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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rebecca Cook

Ex police officer labels pro diver a 'fool' after claims Nicola Bulley not in river

A former senior police officer has criticised the diving expert who volunteered his services for the river search for the missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley.

Peter Faulding, head of Specialist Group International, led a team of experts and divers to assist Lancashire Police in searching the River Wyre using specialist sonar equipment.

He previously said he did not believe Ms Bulley was in the water, but a body has now been found by divers – although not yet been identified – and Ms Bulley’s family have been informed of the discovery.

Former Met Police chief superintendent Dal Babu criticised Mr Faulding, labelling him a ‘complete fool’ as he sat in the studio with hosts Ed Balls and Ranvir Singh

Ed noted that Mr Faulding had objected to the police’s decision not to inform him of Ms Bulley’s specific vulnerabilities, after they issued a statement disclosing the mother-of-two’s alcohol issues, brought on by ongoing struggles with menopause.

Former Met Police chief superintendent Dal Babu criticised Mr Faulding (ITV)

Ed said: “It feels as though the police weren’t telling the serious media and the people actively involved in the search that this is a very vulnerable person and therefore be careful about the wider speculation about third parties.”

Turning to Mr Faulding, Mr Babu said: “He’s made out he knew exactly what he was doing and he’s been made out to be a complete fool, really.

“He said he could guarantee she’s not there. Nobody can guarantee. I’ve been involved in searches in rivers. I’ve been a family liaison officer.”

He continued: “There’s been a whole range of people speculating and talking about this who have been wrongly going for the police.

A body has now been found by divers (Getty Images)

“Some of my ex colleagues have been talking absolute rubbish. People just need to have kept their mouth shut, listen to what the police are saying and show some respect for the family.

“I feel absolutely appalled about how the family has been treated. It’s absolutely shocking. I hope we are able to learn some lessons from this.”

A diving expert who scoured the river has since said it is ‘totally unfair’ to suggest that his comments had given Ms Bulley's family false hope after a body was found less than a mile from where the mum-of-two went missing.

Forensic expert Peter Faulding, from Specialist Group International (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

He said: "If I gave them false hope, then what about the police search teams there every day? I was there for three days as a volunteer.

"I think that would be totally unfair to be honest with you, and I would sling the hook and give up searching."

He added: "The police search teams walked that river every day. Up and down, up and down.

"When we searched that part, she was not laying on the bottom of the river, but we were only there for one day. We are going down with a boat towing the sonar. We're not searching reeds."

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