‘I can’t put my girls to bed again with no answers’: Nicola Bulley’s partner reveals heartbreak as new CCTV released


The partner of missing Nicola Bulley has told Sky News she “has to be found safe and well” because “I can’t put those girls to bed again with no answers”, as police released new CCTV of her on the day she disappeared.

The mother-of-two went missing in Lancashire on the morning of Friday 27 January while walking her dog.

Officers’ “main working hypothesis” is that the 45-year-old fell into the River Wyre near to the village of St Michael’s on Wyre.

But her family and friends have claimed there is “no evidence whatsoever” behind this.

Nicola Bulley
Nicola Bulley

In a separate statement, released through Lancashire Police on the 10th day since she was last seen, Ms Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, said the girls “miss their mummy desperately” and “need her back”.

“This has been such a tough time for the girls especially but also for me and all of Nicola’s family and friends, as well as the wider community and I want to thank them for their love and support,” he said.

In an additional voice note, sent to Sky News, he said: “We have to find her safe and well. I can’t put those girls to bed again tonight with no answers.”

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Voicenote from Nicola Bulley’s partner

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First images released of dog walker on day she vanished

It comes as police released new images from Ms Bulley’s doorbell camera showing her on the day she disappeared.

The pictures show Ms Bulley wearing a long dark coat – believed to be black – and with her dog. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a ponytail.

Ms Bulley was last seen walking her dog a short while later on a footpath near the waterways of St Michael’s on Wyre village.

Lancashire Constabulary said it had carried out searches along the river “all the way to the sea” using specialist search teams, sonar, search dogs, drones and helicopters.

The force said it had also searched the derelict house on the other side of the river as well as any empty caravans in the vicinity.

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Retracing Nicola Bulley’s journey

Officers will now be sending letters to drivers who they believe were travelling down Garstang Road, near to the river, on the morning Ms Bulley disappeared in the hope of obtaining new dashcam footage.

“We can say with confidence that by reviewing CCTV, Nicola has not left the field during the key times via Rowanwater, either through the site itself or via the piece of land at the side,” a force spokesperson said.

“Our inquiries now focus on the river path which leads from the fields back to Garstang Road – for that we need drivers and cyclists who travelled that way on the morning of 27 January to make contact.

“If you receive one of these letters and have dashcam footage, we would urge you to make contact so that a member of the enquiry team can make contact and review your footage to establish whether it assists.”

Specialist team joins the search

On Monday, a dive team from Specialist Group International (SGI) joined the search after the company originally offered its help on social media.

The company’s £55,000 side-scan sonar has a high frequency of 1,800 kilohertz. “We’ve got a very high hit rate,” SGI’s chief executive, Peter Faulding, said.

Police also have a side-scan sonar but “our sonar is probably a bit more superior”, he said, adding: “I’m not sure what frequency they will be using.”

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Independent team hunt dog walker

On Monday night, he said his team had searched “three or four miles” of river but had not found anything.

“It’s a negative search, no signs of Nicola,” he said.

His team will look through another stretch of river “towards where Nicola went originally missing” on Tuesday.

Mr Faulding said it was a “particularly long stretch of river” for police to search “because they’re doubling up as a dive team as well”.

“It is a huge task for the police,” he said.

Mr Faudling said he had worked on hundreds of these cases, and we always, generally find people within the hour in lakes etc”.

“We’re just bringing an extra expertise.”

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Mr Ansell praised SGI for joining the search, adding: “We are really grateful to Peter and his team from SGI for coming up and helping support the work of Lancashire Police as they continue their investigation.

“If anyone has any information which could help find Nicola, I urge them to get in touch with the police and help us provide the answers we all so badly need.”

How will SGI help?

Mr Faulding said the SGI team are tasked by a police search adviser with looking in a specific stretch of the river.

He explained: “Once he says ‘I want this piece of river searched’ it will be down to me to actually search that piece of river with my team.

Peter Faulding (centre) CEO of private underwater search and recovery company Specialist Group International (SGI), speaks to the media in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for missing woman Nicola Bulley
Peter Faulding (centre) CEO of private underwater search and recovery company Specialist Group International (SGI)

“So they won’t tell us how to do it, they will just say ‘this is a stretch of river what we need doing, and can you please do that and report back’.”

He said: “If there is a body in the river, our sonar will detect it.”

SGI carries out all the underwater search operations across the whole of the South East for the police, Mr Faulding said.

He said his sonar will probably start from the weir downwards “and identify any possible targets”. It can generally cover about 10 miles of river a day, he added.

Mr Faulding also cautioned: “Sometimes you can get deep pools of water where the sonar can’t quite get to and that’s where you have to put the diver in, but this river winds around and there’s deep pools, there’s shallow bits, so it’s a lot of work.”

“We will work a long day and continue until we’re finished,” he explained.

How did SGI get involved?

Mr Faulding said that SGI originally offered its services on Facebook.

“We just said we will assist if required, but they [the family] came straight back and then they went to the police and the police, via that, contacted us.

Peter Faulding (centre) CEO and workers from private underwater search and recovery company, Specialist Group International, using a 18kHz side-scan sonar on the river in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as they assist in the search for missing woman Nicola Bulley
Workers from Specialist Group International assist in the search

“And so we’ve had very productive conversations. We work with the police all the time.”

Ms Bulley’s friend Emma White said SGI’s work will “give us answers” but hoped “they uncover nothing”.

She told BBC Breakfast: “Following the hypothesis of the police that Nicola was in the river, we need some evidence to back that up either way and I feel Peter and his amazing bit of kit… is going to come and sweep the river bed and give us answers.”

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Ms White added: “We hope they uncover nothing, like the police have done for the last 10 days, and we hope Nicola is not in that river.”

Ms White, who has known the mother-of-two for 10 years, also told Radio 4’s Today programme how she “came across one of the interviews” with Mr Faulding.

She added: “They’ve got expertise, equipment and manpower and they search rivers in extreme detail, so the quest to bring Peter to St Michael’s began.”

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