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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Benedict Tetzlaff-Deas

Nicola Bulley's cause of death revealed as mum's heartbroken family attend inquest

Nicola Bulley died as a result of drowning and was alive when she fell into the water, an inquest has heard today.

Giving evidence at County Hall in Preston on Monday, Dr Alison Armour said watery fluid and fragments of dirt found inside Ms Bulley's body were "typical features we see in cases of drowning".

The Home Office pathologist added that the 45-year-old was alive when she entered the water and there was "no evidence" she was harmed.

Dr James Adeley, senior coroner for Lancashire, asked: "At the time of her death she had no alcohol in her bloodstream?", to which Dr Armour replied: "That's my opinion."

Nicola's body was found around a mile downstream from a bench in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire (PA)

Ms Armour said the presence of water in the lungs showed swallowing the liquid was an "active process" and therefore suggests Ms Bulley was alive at the time she went into the river.

She said there were no bleeding in the brain or natural diseases, only normal therapeutic levels of medication in her body, and the low level of alcohol was consistent with a natural process of decomposition of her body.

There was some bruising to Ms Bulley's body but these did not contribute to her death, the inquest was told.

Dr Adeley asked the witness: "Is there any evidence of third-party involvement playing any part in her death?"

Ms Armour replied: "No, there was not."

Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser originally from near Chelmsford but living in Inskip, was immediately deemed a "high risk" missing person when she vanished on January 27, sparking a huge police search operation along with hundreds of local volunteers.

The 45-year-old's disappearance in January sparked a huge 23-day police search operation (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Helicopters, drones and specialist search teams were all used during the course of the search. Her body was found in the river 23 days after she went missing, around a mile downstream from the bench in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire.

The case attracted intense public attention while she was missing, prompting police to warn social media users to avoid the search area after local residents reported major disruption from out-of-town visitors.

Shortly before the hearing began, the coroner Mr Adeley addressed the social media controversy surrounding Ms Bulley's death.

He said the inquest would deal with only "proportionate evidence from reliable sources and not to explore all the theories by those who contributed to social media".

The coroner added: "At the centre of this inquest are two children who have lost their mother, a partner, and parents who have lost a daughter."

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