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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Alahna Kindred

Nicola Bulley's tearful partner doesn't believe she fell in river, claims dive team boss

Nicola Bulley's partner doesn't believe she fell into the river, a diving expert who helped conducted his own independent searches has said.

This week Paul Ansell was seen with Peter Faulding as his team wrapped up their independent search of the River Wyre where Nicola vanished.

The mortgage adviser, 45, was last seen walking her dog Willow after dropping her daughters off at school in the small village of St Michaels on Wyre, Lancashire on January 27.

Two weeks on, Nicola has not been found.

Mr Faulding said he spent time with Paul at the river and shared that he doesn't believe Nicola went into the river.

Nicola Bulley's family are desperate for answers (strava)
Paul with Mr Faulding at the River Wyre (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

He told the Sun: "He was shocked at how shallow the rocks were yesterday. He thought it was really deep there. If she had gone in she would have landed on the rocks.

"The family thanked us for being here. They said 'You've given us confidence now' and his belief is that Nicola has not gone in that river."

The underwater forensic chief also told a podcast that Paul was in tears when he took him to the spot where it is believed Nicola entered the water.

This is the spot where Nicola's phone was found (PA)

Mr Faulding told the True Crime Newsquest: "Paul wanted to have a look at the potential entry point where the phone was found and I took him along and he was quite emotional to be honest with you. He's in tears."

This afternoon, police were seen trawling underneath a bridge more than seven miles from where the mortgage adviser was last seen.

Images show police in a boat underneath the Shard Bridge - about seven and a half miles up away from where Nicola was last seen.

The bridge is about halfway to the estuary from the village. Images show specialists in a small boat travelling around and under the bridge.

Police have searched the area near the Shard Bridge (PA)

It comes as the search has already expanded to the Irish Sea.

Lancashire Police launched a massive search and were seen combing the river bank, utilising diving teams, search dogs, drones and boats to no avail.

Police have said their "main working hypothesis" was that she fell in a river but a body has not yet been found. However, they insist they are keeping an open mind.

A lifeboat sweeps the River Wyre multiple times where it meets the estuary of Morecambe Bay (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Yesterday, a concerned resident had come forward saying they spotted a suspicious-looking vehicle, believed to be a Renault, outside a barn in St on the day Nicola went missing.

A second witness has also come forward with a similar description of a "shabby" red van.

It comes as detectives are looking into a mystery two-hour gap between the mum's disappearance and the first call to the police to report her missing.

Two boats with specialist police teams have been searching in the sea at Morecambe Bay (Sky News)

Nicola was last seen at around 9.10a, and police were called until about 11am.

Lancashire Police have said they are working on the hypothesis that Nicola fell into the river, but no trace of the mum has been found after specialists have searched a mile-long stretch of the River Wyre.

Specialist Group International chief Peter Faulding said he is "100 per cent" sure Nicola is not in the stretch of river initially suspected, and his job is done.

A police Search and Rescue team in Knott End-on-Sea, Lancashire (PA)

Police have been forced to warn members of the public from taking law into their own hands when getting involved in the search, with a group last night understood to have been given a dispersal order.

Yesterday, the search moved to Morecambe Bay as two boats with specialist teams were seen in the sea.

There are at least three CCTV blind spots in the area where Nicola was last seen, raising the possibility that she could have left the area.

One spot is a path that is not covered by security cameras. It leads to Garstang Road which runs through the village.

It comes police are trying to get dashcam footage from about 700 vehicles that they have identified as passing along the main road through the village at the time Nicola vanished.

Another possible blindspot is a riverside path leading from the Wyreside Farm Caravan Park through to the A586.

A camera at a house is understood to have not been working at the time, but it still doesn't cover the exit.

Friends of Nicola have also claimed the CCTV covering one of the two exits from the river near the mobile home site Rowanwater, is not working.

Anyone with information which could assist our investigation should call Lancashire Police on 101 quoting log 0565 of January 30th. For immediate sightings please call 999.

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