Witness claims men tried to ‘hide faces’ near Nicola’s walking route

Nicola Bulley: 'We're in a difficult position' says Peter Faulding

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A witness has come forward, claiming he spotted two men acting suspiciously close to missing Nicola Bulley’s dog walking route on January 26, the day before the 45-year-old woman disappeared. The mother of two has left no trace since she went missing on January 27, only leaving her phone on a bench and her dog Willow along the River Wyre in the small Lancashire village of St Michaels on Wyre. The local, who has requested to remain anonymous, said the presence of two men carrying fishing rods and wearing what appeared to be hats or hoods, made him feel “uneasy”.

The witness told The Sun the alleged presence of two individuals was “very strange”.

The man, who claims police took nine days to take his call into consideration, explained: “I first saw them at around 7:45 am on my way to work on the Thursday, the day before Nicola Bulley vanished. I drive that way every day, so know the road well.

“I saw two men wearing dark clothing and hoods or hats and carrying fishing rods. They could have been just two normal fishermen and if I had seen their faces I wouldn’t have thought anything of it.

“But I remembered that they seemed to want to hide their faces, which struck me as odd. It wasn’t particularly cold that day — it was quite mild, so their behaviour, to me, seemed strange.”

Given no one had disappeared, the witness did not dwell on the two men’s presence, who he suspected could have been “poachers”.

When he came back the following day – the day Ms Bulley vanished – the witness said that he was driving through the village again when he noticed one of the men, this time near the bridge.

He recalled: “It was around the same time, 7:45 am. This time it was just a glimpse, but I definitely saw one of them.

“I think I saw the second man, who was way ahead of the other, but I have been going over it a lot in my mind and I couldn’t swear my life on it. Again, the man I saw was carrying a fishing rod and covering his face.”

Only on Sunday did the witness hear about Ms Bulley’s disappearance after going away on a weekend. Despite multiple calls to the police, the witness claimed the police didn’t call back to collect his testimony – leaving him perplexed. 

He said: “I couldn’t understand it, there’s a woman missing and I’ve seen these men in the area, why haven’t they called me.”

To his “frustration”, the police called him back 9 days after his first call.

He added: “It’s frustrating, it would have been much better if I had been spoken to straight away as it was fresher in my mind.”

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This comes after police were given new CCTV footage from a garage covering the 24 hours before Nicola was last seen.

On Thursday, detectives went to St Michael’s Garage in the small village to request CCTV footage from the day before she vanished.

Police believe she may have fallen into the River Wyre and been swept out into the Irish Sea by accident, but they are “open” to all other possibilities.

Former senior Metropolitan Police officer Liam James has warned that any trace of Nicola Bulley on the stretch of river where she was last seen will now be gone, as police officers are searching for cues in the area.

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