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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Pa Reporters

Nicola Bulley’s partner says family will ‘never give up’ hope of finding her - OLD

PA Wire

The partner of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley has said the family is going through “unprecedented hell” but will never give up hope of finding her.

In a television special due to be aired on Friday evening, Paul Ansell said despite the awful situation his hope and postivity are “stronger than ever” and he is “never, ever going to let go”.

“Nikki would never give up on us ever,” he said. “She wouldn’t give up on anybody. And we’re not gonna ever give up on her like, we’re going to find her.”

Paul Ansell has spoken to 5 News presenter Dan Walker, for a 75 minute special (PA)

“There has to be a way to find out what happened, there has to be,” he told presenter Dan Walker on ‘Vanished: What Happened To Nicola Bulley’.

“You cannot, you cannot walk your dog down a river and just vanish into thin air. Something happened that day, something...”

Ms Bulley vanished while walking her springer spaniel dog Willow, alongside the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre on January 27.

She had dropped off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school and was on her usual walk when she disappeared, her phone was found on a bench overlooking the river.

Despite a huge search of the river and surrounding countryside by Lancashire Police, no trace of her has been found.

Mr Ansell has spoken of the ‘perpetual hell’ of not knowing what has happened to his partner Nicola Bulley (PA Wire)

Mr Ansell told the programme: “Extensive searching, you know, as you’re probably aware, has gone on in that river.

“The fact that the divers and underwater rescue team and all that were in that river on the day, and thankfully found absolutely nothing, in the part where you would have to presume is her last known location.

“Personally, I am 100% convinced it’s not the river, that’s my opinion.”

Candles are lit around a photo of Ms Bulley and Mr Ansell on an altar at St Michael’s Church in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire (PA Wire)

Focus of the police search on Thursday switched from St Michael’s to around 10 miles downstream where the river empties into the sea at Morecambe Bay, with police patrol boats and rescue boats spotted on the river and in the bay.

Talking about his children, Mr Ansell went on: “The only thing, the only thing that I can do is tell them that everybody is looking for mummy.

“The best people in the world are looking for mummy – just to give them that, you know, that level of hope that they can understand that everything that can be done to find mummy, is being done.”

Asked how he feels about the situation, Mr Ansell added: “Anger, loads of frustration, confusion, disbelief, surrealism, nothing feels real.

“I feel like I’m in the Truman show. I honestly believe I’m going to wake up at any moment… how are we even in this? We are good people.”

Friends of Ms Bulley gathered again for a roadside appeal on Friday (PA Wire)

The force has discounted foul play and is treating the incident as a missing person enquiry, believing Ms Bulley has fallen into the water.

But police say they are still keeping an “open mind” and appealing for information.

A specialist team led by forensics expert Peter Faulding was brought in by the family to aid the search, but pulled out on Wednesday after failing to find Ms Bulley.

Mr Ansell visited the search area earlier this week and was given an update on their efforts.

A map showing the area searched to date (Datawrapper/The Independent)

“Paul’s extremely obviously upset, he wanted to go and see where the original entry point was again, and the water’s a bit lower than it was originally when Nicola went missing,” Mr Faulding said earlier this week.

“Normally we find them, this is an unusual situation. And hopefully Nicola will appear somewhere or pop up somewhere, I don’t know. But with that, I’m, I’m totally baffled by this one, to be honest.”

Vanished: Where is Nicola Bulley?’, by ITN Productions, will air on Channel 5 at 9pm on Friday.

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