Body found in search for missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley

A body has been found in the search for missing dog walker Nicola Bulley.

Ms Bulley, 45, a mother of two, vanished on 27 January while walking her dog after dropping off her daughters at school in St Michael’s on Wyre.

Her disappearance prompted a large-scale search operation involving detectives, fire crews, mountain rescuers and a police helicopter.

On Sunday, Lancashire Police said a body was recovered from the River Wyre by divers, close to where the missing dog walker vanished.

While the body has not yet been identified, Ms Bulley’s family have been informed of the discovery.

Missing woman Nicola Bulley, 45, was last seen on the morning of January 27 (PA Media)
Missing woman Nicola Bulley, 45, was last seen on the morning of January 27 (PA Media)

The force said: “We were called today at 11.36am to reports of a body in the River Wyre, close to Rawcliffe Road.

“An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water and have sadly recovered a body.

“No formal identification has yet been carried out, so we are unable to say whether this is Nicola Bulley at this time.

“Procedures to identify the body are ongoing. We are currently treating the death as unexplained.

“Nicola’s family have been informed of developments and our thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times. We ask that their privacy is respected.”

A police diving team at the River Wyre near St Michael’s on Wyre (PA Wire)
A police diving team at the River Wyre near St Michael’s on Wyre (PA Wire)

The mother-of-two vanished while walking along with River Wyre with her spaniel Willow.

The dog was later found running free, without its harness or lead on, and had not been in the water.

Ms Bulley’s mobile found was found on a bench, still logged on to a conference call with her employer, for whom she worked as a mortgage adviser.

Her partner of 12 years, Paul Ansell, said it was as though the mother of two had “vanished into thin air.”

Nicola and her partner Paul Ansell (Nicola Bulley/Facebook)
Nicola and her partner Paul Ansell (Nicola Bulley/Facebook)

Detectives from Lancashire Police this week doubled down on the theory that the mortgage adviser had slipped into the river, which the force said is very deep in parts.

The investigation into her disappearance has attracted widespread speculation from social media sleuths as well as criticism of the police response.

The force came under fire after making Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and peri-menopause public three weeks after she vanished.

In a press conference on Wednesday, they revealed the mother-of-two was classed as a “high-risk” missing person immediately after her partner Paul Ansell reported her disappearance, “based on a number of specific vulnerabilities”.

 (The Independent/ Datawrapper)
(The Independent/ Datawrapper)

They later added in a statement that Ms Bulley, from Inskip in Lancashire, had stopped taking her HRT medication.

A public backlash and interventions from both the hvernment and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper followed, with Lancashire Police confirming a date had been set for an internal review into the investigation.

A police spokeswoman said: “A review of the investigation is diarised and will be conducted by our head of crime detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables.”

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