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Daily Record
Daily Record
Antony Thrower & Steven Rae

Nicola Bulley's partner sobs as he reveals four-word text he sent her on day she disappeared

The father of Nicola Bulley's two children sobbed during an inquest into her death, where he revealed the last text he sent her before realising she was missing.

Paul Ansell sent his partner a message asking "are you lost?" on the day she disappeared. Nicola was last seen on January 27, sparking a huge search, before her body was tragically found weeks later in the water of the River Wyre.

Medical experts, police officers and a Home Office pathologist have revealed how Nicola died, giving evidence at the inquest which began on Monday, at County Hall, Preston.

The mum had a meeting at 11am on the day she disappeared. She would usually return home around 10am from her morning walk.

Mr Ansell sobbed as he told the inquest that he sent her a text message on the morning of January 27, asking: "Have you got lost?"

He told the inquest he became concerned when it got to 10.30am and he had heard nothing. He described his partner as "full of beans" in the days leading up to her death.

He said 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 mum-of-two disappeared on January 27 this year (PA)

“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.

"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.”

Mr Ansell believes Nicola was harnessing the family's pet dog Willow at the time she entered the water, explaining why her phone was not in her pocket or on her person.

An inquest is currently being held about Ms Bulley's death (PA)

He said: "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."

Mr Ansell was led away from the inquiry when he once again broke down in tears. On Monday, a timeline of Nicola's whereabouts on the day she vanished was presented to those in attendance.

A friend of Nicola's called Lucy recalled the last texts the pair exchanged. The waitress had been arranging a playdate between their daughters. She said: "I said my daughter would love to come and play."

Nicola replied at 9am confirming a time and included a smiley face emoji. The pair were also due to meet up the following day for a few drinks with other mums, she said.

Home Office pathologist Alison Armour, who carried out the post-mortem, said the of water in her lungs and stomach led her to conclude the cause of death was drowning.

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