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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ryan Carroll & Kieren Williams

Nicola Bulley's heartbreaking final text sent before disappearance read out at inquest

The final text tragic Nicola Bulley sent before she went missing was read out during the first day of an inquest into her death. Ms Bulley, 45, was last seen walking her family dog Willow along the River Wyre on January 27.

However, a desperate manhunt was launched after she went missing, capturing the attention of the nation. Police and emergency services searched for the missing mum for weeks until they finally found her body.

It emerged that she had tragically fallen into the water and died. The inquest into her death opened on Monday and heard from experts, police officers and a Home Office pathologist who revealed how the mum died.

As reported by the Mirror, the court heard a complete timeline of the final hours before she vanished. One section of evidence focused on the last text that she received, and sent, from and to her friend Lucy.

The waitress had been texting Nicola to arrange a playdate between their two daughters. The night before she went missing, Nicola had texted Lucy but Lucy only saw the text on the Friday morning, the court heard.

Lucy replied at 8.13am. She told the court: "I said my daughter would love to come and play." At 8.59am Nicola replied confirming a time and included a smiley face emoji. Lucy and Nicola were also due to meet up the following day. She said: “We were going to be meeting up, a group of mums, on the Saturday night for a few drinks.”

An inquest into Nicola's death is underway (PA)

Alison Armour, a Home Office pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on Ms Bulley, said the evidence of water in her lungs and stomach led her to conclude the cause of death was drowning. The coroner asked Ms Armour to sum up her findings and conclusion.

She said: "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 Bulley had been out walking her family's dog at the time (PA)

Ms Armour said the presence of water in the lungs showed swallowing the liquid was an "active process". This therefore suggests Ms Bulley was alive at the time she went into the river.

She added that there were no brain bleeds or natural diseases and only normal therapeutic levels of medication in Ms Bulley's body. The inquest heard that a low level of alcohol was consistent with the natural process of decomposition.

A world expert in drowning, Professor Michael Tipton, said he agreed with the pathologist's findings. A police underwater search specialist said he believes Ms Bulley fell into the River Wyre before floating downstream.

A video of PC Matthew Thackray in St Michael's on Wyre in Lancashire, where Ms Bulley is believed to have fallen in, was shown to the court yesterday. In it he said: "There is a large vertical slope from the bench and into the water. On the day there was a steady flow downstream."

He went on: "The river was 4C, so almost freezing, and if she fell in the muscles would probably seize making it difficult to swim properly." He estimated she would have floated at a "metre a second" downstream.

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