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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jane Dalton

Gaynor Lord search: Police investigating ‘yoga’ mystery of missing mother work with Nicola Bulley detectives


Detectives carrying out a large-scale investigation into the disappearance of Gaynor Lord are looking into why she seemingly performed yoga poses beside a river before she vanished.

In a case with striking similarities to that of Nicola Bulley, a mother last seen by a riverbank earlier this year, Ms Lord’s belongings, including clothing, rings and glasses, were found by the water in Wensum Park, in Norfolk, last Friday.

Norfolk Constabulary believe she went into the river there, prompting a huge search with specialist divers. But the force said they were working in an “extraordinarily challenging environment”, the river being swollen and muddy after heavy rains.

While police say they have not been able to establish the mother-of-three’s state of mind with “any degree of confidence”, they have received 30 calls from people offering information after releasing CCTV of her last known movements.

Gaynor Lord seen at work and later in Norwich shortly before she vanished
— (PA/Norfolk Police)

Police and the public have been quick to point out the similarities between the mystery of Ms Lord’s case and that of Ms Bulley, whose disappearance also led to huge publicity and widespread concern.

It was on 27 January this year that Ms Bulley, 45, vanished while walking near a river not far from her home in Lancashire – something that her family said was completely out of keeping with her character.

Mother-of-two Nicola Bulley went missing in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire (Family handout/PA)
— (PA)
A police diving team at the River Wyre in the search for Ms Bulley
— (PA)

Detectives fear Ms Lord went into the water, just as mother-of-two Ms Bulley did. Her white shirt and yellow tank top were found in Wensum Park; in Ms Bulley’s case, her dog and mobile phone were discovered by the water.

Police and specialist divers have been scouring the River Wensum after a coat belonging to Ms Lord was found in it and her clothing and belongings were discovered in “various locations” in the park.

In both cases, there were immediate fears that the missing woman had drowned. Police launched major search operations with coastguard and marine unit teams. In Ms Bulley’s case, the River Wyre at St Michael’s was also full and muddy.

But in each case, it was the fact that the women’s behaviour was so unusual that sparked huge media and public interest.

Police searching for Ms Lord have even started working with detectives who investigated the Nicola Bulley case.

An inquest in June concluded that Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser, drowned after accidentally falling into cold water.

Missing mother-of-three Gaynor Lord
— (PA)

Ms Lord disappeared after leaving work – at Jarrolds department store, around a mile-and-a-half from the park – early, at 2.45pm.

Divers searching for Ms Lord
— (Getty)

A witness, Rosie Richards, said she saw a woman fitting her description in the park last Friday.

“She was sort of putting her coat down on the floor and sort of performing a yoga pose. It just seemed a bit off at this time because obviously it was starting to get dark,” Ms Richards said.

Ms Lord’s stepbrother, Allan Weston, has made a desperate plea for anyone with information to come forward.

Chief Superintendent Dave Buckley of Norfolk Police said officers had “some indications” of why she had left work early, but did not reveal what those were.

Police hunt for clues to Ms Lord’s disappearance
— (Getty)

“We’ve got some indications as to why she behaved the way in which she did but what we’re doing is we’re just working backwards now to actually truly understand what may have taken place,” he said.

“I don’t think any of the conversations we’ve had are completely informing us as to why her state of mind ended up being what it was,” Ch Supt Buckley added.

He said they were speaking to her friends and family, and examining her mobile phone for clues. Asked whether there were any marks on the grass by the river to indicate someone had gone in there, he said no.

“We’re putting sonar equipment across the river, which is quite detailed in allowing us to try and target divers to where we think there might be objects,” Ch Supt Buckley said.

“But equally, it’s very, very challenging. The river is very, very full of water with all the rain, full of lots of debris. The divers can see about one foot in front of them.

“So it’s an extraordinarily challenging environment for them to work in so it’s slow, methodical at the moment, working with equipment and it will take probably a couple of days to get to a position where we’re kind of content with what we’ve done. It may even be longer.”

Norwich policing commander Superintendent Wes Hornigold said they were “linking in with” Lancashire Constabulary to understand any lessons learnt from the Bulley inquiry.

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