Nicola Bulley’s family slammed online trolls after a coroner ruled that the mother-of-two died by accident after falling into a river near her home.
A statement issued outside the court on behalf of Ms Bulley’s family urged people “people to look at the facts” and ignore on those spreading baseless theories on the internet.
“We encourage people to look at the facts, the evidence which has been heard during the inquest, and the conclusion reached by the coroner, to ignore any amateur views and opinions, and be mindful of the impact words bring,” the statement said.
Ms Bulley died after accidentally falling into the River Wyre in freezing temperatures, an inquest into her death concluded.
She was walking her springer spaniel Willow when she accidentally fell into the water, with experts stating it would have been “almost impossible to swim against the current”.
Recap: When did Nicola Bulley go missing? Timeline of the mystery as inquest enters day two
The inquest into the death of mother-of-two Nicola Bulley is underway, beginning on Monday (26 June).
The 45-year-old vanished after dropping her daughters at school and then walking her dog along the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, on 27 January.
Ms Bulley’s phone was found, apparently still connected to a Microsoft Teams work call, on a park bench nearby, along with the harness and lead for her dog, Willow, a springer spaniel.
Emily Atkinson and William Mata report:
Lancashire Police have been criticised for disclosing details of menopause and alcohol struggles
ICYMI | Nicola Bulley police cleared by watchdog
Police who shared personal information about Nicola Bulley during the search for the late mother-of-two have been cleared by a watchdog.
Lancashire Constabulary faced investigations by three separate bodies into its handling of the case after coming under heavy criticism.
The force’s conduct was questioned by several high-ranking officers and public officials during the three-week search for the 45-year-old, whose body was pulled from the River Wyre in Lancashire on 19 February, after being last seen alive on 27 January.
Liam James has more.
Now Lancashire Constabulary faces third review over conduct into case of the missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley
ICYMI: What happened to Nicola Bulley? All we know about the Lancashire mother-of-two’s death
Police who investigated the disappearance of Nicola Bulley issued a statement earlier this month to stamp out “speculation” after officers returned to the river where her body was found.
Police returned to the River Wyre in Lancashire in early April, six weeks after Ms Bulley’s body was found in the water, ahead of an inquest into her death which will be heard on Monday, 26 June at County Hall in Preston.
Lancashire Constabulary issued a statement, revealing why offier had returned to the scene.
Liam James reports:
Reasons why it may have taken so long to find Nicola Bulley’s body
Nicola Bulley’s body was finally found on 19 February, around a mile away from where she was last seen on the river in St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire.
Bulley had disappeared on 27 January while walking her dog Willow after dropping her children off at school earlier that morning.
Police said two walkers, who used a path well trodden by officers, found her body, which was formally identified the following day.
Experts have said there are a number of reasons why Bulley might not have been found sooner.
“Although the area where she was found is just within the tidal section, I doubt she moved up and down the river very far,” a professor who studies rivers told The Daily Telegraph.
Missing mother-of-two discovered in stretch of river already searched by police
Inquest to hear from husband and his sister
Nicola Bulley’s husband Paul Ansell and his sister Louise Cunningham are due to give evidence at the inquest today.
Mr Ansell appeared on the media on several occasions appealing for information before his wife was found.
The inquest is due to resume later today.
Security remains tight at inquest due to ‘unusual online commentary'
The press room at Preston County Hall is gradually filling, with the inquest due to resume at 10am, Holly Evans reports.
Security remains tight at the entrance of the building due to the "unusual online commentary" around the case, with journalists and members of the public required to register and show proof of identity.
The family of Nicola Bulley have not yet been seen, although both her husband and sister are due to give evidence this morning.
Bulley first presented with low mood and anxiety in 2018
Nicola Bulley first presented to her doctor with low mood and anxiety in December 2018, Holly Evans reports.
Ms Bulley’s GP, Dr Rebecca Gray, said: “Two months later in February 2019, she commenced on propranolol which is a beta-blocker.”
She added: “It’s used in anxiety and predominantly issues when there might be physical issues of anxiety like tremors. It was 40mg, one to two times a day.”
Bulley presented with menopause symptoms in 2021
Ms Bulley also began presenting with menopause symptoms in July 2021 and continued to present with anxiety and fatigue, Holly Evans reports.
The inquest heard she also became "emotional" during one meeting with the nurse practitioner regarding her menopause treatment.
She was also sent to A&E on January 11 due to an injury to her head after attending a walk-in centre after a fall, complaining of increased drowsiness and vomiting.
She was sent to A&E where a CT scan came back normal, the inquest heard.
Ms Bulley’s husband raised concerns about her alcohol use days before she went missing
Nicola Bulley’s husband raised concerns about her alcohol use days before she went missing, a mental health clinician has said. Holly Evans reports:
Theresa Lewis Leevy informed the inquest of a visit to Ms Bulley’s address on January 10.
"The information we received was the call from the family had been made in connection with Nikki’s increase alcohol use and were concerned about this and were looking for support around this," she said.
After arriving at 7.30pm, Ms Leevy was met by Ms Bulley’s husband, Paul Ansell and her sister Louise Cunningham, who expressed "general concerns for her welfare" and a recent increase in alcohol consumption.
Ms Bulley remained in the bedroom and appeared intoxicated and spoke of a loss in weight. When asked if she appeared depressed, Ms Leevy said: "No, not that I could ascertain at the time."
Ms Leevy offered advice to the family around alcohol use and but assessed there were no immediate risks and that Ms Bulley was “in no immediate harm from a mental health aspect”
‘She was my big sister'
Nicola Bulley’s sister told the inquest how her sibling was “very much a planner” who managed to successfully juggle work and family life, Holly Evans reports.
Becoming tearful, Ms Bulley’s sister Louise Cunningham said: “She was my big sister.
“She was very much a planner. I mean she’d started her career again, she was a busy mum juggling a career and family life. She always had things under control.”
She told the court that Ms Bulley would colour code everything in her calendar and had resat her exams to continue her career.
Describing her springer spaniel Willow as a "third child", Ms Cunningham said: "There’s no way Nikki would leave Willow alone by choice."
She said her sister spoke to her about having problems sleeping.
Asked if she spoke about menopausal symptoms with her, Ms Cunningham said: “She discussed having some symptoms with the HRT, it was back in the summer. She was having headaches, she couldn’t get the balance right, she mentioned having struggles sleeping. She was taking lavender spray, herbal tea, anything that would relax her before bed.”
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