Body found in Nicola Bulley search is the missing dog walker, police confirm

A body found by divers in the River Wyre is that of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley, police have confirmed.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Lancashire Police assistant chief constable Peter Lawson said: “Sadly, we are now able to confirm that yesterday we recovered Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre.

“Nicola’s family have been informed and are of course devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community.

“We recognise the huge impact that Nicola’s disappearance has had on her family and friends, but also on the people of St Michael’s.

“We would like to thank all of those who have helped during what has been a hugely complex and highly emotional investigation.

“Today’s development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted, but we hope that it can at least start to provide some answers for Nicola’s loved ones, who remain foremost in our thoughts.”

Specialist divers recovered the body near to where the dog walker vanished in Saint Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire after a three-week-long search.

Lancashire Police launched a new diving operation on Sunday and rushed to seal off a road after a tip-off was received from two walkers.

Nicola Bulley, 45, vanished on the morning of Friday January 27 while walking her dog (PA Media)
Nicola Bulley, 45, vanished on the morning of Friday January 27 while walking her dog (PA Media)

Ms Bulley’s family was informed about the discovery and the force has now confirmed that the body is that of the missing dog walker.

The mother-of-two vanished on 27 January after dropping off her two daughters, aged six and nine, at school. She was last seen walking her dog along the River Wyre. The dog was later found running free, without its harness or lead on, and had not been in the water.

Ms Bulley’s mobile phone was found on a bench still connected to a work conference call and her dog’s harness was found under the bench.

Lancashire Police had been working on the hypothesis that Ms Bulley fell into the river.

The force came under fire last week after they revealed in a press conference the missing 45-year-old had “specific vulnerabilities” and struggled with alcohol and menopause.

 (Press Association Images)
(Press Association Images)

They revealed three weeks into the search that Ms Bulley was graded as a “high-risk” missing person when she was reported missing on 27 January.

Shortly after police revealed Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol, her family released a statement condemning the “appalling” speculation around her private life, saying that they believed the public had become “distracted” from the search.

“Although we know that Nikki would not have wanted [personal details revealed], there are people out there speculating and threatening to sell stories about her. This is appalling and needs to stop,” her family said.

The search for Ms Bulley lasted three weeks (PA)
The search for Ms Bulley lasted three weeks (PA)

They also made a direct appeal to Ms Bulley, saying: “Nikki, we hope you are reading this and know that we love you so much and your girls want a cuddle. We all need you home.”

The investigation into Ms Bulley’s disappearance has also attracted widespread speculation from social media sleuths.

Lancashire Police detective superintendent Rebecca Smith said officers have been “inundated with false information, accusations and rumours”, with TikTokers playing private detectives near the scene of her disappearance.

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