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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Sarah Barrett

Expert reveals two reasons why it took 23 days to find body in Nicola Bulley search

An ex-detective has revealed why he thinks there are only “two possibilities” as to why it took police 23 days to track down a body in the search for missing Mum Nicola Bulley.

The 45-year-old vanished while on a dog walk on January 27 soon after dropping off her two young children at school in St Michaels on Wyre, Lancashire.

The family of the mortgage advisor were told on Sunday officers had located the remains of a person from the River Wyre after the alarm was raised by two dog walkers.

READ MORE:Irish gang boss Cornelius Price dies in Welsh hospital after long illness

Although formal identification has not yet been completed, Nicola's family have been informed of the news and are said to be in "agony".

Forensic dive expert Peter Faulding had previously said that Nicola was not in the River Wyre after his searched the area.

Now an ex-detective has revealed the two reasons how the body may have been missed in the search.

He told the Times: “It's important to emphasise we don't know all the facts.

“That means really only two other possibilities - the body was weighed down or there were failures in the search."

A police diving team at the River Wyre near St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire. A body was found on Sunday afternoon, though formal identification has not yet been completed (PA Wire/PA Images)

"However, it does seem pretty extraordinary given the level of searches in that area."

Mr Faulding was drafted in 10 days after Nicola's disappearance and spent three days searching the River Wyre.

He had previously said: "If Nicola was in that river, I would have found her. She’s not there."

But this morning he released a statement explaining the reason why his team had not found a body.

He said it was found in the "reeds" and his specialist sonar equipment "does not penetrate reeds".

(Lancashire Constabulary / SWNS.C)

"The police underwater search teams and land search teams were searching for three full weeks and were also unable to find Nicola," he added.

"Unfortunately, it was a member of the public that made a grim discovery, unconfirmed as yet to be Nicola.

"Sadly, the discovery was not found in the river but in the reeds at the side of the river which was not part of our remit as the side scan sonar does not penetrate reeds above or below the water.

Before the tragic discovery, Mr Faulding had also put forward a number of theories publicly saying Nicola might never be found, or that she could have been "pushed hard from behind" into the river.

On Sunday, a police spokesman said officers were called to reports of a body in the river at around 11.35am.

"An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water and have sadly recovered a body," a statement said.

"No formal identification has yet been carried out, so we are unable to say whether this is Nicola Bulley at this time.”


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