Nicola Bulley missing: Sister reacts to police theory mum-of-two ‘fell in river’

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 Nicola Bulley’s sister Louise posted on social media urging the public to keep an open mind, saying there is ‘no evidence’ she fell in the river.

The sister of missing mum-of-two Nicola Bulley has reacted to a police theory that she “fell in the river” close to where she vanished. The search for Nicola, 45, is now entering its eighth day after the mortgage adviser disappeared on January 27 while she was walking her dog by the River Wyre in St Michael’s, Lancashire.

Nicola’s dog was found running loose in the area shortly afterwards along with her phone, which was placed on a bench and connected to a work conference call. But despite an extensive search by police along with members of the local community, no other trace of her has been found.

Lancashire Police said this week its “main working hypothesis” was that she fell into the River Wyre and that the incident is “not suspicious but a tragic case of a missing person”. Supt Sally Riley said police had looked through dashcam, CCTV and doorbell footage which had allowed detectives to "eliminate any trace so far of Nicola having left the riverside".

But Nicola’s sister Louise Cunningham has now reacted to the theory on Facebook, saying “there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that she has gone into the river”. In a public post, Louise said: “It’s just a theory. Everyone needs to keep an open mind as not all CCTV leads have been investigated fully.”

Louise added that police had said the case “is far from over”. But Supt Riley emphasised it was important to reiterate the force believed there was no third party or criminal involvement as “speculation can be really distressing for the family and Nicola’s children”.

Where is Nicola Bulley? What we know so far and full timeline of events before and after disapperance

  • Nicola is last seen walking her dog, a brown-coloured Spaniel named Willow, next to the River Wyre in St Michael’s - a village in Lancashire. The last confirmed sighting of her was at around 9.15am on Friday, January 27. It is understood she dropped her two little girls off at school before setting off on her walk.
  • Shortly afterwards, Nicola’s dog was discovered running loose between the river and a bench. Her phone was found on the bench, connected to a Teams work conference, as was her dog’s harness and lead. Fellow staff told The Telegraph that Nicola had logged onto the meeting at 9.01am, was muted and didn’t have her camera on.
  • That weekend (Saturday, January 28 - Sunday, January 29) the huge search for Nicola continues with police deploying drones, search dogs, underwater search teams and other resources. The local community, joined by partner Paul, also join in the search. 
Nicola Bulley vanished on January 27 during a riverside dog walk at St Michael’s, Lancashire.Nicola Bulley vanished on January 27 during a riverside dog walk at St Michael’s, Lancashire.
Nicola Bulley vanished on January 27 during a riverside dog walk at St Michael’s, Lancashire. | Lancashire Constabulary / SWNS.C
  • A police press conference is held on Monday, January 30. Chief Inspector Chris Barton, of Lancashire Police, tells reporters that the force is following a number of lines of inquiry and keeping “an open mind”. Nicola’s husband, Paul Ansell, says he and his family are living in “perpetual Hell”.
  • On Tuesday, January 31 a key witness came forward after police had been searching for - a man with a “small, fluffy white dog” who had seen Nicola on her walk. It is understood the witness spoke with officers that evening.
  • On Wednesday, February 1, police began searching an old abandoned house next to the River Wyre. The house is said to be directly opposite the bench where Nicola went missing, over a 10ft garden wall.
  • Nicola’s elderly parents, Ernest and Dot, told The Mirror they “dread” to think they will never see their daughter again, and that they worry “someone has taken her” as there was no sign of her slipping or falling by the river.
  • On Thursday, February 2, Nicola’s family shed further light on how they are coping, with Paul revealing that Nicola’s two daughters believe their mummy is “lost”. 
  • On Friday, February 4, police say they believe that Nicola “fell in the river” but “remain open to any inquiries”. Nicola’s sister Louise posts on Facebook the same night, urging the public to keep an open mind as “there is no evidence whatsoever” to suggest she fell into the water.
A search and rescue dog sits along Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service during it search for Nicola.A search and rescue dog sits along Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service during it search for Nicola.
A search and rescue dog sits along Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service during it search for Nicola. | Lee McLean/SWNS

Who is Nicola Bulley?

Nicola Bulley is a mum-of-two who lives with her family in Inskip, a ten minute drive from where she went missing in St Michael’s, Lancashire. She is 45-years-old, originally from Chelmsford, Essex and works as a mortgage adviser for Exclusively Mortgages.

Police said Nicola speaks with an Essex accent. She is described as white and 5ft 3ins tall, with light brown, shoulder-length hair.

At the time of her disappearance, Nicola was wearing a long black gilet jacket, black jeans and olive green ankle wellington boots.

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