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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Ryan Merrifield & Jonathon Manning

Nicola Bulley's Fitbit reported a heart rate for more than a week after she died

The Fitbit worn by Nicola Bulley when she died continued to give a heart rate output for eight days after she drowned, an inquest has heard. The 45-year-old went missing in January while on a dog walk along the River Wyre, in St Michael's, Lancashire.

The mum-of-two's disappearance sparked a major police investigation and an extensive search of the river by divers. Her body was eventually found on February 27- 24 days after she went missing.

At the time of her disappearance, Nicola's phone was found on a bench overlooking the river. It was still connected to a work Teams call, according to The Mirror.

READ MORE: Nicola Bulley's partner said 'she's struggling' as woman recalls hearing 'inhale scream'

When her body was found, she was still wearing her Fitbit watch. It is believed to have lost power on February 4, as that is when it stopped recording data and when it was placed on charge it began showing that date.

On January 27, the device recorded 4,548 steps between 8am and 9.30am. After that, no further steps were recorded. However, the watch continued to record what it perceived as a heart rate.

Speaking during the first day of the inquest at Preston's County Hall, DC Keith Greenhaugh said: "A possible explanation for Nicola’s Fitbit continuing to provide [heart rate] output sporadically until February 4 could be a result of the movement of water passing between the device and Nicola’s wrist. Testing on inanimate objects provided similar results when there was movement in the water."

Dc Greenhaugh said he believed analysis of the device showed it was "very possible" that Nicola entered the water at 9.22am on January 27. Drowning experts told the hearing that entering cold water can cause victims to gasp and inhale water, causing them to drown very quickly.

Nicola Bulley's watch and her pet dog were found near the river on the morning she died (PA)

Professor Michael Tipton, a world expert in drowning, explained that the water could have been as cold as 3C when Nicola entered the water. He said it could have taken just a few seconds before she lost consciousness.

Prof Tipton and Home Office pathologist Alison Armour, who carried out a post-mortem, both agreed that Nicola died by drowning.

Cold water expert Dr Patrick Morgan added: "On the occasion that the individual has taken that initial gasp on the surface of the water and then gone below, the duration would be 10 seconds that you could hold your breath and very likely one or two seconds at best."

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