Nicola Bulley’s partner has given a heart breaking TV interview with Dan Walker as the search enters its 14th day.
Paul was on Channel 5 talking to Dan Walker, the BBC Strictly Come Dancing star, on Friday night. Paul said he wants to keep “all options open” about her disappearance. The missing mum-of-two vanished on Friday January 27, while walking her dog Willow.
The emotional 75-minute interview last night heard Paul speak about how he fears a local could be to blame. He also admitted he knew he would be a suspect in the disappearance, reports Birmingham Live.
Read more: Nicola Bulley disappearance live updates as partner Paul Ansell gives emotional interview and dog expert shares theory
The 45-year-old went missing more than two weeks ago while walking her dog Willow, a springer spaniel, beside the river in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire. Nicola’s dog was found alone near the river ‘bone dry’ but all that was left of Nicola was her phone, found on a bench, still connected to a work call with the dog harness and lead nearby.
Here are seven revelations from that Channel 5 documentary and the interview with Paul:
Local to blame
Paul told Dan: “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, by local, it’s a local area.”
Paul explained that he and Nicola had been walking the path she disappeared from since they met 12 years ago. He continued: “You see the same faces every single day, and on the very odd occasion when you see somebody that you know, you don’t know.
“They stand out like a sore thumb.” He said: “The fact that nothing’s been seen or heard, I just truly believe that it’s something in the village.”
Extend the search
Mr Ansell said he wanted the search to expand out to ALL outbuildings and homes and gardens. The dad-of-two said: “I want every house, every garage, every outbuilding, the land, scrutinised.
“I want it all searched, I want it all scrutinised, every piece of it.”
He expected to be suspect
The dad-of-two told Dan: “I expected that. I said to them ‘do it and get that out the way’.” He says he then urged police to “focus on finding her”.
He said: “Some of the things that people say are just, I mean, just ridiculous, aren’t they? I read one that said ‘the police need to look at the partner’. And I’m sort of like, well, yeah, that’s the first thing that they do. Like of course it is.
“I knew that that would happen, you know, on the first day.”
How phone was found
The dad-of-two said Nicola typically walks the dog Willow after dropping the kids off at school, and returns by about 10am. But when she wasn’t back by 10.15am, Paul assumed she was chatting to a dog walker or a pal she had bumped to.
At 10.30am, Paul added: “That’s when I thought you know, she’s quite, quite late now. More late than usual. I tried ringing her phone. And there was no answer. I tried ringing again on WhatsApp. And again, there was no answer. I tried the mobile again and no answer.
“Now I sort of started to get a bit panicky I think.” Paul said it was then he started to get ready to head down to the path “to see if she’s alright”. He added: “I was going to leave and then the phone rang. It was the school and it was the receptionist at school.
“She said ‘Mr Ansell, it’s a bit of a weird one. It’s a bit of a weird one. But we found Willow and Nikki’s phone on the bench, and the harness halfway down the embankment on the floor’.” He continued: “I’m about to leave thinking I’m going to see her, you know pass her and find her. Then I get that call.”
Paul replied: “I just went in the house, put the kettle on, made a cup of tea, went into the living room, and thought I’ve got on an hour now to sort of chill and get myself ready for the day. Which is what I did. So she’s usually back, like, quarter to 10, average 10 o’clock. At a push. So I’d gone up into the office at 10.
“Thinking that she’d be back in a minute, I was just going through some emails and stuff, setting my day up. It got to say quarter past 10, and that’s when I thought she was later than usual, but I still wasn’t particularly worried because she has come back at quarter past 20 sometimes.
“And again, there was no answer. I tried the mobile again and no answer. “Now I sort of started to get a bit bit panicky I think. So that’s when I thought I’m gonna have to go down there and see if she’s alright. See if I can see the car or you know, see what’s going on. But I still expected that I’d just get there and you know there she is.
“I just thought basically I’m gonna go out, find her, come home do a bit of work.”
Morning was ‘different’
The dad-of-two said: “Yeah totally normal, the only difference that morning was, you know usually, when you’ve got children, getting up on a school day.
“You probably know yourself is just mayhem isn’t it. Absolute carnage. And you know, we’re always up a little bit too late sometimes and trying to get them to have their breakfast and sort all that out and then do their hair.”
Paul continued: “The only difference on that morning two weeks ago was that there wasn’t a lot of rushing. I came down and a lot of stuff was already done.” He added: “The girls were having their breakfast and everything was pretty much ready to go. I came down, Nikki went upstairs to get ready.
“The routine is basically if Nikki is taking the girls and Willow, when I hear her come down, I’ll get them in the car. It’s a well-oiled machine normally. And if it’s my job usually the roles were reversed.”
He said: “I just, how much, how much I love her. How much us as a family love her and need her. How well thought of, how much our friends love her, and need her back. Um, and we are never, we’re never gonna be the same until, until she is back. Just come home.”
“Because all we need is that tiny something. We just need that tiny something to give us some answers you know, some answers,” he added. “So, you know, that’s all I can say is, you know, just please just, just contact the police with anything at all.”
Paul continued: Like anybody who knows anything, like, like you say, no matter how small that is, even if you think probably isn’t anything, just please just contact the police. Just please just do it.”
Asked how he feels about the situation, Mr Ansell added: “Anger, loads of frustration, confusion, disbelief, surrealism, nothing feels real.”
He continued “It just doesn’t feel real… I feel like I’m in The Truman Show. I honestly believe I’m going to wake up at any moment… how are we even in this? We are good people.” Mr Ansell also confessed his frustration at the dog seeing what happened.
Paul said the fact Willow almost certainly witnessed what happened adds “another layer of frustration” to the situation. “It’s a hellish situation with the layer of hell that, no, not knowing what’s happened yet. And then also having Willow who probably does know what happened. Um, but she can’t, she can’t tell us, can she?” he said.
“And she’s a very sensitive dog. I did take her back there first thing on the Saturday, the day after.”
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