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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Chiara Fiorillo

Nicola Bulley search expert speaks out before inquest into mum's disappearance

An expert who helped search the River Wyre after the disappearance of Nicola Bulley has spoken before the inquest is due to open.

Peter Faulding, CEO of Specialist Group International (SGI), and his team searched a stretch of the river where police believed the 45-year-old mum had fallen into the water, close to a bench where her phone and dog where found.

The search concluded with the team saying they were unable to find any trace of Ms Bulley, saying: "That area is completely negative - there is no sign of Nicola in that area."

He later faced criticism when the police recovered Ms Bulley's body - and was accused of spreading misinformation.

Nicola Bulley disappeared on January 27 (PA)

An inquest is due to open on Monday and today Mr Faulding spoke out for the first time since the woman's body was found in the River Wyre in February.

He issued a statement to "clarify questions from the press and public" and said he has had no contact with Lancashire Police or the coroner.

He said: "Our thoughts are with Nicola's family and close friends, and we hope that the upcoming inquest into the death of Nicola Bulley provides the answers they are seeking and deserve.

"SGI were called to assist in the search for Nicola Bulley by Lancashire Constabulary following a request for SGI by the family.

The location on the River Wyre near St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, where police recovered Nicola's body (PA)

"SGI; headed up by Peter Faulding, are proven specialists with decades of relevant experience in underwater search.

"SGI operates an array of technologically advanced and cutting-edge equipment; our work is always carried out to the highest professional standards with honour and integrity and always in the best interest of the families involved putting their concerns first.

"Over the years, Peter and the team at SGI have located many missing persons and vital evidence bringing closure, relief and dignity to the deceased, their families, and friends whilst providing evidence for official investigations at the same time.

"Since leaving the scene at St Michael's on Wyre on 9th February 2023, SGI or Peter Faulding have had no contact with Lancashire Constabulary.

Police search teams on the banks of the River Wyre during the search for Nicola (PA)

"Regarding this case, SGI or Peter Faulding have not been requested to provide copies of the relevant side scan sonar search data, search reports, photographs or notes made at the scene and from the time spent with members of the family, friends, and police officers from Lancashire Constabulary.

"Furthermore, SGI or Peter Faulding have had no contact with HM Coroner. SGI or Peter Faulding have not been requested to attend the inquiry or submit any evidence or statements for the inquest into the death of Nicola Bulley.

"Importantly, our thoughts remain with Nicolas’s family and friends. We do not wish to intrude on their grief at this difficult time.

"Our hope is that their privacy is respected, and their wishes are put first as they go through the difficult period of the coroner's inquest.

Nicola's body was found on February 19 (PA)

"SGI and Peter Faulding will make no further comments."

Ms Bulley was last seen on January 27 walking her dog Willow near the river in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire.

Her disappearance sparked a massive search that saw police, firefighters, mountain rescue, underwater teams, and the local community comb through a massive area from the river to the coastline.

Tragically her body was found on February 19, just over a mile from where she went missing.

An inquest into her death is to be heard on June 26 at County Hall in Preston.

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