicola’s family and friends. I’d like to thank the Lancashire Police officers and staff working on the scene and across the force.”

A statement said: “We were called today at 11.36am to reports of a body in the River Wyre. An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water and have sadly recovered a body.

“No formal identification has yet been carried out, so we are unable to say whether this is Nicola Bulley at this time. Procedures to identify the body are ongoing. We are currently treating the death as unexplained.

“Nicola’s family have been informed of developments and our thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times. We ask that their privacy is respected.”

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