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07th Feb 2023

Head of dive squad searching for Nicola Bulley thinks ‘something’s not right’

Charlie Herbert

He said that if Nicola did indeed drown in the river, his team will find her ‘straight away’

The head of the specialist dive squad searching for Nicola Bulley has said he believes something is “not right” with the police theory that she fell in a river.

Nicola was last seen at 9.10am on 27 January while walking in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, having earlier dropped her daughters, aged six and nine, at school.

The 45-year-old’s phone, still connected to a work call, and the dog’s lead and harness were found a short time later. Police are now trying to account for a missing 10-minute period.

On Friday, police revealed their “main working hypothesis” was that the mum fell into the river.

Peter Faulding, the founder of Specialist Group International (SGI), has offered his services to Lancashire Police for free, according to a report on Monday by The Mirror, and the company is due to launch its “top of the market” 18,000khz side scan sonar later this morning.

But, the expert wasn’t convinced that Nicola is in the water, and said that he believes something is “not quite right here.”

Faulding noted no screams were heard, and “normally people would scream out”, and dogs normally stay with the owner. Nicola’s cocker spaniel, Willow, was found wandering alone.

“There’s something, in my opinion, not quite right here.”

Police have been searching for the missing mum of two for several days now (SWNS)

Although they said that she was a good swimmer, police pointed out she may have been weighed down by heavy clothing she was wearing that morning.

Faulding also said that if Nicola fell into the river and was conscious, cold water shock could have “taken her breath away” and her energy would have been sapped meaning she would eventually drown.

If Nicola had indeed drowned, he said she would have likely got “snagged” within around 500 metres of the point of entry.

Faulding said, if Nicola “accidentally” fell into the river, as suspected, “she wouldn’t have gone far” because it has “shallows and she would get lodged”.

He continued: “There’s no way she would have gone out to the estuary. The river’s not in flood, it’s benign.”

“If Nicola is in there, we will find her. If she’s there, our sonar will pick her up straight away.

“I will see a body on the bottom. We are dealing with about 10 drownings every summer. We always locate within the hour. It’s that quick, it’s that good.”

Over the weekend he branded the police investigation a “mess” and suggested police could not rule out third-party involvement in Nicola’s disappearance “when they haven’t actually checked”.

Related link:

Police believe they know what happened to missing dog walker Nicola Bulley