‘Appalling’: Nicola Bulley’s family say personal issues revealed to stop people selling stories

Ms Bulley’s parents have spoken out after police released personal details about her struggles

Rich Booth,Emily Atkinson
Thursday 16 February 2023 15:31 GMT
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Moment head of Nicola Bulley search says she can’t interview the dog

Nicola Bulley’s family has broken its silence after police shared details of the missing mother’s personal life, hitting out at “wild theories” concocted by the public.

In a statement issued today, Ms Bulley’s relatives said they “believe that the public focus has become distracted from finding Nikki, and more about speculation and rumours into her private life.”

It comes after police were attacked for disclosing that the mother-of-two suffered “some significant issues with alcohol” in the past, which had resurfaced over recent months.

Nicola Bulley and her partner Paul Ansell
Nicola Bulley and her partner Paul Ansell (Nicola Bulley/Facebook)

The force shared the information to clarify its decision to class Ms Bulley as a “high-risk” missing person immediately after her partner Paul Ansell reported her disappearance.

The family statement added: “As a family, we were aware beforehand that Lancashire Police, last night, released a statement with some personal details about our Nikki.

“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.”

After Lancashire Police revealed her issues with alcohol “brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause”, the force was strongly condemned by MPs and campaign groups.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police updates the media on the search
Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police updates the media on the search (PA Wire)

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the foreign affairs committee, said on Twitter: “I am deeply uncomfortable with the police releasing Nicola Bulley’s so-called ‘vulnerabilities’ on menopause and alcohol.

“I struggle to ascertain how this will assist police in their search & investigations. I do see how it would assist those wishing to victim-blame or diminish.”

In Thursday’s statement released through Lancashire Police, Ms Bulley’s family said: “It has now been three weeks since Nikki went missing.

“We, as a family, believe that the public focus has become distracted from finding Nikki, and more about speculation and rumours into her and Paul’s private life.

“The police know the truth about Nikki and now the public need to focus on finding her.

Ms Bulley has not been seen since 27 January
Ms Bulley has not been seen since 27 January (Family handout/PA Wire)

“Due to the peri menopause 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.

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

“Despite what some media outlets and individuals are suggesting, we are being updated daily and receive support from our family liaison officers.

“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. You can reach out to us, or you can contact MissingPeople.org.uk. Don’t be scared, we all love you so very much.”

(Datawrapper/The Independent)

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has said they have made contact with Lancashire Police over information made public in a press conference about missing mother Nicola Bulley’s private life.

In a statement, a spokesman for the IOPC said: “Following information that was made public by Lancashire Constabulary yesterday, we have made contact with the force to determine if a referral to the IOPC may be required.”

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