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Nicola Bulley: Partner tells of ‘agony’ after body found in river near where she went missing

The body, which has not yet been formally identified, was found on Sunday morning

Nicola Bulley© PA

Nicola Bulley (45) went missing on January 27 after leaving her children to school. Photo: PA© PA

Ribbons are seen on a bench where the phone of missing woman Nicola Bulley was found, in Lancashire, Britain, February 19, 2023. REUTERS/Phil Noble© REUTERS

Nina MasseyIndependent.ie

Mother-of-two Nicola Bulley’s partner has told of his “agony” after a body was found in the river near where she went missing.

The body, which has not yet been formally identified, was found on Sunday morning around a mile from where the 45-year-old mortgage adviser was last seen.

She had been walking her dog in St Michael’s on Wyre after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at school on January 27.

In a message to Sky News, her partner Paul Ansell said: “No words right now, just agony.

“We’re all together, we have to be strong.”

It is understood that a man and a woman walking their dog discovered the body and called police.

Ribbons are seen on a bench where the phone of missing woman Nicola Bulley was found, in Lancashire, Britain, February 19, 2023. REUTERS/Phil Noble© REUTERS

Lancashire Constabulary said officers were called to the River Wyre close to Rawcliffe Road at around 11.35am.

“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.”

The body was found on an unremarkable stretch of the river, just past a slight bend, a mile or so outside the village, close to where a tree had fallen on its side half in and half outside the water, with branches and undergrowth partially submerged.

Police had earlier erected a tent and cordoned off the lane while police divers were called in, but the road was reopened around three hours later once the body was recovered.

The area attracted press interest and members of the public including one woman who told reporters she was a clairvoyant and had “picked up” an area of the river on Saturday night.

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

Underwater search expert Peter Faulding, who was called in by Ms Bulley’s family to help find her, found no trace of her in the section of river searched by his team and police divers over three days.

Nicola Bulley (45) went missing on January 27 after leaving her children to school. Photo: PA© PA

On Sunday, Mr Faulding said he had only cleared the area around the bench where her mobile phone was found, and that the tidal section beyond the weir was “an open book”, according to MailOnline.

“All I can say is when we searched she was not on the bottom of that river,” he said.

“We weren’t searching the reeds, our job was to search the water.”

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.

In a press conference on Wednesday, they revealed the mother-of-two was classed as a “high-risk” missing person immediately after Mr 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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