Where was Nicola Bulley last seen?

Body found by divers in River Wyre on Sunday

Martha McHardy
Monday 20 February 2023 07:14 GMT
Lancashire Police recover body in river near to where Nicola Bulley went missing

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Louise Thomas

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A body has been found in the River Wyre near where mother-of-two Nicola Bulley went missing

Lancashire Police said a formal identification is yet to be carried out but the 45-year-old mortgage adviser’s family have been informed.

The body was found around a mile from where Ms Bulley was last seen walking her dog in St Michael’s on Wyre.

On the morning of 27 January, Ms Bulley left her home with her two daughters, aged six and nine, dropping them off at school and engaging in a brief conversation with another parent around 15 minutes later.

Police searching for the missing mother-of-two have found a body
Police searching for the missing mother-of-two have found a body (PA)
(Google Maps/The Independent)

She then took her spaniel, Willow, for a walk along the path by the River Wyre at 8.43am, heading towards a gate and bench in the lower field. She was seen by a dog walker who knew her at around 8.50am, and their pets interacted briefly before they parted ways.

At 8.53am, Ms Bulley sent an email to her boss, followed by a message to her friends six minutes later, before logging on to a Microsoft Teams call at 9.01am. She was seen by a second witness at 9.10am - the last known sighting.

Her phone was back in the area of the bench at 9.20am before the Teams call ended 10 minutes later, with her mobile remaining logged on after the call. At 9.33am, another dog walker found her phone on a bench beside the river, with Willow darting between the two.

The map below shows where a body was recovered by divers on Sunday, in comparison to where Ms Bulley was last seen.

A police spokesman said officers were called to reports of a body in the river close to Rawcliffe Road at around 11.35am on Sunday.

“An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water and have sadly recovered a body,” a statement said.

“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.”

(Datawrapper/The Independent)

The discovery came after a tip-off from two walkers, according to the Mirror.

A police diving team could be seen conducting the search, while a police drone and helicopter flew above.

The investigation into Ms Bulley’s disappearance has attracted widespread speculation as well as criticism of the police response.

The force came under fire after making Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and peri-menopause public three weeks after she vanished.

A police diving team at the River Wyre near St Michael’s on Wyre
A police diving team at the River Wyre near St Michael’s on Wyre (PA Wire)

In a press conference on Wednesday, they revealed the mother-of-two was classed as a “high-risk” missing person immediately after her partner Paul Ansell reported her disappearance, “based on a number of specific vulnerabilities”.

They later added in a statement that Ms Bulley, from Inskip in Lancashire, had stopped taking her HRT medication.

A public backlash and interventions from the Government and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper followed, with Lancashire Constabulary confirming a date had been set for an internal review into the investigation.

A spokeswoman said: “A review of the investigation is diarised and will be conducted by our head of crime detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables.”

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