Nicola Bulley Wiki, Biography
Nicola Bulley was vulnerable and graded as a “high-risk” missing person the day she disappeared, owing to “some significant issues with alcohol”. In a press conference on Wednesday morning, Lancashire constabulary said Bulley, who went missing nearly three weeks ago, had “individual vulnerabilities” that put her in the highest category, meaning there was risk of her coming to serious harm.
Bulley was last seen in St Michael’s on Wyre, not far from her home in Inskip, Lancashire, on the morning of 27 January. Lancashire constabulary said an unprecedented amount of work had gone into the case and maintained there was no evidence to indicate a crime had been committed.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, police expanded this to explain they had attended her home a week before she went missing after a report of “concern for welfare”. “No one has been arrested in relation to this incident, but it is being investigated,” police said.
In an “unusual step”, they said, they chose to reveal that Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, had disclosed that she suffered issues with alcohol.
“Sadly, it is clear from speaking to Paul and the family that Nicola had in the past suffered with some significant issues with alcohol which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with menopause and that these struggles had resurfaced over recent months. This caused some real challenges for Paul and the family.
“It is an unusual step for us to take to go into this level of detail about someone’s private life, but we felt it was important to clarify what we meant when we talked about vulnerabilities to avoid any further speculation or misinterpretation.”
The College of Policing regards a high-risk missing person as someone at risk of serious harm to themselves or the public and requiring the immediate deployment of police resources.
Police said there was still no evidence of crime in the case of the mother of two and there was no evidence of third party involvement but they are being inundated with false information, accusations and rumors.
It was still the police’s “working hypothesis” that the 45-year-old fell into the river while taking her dog, Willow, for a walk, though they were following a number of lines of inquiry, the force said. A “vast amount” of evidence had been reviewed and there had been no evidence of third-party involvement, Smith said.
The senior investigating officer on the case, Det Supt Becky Smith, criticised the social media speculation, saying it had “significantly distracted the police”, adding: “TikTokers have been playing their own private detectives. In 29 years police service, I have never seen anything like it.”
“Some of it’s been quite shocking, and really hurtful to the family.”
She said there were some “persistent myths that keep being referred to in the press”, including one linked to an abandoned house, which police have searched three times, a red van, which is not a significant part of the investigation, and a glove, which has been ruled out as not belonging to Bulley.
Smith added: “We’re really, really grateful to members of the public for ringing in to the inquiry, we wouldn’t have gotten this far without everybody’s help. But I think it’s also really obvious that we are being inundated with false information, accusations and rumours which is distracting us from our work.”
Peter Lawson, the force’s assistant chief constable, said police were giving more details about the investigation than they usually would because of the “commentary, speculation [and] some criticism” of their handling of the case.
Ansell has previously criticized the police’s approach and said he did not believe Bulley had fallen in the river.
In an interview with Channel 5 on Friday, he said: “Extensive searching, as you’re probably aware, has gone on in that river. The fact that the divers and underwater rescue team and all that were in that river on the day, and thankfully found absolutely nothing, in the part where you would have to presume is her last known location. Personally, I am 100% convinced it’s not the river, that’s my opinion.”
He added: “People don’t just vanish into thin air. It’s absolutely impossible. So something has happened. Whatever has happened, in my eyes, has to be somebody who knows the local area. You would only know that area, it’s a local area.”
Police have carried out a search of the land surrounding the place Bulley was last seen, including 300 buildings, using search teams and trained counter-terrorist officers. Fire and rescue dogs were on the ground assisting search efforts, as well as mountain rescue volunteers.
Smith added: “I think it’s clear to see that the amount of effort, hours worked, resources that we’ve put into this investigation that we have always been open-minded.”
A 49-year-old man from Manchester and a 20-year-old woman from Oldham were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of sending malicious communications to Wyre councilors over Bulley’s disappearance.
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