Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Chronicle Live
Chronicle Live
Aaron Morris

Nicola Bulley cause of death revealed as inquest takes place into missing mum of two

Nicola Bulley was alive when she entered the River Wyre, and died from drowning - an inquest into her death has revealed. Home Office pathologist, Alison Armour - who carried out the 45-year-old's post mortem - concluded that evidence showing water in Nicola's lungs and stomach leads her to believe that her cause of death was drowning, and that there was no 'third party' involvement in her passing.

Nicola vanished from the village of St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27 after dropping her two daughters - aged six and nine - off at school before embarking on her usual dog walk near the River Wyre. Her phone was later found on a bench overlooking the water, still connected to a work Teams meeting.

Her body was found just over three weeks later in the river, around a mile from the bench where her phone was discovered. Ms Bulley's partner, Paul Ansell, her sister, Louise Cunningham, and her parents, Ernest and Dot Bulley, sat in the public gallery this morning as Ms Armour was called as the first witness to give evidence at Nicola's inquest hearing.

Read more: Nicola Bulley inquest: Live updates from the hearing into the mum's tragic death

It is currently taking place at the County Hall in Preston, and is expected to take two days - reports the PA News Agency. Dr James Adeley, who is the Senior Coroner for Lancashire, asked Ms Armour to sum up her findings and conclusion following post-mortem proceedings.

Ms Armour, detailed: "I conclude the cause of death as drowning. The lungs themselves showed classical features we see in drownings. In my opinion Nicola Bulley was alive when she entered the water."

Ms Armour added that the presence of water in Nicola's lungs showed swallowing of the liquid which was an 'active process', therefore suggesting that she was alive when she entered the River Wyre. She also added that there was no bleed on the brain, nor natural diseases present.

Normal therapeutic levels of medication were found, and a low level of alcohol was consistent with being the result of a natural process of decomposition. While some bruising was also found, these did not contribute to her death - the inquest heard.

Dr Adeley, asked Ms Armour: "Is there any evidence of third-party involvement playing any part in her death?" to which the pathologist, replied: "No, there was not."

Nicola, who worked as a mortgage advisor, was deemed a 'high risk' missing person after her disappearance, sparking a widespread police search operation. Hundreds of local search volunteers also came to St Michael's on Wyre to assist, while there was an intense media and public interest in her case.

Private underwater search specialists were also called to the scene by her family. Police had to urge people not to speculate on Nicola's disappearance, amid a conspiratorial social media frenzy leading content creators visiting St Michael's.

As the days passed, Lancashire Police revealed that Nicola had struggled with alcohol and perimenopause, sparking widespread criticism for the disclosure of her personal information. Home Secretary Suella Braverman, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak questioned about the police approach, as well as an investigation faced by officials.

The inquest was also told there was no alcohol in her system. Dr James Adeley asked Dr Alison Armour: "At the time of her death she had no alcohol in her bloodstream?"

Dr Armour replied: "That’s my opinion."

The inquest hearing continues.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.