Police have revealed why officers returned to the scene of Nicola Bulley’s disappearance this week, and hit out at “misinformed speculation” over the renewed presence of officers on the River Wyre.
A Lancashire Constabulary diving team was recently seen in the water downstream from where police believe Ms Bulley, 45, went into the river in St Michael’s on Wyre on 27 January.
In a brief clip uploaded to YouTube by passerby Maria Solarz, the team can be seen wading in the water close to the bench where Ms Bulley’s phone and dog were found on the morning of her disappearance.
The divers returned to the site six weeks after the dog walker’s body was found in the water following a huge search operation which took officers out to Morecambe Bay. Lancashire Constabulary said in a statement: “We can confirm we are carrying out some work on the direction of HM Coroner.”
But on Friday the force issued a new statement, criticising “speculation” around the case and revealing why they had returned.
A spokesperson said: “There has been misinformed speculation over the past few days relating to police activity in the River Wyre.
“As previously stated, police divers were acting under instruction of HM Senior Coroner and had been asked to assess the riverbanks in the vicinity of where Nicola Bulley went missing.
“They had not been tasked either to perform any further searches within the river or along the banks or to locate any articles. This activity is to assist with the coronial process.”
Dr James Adeley, HM senior coroner, said: “Speculation as to the role and purpose of Officers acting on my instructions is unhelpful in the resolution of this inquest.”
An inquest into Ms Bulley‘s death is to be held on 26 June. Dr Adeley said at an inquest opener that surgeon Andrew Ian Edwards had examined Ms Bulley’s dental records and that evidence gathered by police and the post-mortem examination required “further evaluation”.
Ms Bulley, a mother-of-two who worked as a mortgage adviser, was last seen walking her dog along the River Wyre after dropping her daughters at school nearby.
Her mobile phone was found a bench near the riverbank, still connected to a Microsoft Teams work call, with her dog Willow left running loose.
A huge police operation ensued as the search for Ms Bulley drew intense national attention, before police eventually announced that a body had been discovered among reeds and undergrowth in the River Wyre on 19 February.
During the search, officers urged the public against speculating online over how Ms Bulley might have gone missing. Superintendent Sally Riley said online theories were “distracting” the police search.
Lancashire Constabulary faced heavy criticism for revealing highly personal details about the missing woman, including her struggle with alcohol. The force also faced questions from former officers and forensic experts over why the search took so long.
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