Expert ‘changes mind’ about Nicola Bulley theory after new information

Nicola Bulley had 'significant issues' with alcohol say police

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A world-leading forensic search expert has slammed the police for withholding information on the search for Nicola Bulley. Peter Faulding said he would have conducted his investigation differently had he been aware of Nicola Bulley’s “vulnerabilities” sooner. It comes after Lancashire Police shared “crucial information” about her “significant” issues with alcohol on Wednesday.

After a press conference yesterday, the police were forced to address the “vulnerabilities” they had mentioned during the meeting. 

It was revealed that Nicola had been classed as a “high-risk” person after her disappearance, with police later confirming that she had suffered from “significant” issues with alcohol brought on by the menopause.

Peter Faulding had previously questioned their theory that the 45-year-old had fallen in the river but now concedes she “could have ended up in the sea” if she “had jumped in, intended to take her own life or walk off”.

He had previously said that if Nicola had ended up in the river her body would have been found. And he had said it was “impossible”‘ that her body made it to the sea, reported Lancashire Live.

Mr Faulding said he was told none of the information about her issues with alcohol when he arrived at the scene despite being briefed each day. “I would normally be given that information to make my job easier and deploy the appropriate resources to do that search,” he told The Mirror.

The search group had been working with the theory that she had slipped into the water and due to the weak current and shallow water, Mr Faulding said if she had drowned her body would have been within 500 metres of the entry point. But a high-risk missing person completely changes that, he said.

His team spent 72 hours scouring an area of water near where the missing mum’s phone was found on a bench.

But Mr Faulding said the phone is a possible red herring because if she was disoriented she may have wandered further upstream and gone in there.

As a result, he said his team would have extended their search even further upstream. “Just because you’ve got a phone there, that doesn’t mean you’ve got an entry point,” he explained.

Mr Faulding said if Nicola had wandered back through the gate where her dog Willow was found and to the bridge – a CCTV blindspot – “she could’ve literally wandered off and no one would have seen her”.

The underwater forensics expert went on to question if there is other information being withheld by the police. “Do they know something else again that they are not telling us?” he said. “Is there another snippet of information here that actually we don’t know?”

Since leaving the search last Wednesday, Mr Faulding has offered to return and use his expertise for a land search, but said he hasn’t heard from the police. He said: “My offer is open to Lancashire Police but I’ve had no communication with Lancs Police since we left.

Nicola Bulley case laid bare – everything police shared at briefing [INSIGHT]
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Nicola Bulley was ‘high-risk’ due to ‘a number of vulnerabilities’ [PICTURES]

“Our phone has been quiet. I’m not ringing them because I don’t want to interfere but we have had no contact at all.

“We left the scene, that was job done. We did what we’d been tasked with,” he added. He went on to criticise the police for giving out the information publicly at all. From my point of view…this information should never have been made public this afternoon at all. It’s not fair,” Mr Faulding said.

“If we were given that information on the search, she is a vulnerable ‘misper’, which is normal for me to get that information, and she’s had alcohol issues etcetera, I’m not going to tell you.

“If I’m told to keep quiet I keep it between us. Our whole approach to the media may have been different from day one.”

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