A diving expert who has been assisting police in the search for Nicola Bulley has revealed he conducted one critical test that proved to him she hadn’t been washed down the River Wyre. Several theories have been suggested, including she might have hit her head on a rock and lost consciousness, and that her body could have been washed round the river bend to the nearby weir. But Mr Faulding disagrees with that, explaining he conducted a test that left him positive she she hadn’t been washed away in river.
He told the Daily Mail: “I threw a big stick in the water and watched it for 20 minutes and it didn’t move, which makes it unlikely that a body would move from the spot either.
“It would have to be floodwater to move a body from there. People are making assumptions without the local knowledge.”
During his interview with the publication, Mr Faulding showed reporter Kathryn Knight a picture of how shallow the water is in the river at the spot where Ms Bulley’s mobile phone was left, and where Lancashire Police believe she might have entered the river.
The dive expert explained: “It’s even more shallow now but on the day it would have been around two feet deep.
The search for missing mum Nicola Bulley, 45, is ongoing after she went missing on January 27 in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire. Express.co.uk has put together a full timeline of events since she disappeared, and all the information known about what might have happened.
Read more HERE.
“If she slipped she would have gone in and hit rock very quickly and been up to her thigh, that’s all. This is not drowning territory.”
Ms Bulley vanished while walking her her springer spaniel dog Willow alongside the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre on the morning of January 27.
She had dropped off her two young daughters at school and was on her usual walk when she mysteriously disappeared. Her mobile phone – still connected to a call for her job as a mortgage adviser – was found on a bench overlooking the river.
The 45-year-old’s family called in help from Peter Faulding, of Specialist Group International to help with the search but after three-days, no trace of her was found.
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Mr Faulding confirmed Ms Bulley was not in the section of river searched by his team and police divers, but remains “baffled” as her disappearance remains a huge mystery.
The focus of the police search has now shifted from where Ms Bulley vanished to further downstream, towards where the River Wyre empties into the Irish Sea at Morecambe Bay. On Friday, two boats with specialist police teams began searching the coast off the bay, some 20 miles from where Ms Bulley was last seen.
Police have suggested finding the missing mum-of-two in the open sea had become “more of a possibility”. In 1978, the body of a teenager who drowned in the River Wyre near where Ms Bulley vanished washed up two months later on a sandbank.
But Mr Faulding has dismissed that theory this time around, maintaining he believes it is “near impossible” this happened to Ms Bulley.
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He continued: “There’s no way she would have gone out to sea. Even in the unlikely event [her body] made it over the weir there are too many shallow areas, it would get jammed, and people would see [her].”
The theory the 45-year-old might have disappeared voluntarily has also been dismissed by the dive expert.
Mr Faulding explained: “From all the chats with the family it’s clear she had everything to live for. Her passport was at home, and Paul confirmed that no personal possessions of hers had left the house.”
The partner of Ms Bulley has said in a television interview it has always been his “gut instinct” that she is not in the river. Paul Ansell told 5 News presenter Dan Walker he wants to keep “all options open” about her disappearance.
He said: “We’ve always been very careful that we don’t want to say, ‘oh, we think it’s that’, and then push that when it might not be.
“The most obvious thing, of course has always been the river. It’s always been my gut instinct and her sisters, and family that, that isn’t the case. Extensive searching, as you know is probably well aware has gone on in that river.”
Speaking about his partner, Mr Ansell added: “She is fun. She is loving. If you’re friends with her, she’s the most loyal friend that you could ever have. With Nikki, what you see is what you get. There’s no hidden, nothing’s hidden.
“You know, it’s all. That’s, that’s her. And she is an exceptional mum and she absolutely adores our girls. And goes above and beyond.”
“She’s just a pillar of strength to our family and without her, the hole is bigger than you can possibly imagine.”