The underwater forensic expert who searched for Nicola Bulley has "categorically" insisted there was no body in the River Wyre when his team investigated it.
Nicola went missing in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, while walking her dog Willow on January 27.
Throughout the hunt for her police suspected she had gone into the river. Yesterday (Sunday, February 19) police confirmed a body had been found at the river, although the body has yet to be formally identified.
READ MORE: Nicola Bulley: First words of passer-by who found body in search for missing mum
Peter Faulding, an underwater search expert who heads private diving team Specialist Group International, was involved in the early searches for Nicola.
His team arrived in the village on February 6 but called off their search on February 8 after failing to find anything.
Today (Monday, February 20) Mr Faulding has said he is sure there was no body in the river when his team searched.
He said during an appearance on Good Morning Britain: "Let's make it very clear that Lancashire Police have searched that area thoroughly with divers and their sonar, and their bank search officers.
"If this is the body of Nicola, then she was not found in the river. She was actually found in the reed bed to the side of the river.
"Our task was to clear the river. At the time I can categorically say, I have the data to prove it, that there was no body in the river at that time when we were searching.
"I can hand on heart say we did our best but she was not on the river bed, we would have seen her clearly."
Mr Faulding said in a statement yesterday that reed beds could be to blame for him not locating the body.
He explained: "I know the area of the River Wyre where the body was found was full of reed beds and that may solve the riddle of where the body has been, as my sonar was searching along the river bed and we could not see her.
"I know hand on heart that for those three days, my team, and for the three weeks the police were repeatedly searching up and down that river, we did all we could to find her.
"But the complication of the tidal aspect of that area cannot be underestimated and you can never be 100% certain where a body will move to."
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