Forensic expert says ‘something is not right’ as he scours the river

Nicola Bulley: Peter Faulding provides update on search

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The head of the dive squad that is looking for missing Nicola Bulley has said “something is not right”. Specialist Group International (SGI) are currently leading the river search for the missing 45-year-old after she vanished on a dog walk last Friday. Peter Faulding, who said over the weekend that he would be able to search the entire river bed using specialist equipment, said he was not convinced that the missing dog walker had fallen into the river.

He told the Mirror: “Normally people would scream out and I don’t know if there was other people in the area but you’d scream out, you’d flap around and the dog would normally maybe stay with the owner.

“There’s something, in my opinion, not quite right here.” Mr Faulding said: “If Nicola is here, I’m happy we will find her, if she’s in the river. If we can’t find her in the next three or four days in this river, if she’s not here, then I’m confident that she’s not in this stretch of river. I’d be very confident of that.

“We are going to be working our hardest, we’ll probably be working under darkness tonight for a while and that’s my intention to help the family.” Ms Bulley vanished, apparently without trace, on the morning of 27 January while taking her dog Willow for a morning walk close to the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre.

“The river is quite an unusual one. It’s not a straight river but a very windy one,” he said. “I think that within two to three days we should have all of the river searched. We are trying to help the police as much as we can.

“The police are conducting lots of other inquiries apart from the search focused on the river. But if Nicola did not come to be in the river we should be able to rule that out in the next few days.”

He added: “I think we probably have the best and highest frequency kit available to do this work. It’s very easy to be an armchair detective in cases like this. I’ve had all sorts of people like psychics contact me about it. I’m going in with an open mind. What we need to do is get on with the job.”

He added that he had spoken to Paul Ansell, the heartbroken partner of Miss Bulley, 45, who went missing 10 days ago in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancs.

Mr Faulding said: “I mean, Paul’s extremely distraught. I’ve just spoken to him just now where we’re staying. And you know, my thoughts go out to the family and friends.

Timeline from morning of Nicola’s disappearance, according to police

8.43am – Bulley walked along a path by the River Wyre after dropping her children off at school.

Around 8:50am – Someone who knows Bulley stopped with their dog to say hello as Nicola was walking around the lower field with her dog.

8.53am – Nicola sent an email to her boss.

9.01am – She logged into a Teams call.

Around 9.10am – Another witness spots Nicola with her dog.

9.30am – The Teams call ended but she remained online.

Around 9.35am – Nicola’s mobile phone and dog were found by another dog walker by the river.

“It’s a very difficult time. I’m used to dealing with, you know, families of drowning victims. It’s a horrible thing to be going through not knowing where your loved one is.”

The specialist search team boss earlier told GB News that he personally didn’t believe she was there, saying: “We could have scanned this river with our equipment within the day and seen if there was a body there. It’s as clear as that. And you know, none of this rings right to me. My belief is she’s not in the river at all.”

He added: “The phone on the bench, I mean, you have to ask, normally someone would have a phone in their hand especially if they were walking around. 

“Even the clothing feels odd, no one spoke about how deep the water is actually at the bottom of the bank where it went in. I’ve heard rumours it’s 18 inches deep at the edge. I mean, the clothing she was wearing was not woolly clothing that absorbs water quickly. She seems a very fit person. Why were there no screams? Why were there no marks?”

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