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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Ellen Kirwin

Nicola Bulley's cause of death confirmed at inquest

Nicola Bulley died as a result of drowning and was alive when she fell into the water.

Home Office pathologist, Dr Alison Armour, confirmed the cause of death while giving evidence at an inquest at County Hall in Preston. She said watery fluid and fragments of dirt found inside Nicola's body were "typical features we see in cases of drowning."

She added that Nicola was alive when she entered the water and that there was "no evidence" she was harmed. Addressing the possibility Nicola had been strangled Dr Armour said there were no signs of trauma to the neck.

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There were several bruises on her body, including both the front and back of her right arm. Toxicology tests found therapeutic levels of beta blocker propranolol and painkiller paracetamol.

Although there was some alcohol, the levels were consistent with post mortem microbial activity - bacteria within the body produce ethanol after death. Dr Armour then concluded Nicola was alive when she entered the water.

The coroner asked Dr Armour if there was any sign Nicola had been assaulted or harmed prior to her death. Dr Armour said: “No there was not."

Dr Armour added: “I have concluded the cause of death was drowning because of the following factors: the watery fluid within the stomach, the lungs showed typical or classical features we have seen in cases of drowning.

"The presence of the watery fluid along with the lung changes, in my opinion confirms that Nicola Bulley was alive when she entered the water.”

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