‘No evidence’ Nicola Bulley fell into river, family say


amily and friends have questioned the police theory that missing mother Nicola Bulley fell into a river while walking her dog.

After dropping her two young daughters at their primary school, Ms Bulley had gone walking with the family’s spaniel Willow at St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire on Friday, January 27.

Detectives say their “main hypothesis” is that Ms Bulley fell into the water accidentally, possibly while tending to an issue with her dog, Willow. They have identified the period between 9.10 and 9.20am when she may have ended up in the River Wyre, based on witness statements, telephone data and CCTV.

Just hours after police said on Friday they believed Ms Bulley fell in the river, her sister, Louise Cunningham, cast doubt on their explanation in a post on Facebook.

“There is no evidence that she has gone into the river, it’s just a theory,” she said. “Everyone needs to keep an open mind as not all CCTV and leads have been investigated fully.”

It came as police revealed a “key witness” in the case has come forward.

On Saturday, officers said they wanted to trace a person seen pushing a pram in the area near where the dog walker went missing.

In an update on its Facebook page, Lancashire Police said the woman had come forward “very quickly”.

The force added: “We must stress that she was very much being treated as a witness and was one of many people in St Michael’s on Friday, January 27th.

“Our enquiries to find Nicola are extensive and will include speaking to as many members of the public as possible.

“The speculation and abuse on social media aimed at some people who are merely assisting our enquiry is totally unacceptable.

“We would urge people to remember that we are investigating the disappearance of Nicola, and the priority is Nicola and her family. We want to find her and provide answers to her family.”

Ms Bulley had logged in to a Microsoft Teams call at 9.01am, which ended at 9.30am with her phone still connected to the call.

She was seen by another dog walker at 9.10am – the last known sighting – and police traced telephone records of her mobile phone as it remained on a bench overlooking the river at 9.20am.

The device was found by a dog walker at around 9.35am, with Willow nearby.

Search teams from Lancashire Constabulary have been trawling the river.

Ms Bulley’s friend, Emma White, also cast doubt on the police theory that she fell in the river, telling Sky News it was based on “limited information”.

“When we are talking about a life we can’t base it on a hypothesis – surely we need this factual evidence,” she said.

“That’s what the family and all of us are holding on to – that we are sadly no further on than last Friday.

“We still have no evidence, and that’s why we’re out together in force.

“You don’t base life on a hypothesis.”

In an interview with The Sun, Ms White said that police were working to get data off Ms Bulley’s Fitbit watch.

“The Fitbit had not been synced since Tuesday,” she said.

“The police are trying other ways to try to get information from it.”

The police search has been aided by specialists and divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue, and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – with sniffer dogs, drones and police helicopters deployed.

Detectives are also working behind the scenes to analyse CCTV and dashcam videos, and members of the public with footage which could be useful have been urged to come forward.

Anyone with information or footage has been asked to call 101, quoting log 565 of January 30.

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