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Daily Record
Daily Record
James Rodger & Steven Rae

Five unanswered Nicola Bulley questions as police divers sent back to river where body was found

Police divers have been sent back to the River Wyre where Nicola Bulley vanished in January, leading to a huge search for the mum-of-two.

The specialist divers were seen in the water on Tuesday, in the section of the river they think Nicola, 45, went into the water in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27, reports the Birmingham Live.

Her body was found 23 days after she went missing, around a mile farther downstream on February 19. Police divers had previously been seen a week before, and a brief clip was uploaded to YouTube.

Lancashire Police said in a statement: "We can confirm we are carrying out some work on the direction of HM coroner."

An inquest into Nicola's death is to be held on June 26. With her family still grieving, there are still some important unanswered questions people are asking about her disappearance and tragic death.

What was Nicola Bulley's cause of death?

The cause of death has not yet been revealed by police. Nicola was identified via her dental records after her body was pulled from the river on February 19.

She vanished while walking her dog along the River Wyre after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at school, sparking a huge search operation and intense media and public interest.

Why was the body more than a mile from where police believed she entered the river?

Nicola's body was spotted by a member of the public about a mile from where Nicola disappeared and where police and specialist groups had already searched.

Julie Mackay, a retired Detective Superintendent said: "It's not as unusual as you think. If she's then sadly gone over that weir it becomes tidal and then the possibility that she's gone out to sea is still quite possible."

Why did it take so long to find her?

Ms Mackay said: "Generally wearing winter clothes makes it more difficult to get out it will weigh you down. The cold water shock alone will knock you sideways even for an experienced swimmer. That cold water shock very quickly disorientates you and with winter clothes it's heavy and panic will set in.

"And once you start losing control it can be quite difficult to regain it." She added: "It's also how the body operates in the water, it sinks until decomposition sets in and because it's so cold it may be a bit longer."

The bench where Nicola Bulley's phone was discovered (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Why was Nicola's phone found on a bench?

Nicola's phone was found still connected to a work conference call, on a bench near the water. This left many puzzled. A member of the public recognised the phone before raising the alarm.

It is unclear if the phone was placed there by Nicola herself or somewhere else, and the reason the phone was left on the bench has raised questions.

Do the police have questions to answer?

The police came under a fierce backlash for discussing Ms Bulley's medical history. The Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, the chair of the foreign affairs committee, tweeted: “I am deeply uncomfortable with the police releasing Nicola Bulley’s so-called “vulnerabilities” on menopause & alcohol. I struggle to ascertain how this will assist police in their search and investigations. I do see how it would assist those wishing to victim-blame or diminish.”

Zoë Billingham, a former inspector of constabulary, said: “I’m deeply troubled that such sensitive information has been released by the force at this stage. I have to wonder if some in Lancashire police are placing the protection of their reputation above their focus on finding Nicola.”

Nicola Bulley. (Family handout/PA Wire)

Silkie Carlo, the director of the civil liberties organisation Big Brother Watch, said: “Lancashire police broadcasting missing Nicola Bulley’s health issues and hormone status to the world is a serious invasion of her privacy with no obvious benefits for the investigation. A shocking decision when the police’s treatment of women is rightly in the spotlight.”

Nicola's family said in a statement after her body was found: "We will never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments and that will never leave us.

"We will never forget Nikki, how could we, she was the centre of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that. Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most."

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