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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Antony Thrower

Nicola Bulley's partner sobs as he says he sent mum four-word text on tragic day

Nicola Bulley's partner sobbed as he told an inquest into her death he had sent her a message asking "are you lost?" on the day she disappeared.

The mum of two was last seen on January 27, sparking a huge manhunt before her body was found a few weeks later in the water of the River Wyre.

The inquest into her death opened yesterday, and heard from experts, police officers and a Home Office pathologist who revealed how the mum died.

One the day she vanished Nicola had a meeting at 11am and usually returned home around 10am from her morning walk.

Continuing today's proceedings, Paul Ansell sobbed as he told proceedings on the day she vanished he sent her a text message, simply asking: "Have you got lost?"

For the latest on the inquest into Nicola's death follow our live blog here

Paul Ansell during a visit to the River Wyre in January (PA)

He added: “When it got to 10.30am I started to feel a bit concerned.”

Paul also explained Nicola had been "full of beans" in the days leading to her death.

He added in his witness statement: "Nikki was a quiet person who enjoyed the simple side of life.

"She was a very private person and kept herself to herself."

“The blip over the Christmas period happened but in January she was back to herself, looking forward to the future and everything was on the up.

Nicola with her dog Willow (PA)

"She had a good day the day before [she went missing], came home full of beans, excited with work, with the meetings she had and plans for the year.

"She was grateful for every day, she was an amazing mum and partner and this gave her huge security. She focused on the important things and did the right thing by everyone. She was well-respected by all who knew her.

"Everybody loved her.”

He also shared his theory she had been putting a harness on their dog Willow, who she was walking at the time, before she fell into the river.

He explained: "She was still listening to that meeting, so I think she must have maybe put the phone on the bench and gone to put the harness back on Willow."

A police diver with the specialist search teams from Lancashire Police (PA)

Mr Ansell was led away when he started crying again.

Yesterday the court heard a complete timeline of the final hours before Ms Bulley vanished.

One section of evidence focused on the last text she received, and sent, from and to her friend Lucy.

The waitress had been texting Nicola to arrange a playdate between their two daughters.

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.”

Home Office pathologist Alison Armour, 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.

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