Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Martha McHardy

‘Sick’ scammers use pictures of Nicola Bulley on fake dating profiles

PA Media

Scammers are believed to have used images of mother-of-two Nicola Bulley to create fake dating profiles online.

Ms Bulley, 45, vanished after dropping off her daughters at school and taking her usual dog walk along the River Wyre in St Michael’s, Lancashire, on 27 January.

An inquest last month ruled she drowned accidentally after falling into cold water and suffering from “cold water shock”.

A family friend has now hit out at “sick” scammers after it emerged photographs of the mother-of-two were being used in what is feared to be a so-called catfish scam - where people use images of others to lure in people online.

According to The Mirror, Ms Bulley’s photo was found on two profiles on dating website, on the accounts of women claiming to be called Faustina and Elorm.

The newspaper said the accounts are now no longer on the site after they were highlighted to the site’s owners Venntro Media Group.

The Independent has approached Venntro Media Group for comment.

The Mirror quoted one family friend as describing the alleged scam as “sick”, adding: “The family have been made aware of this.

“They’ve already been through the most horrendous ordeal.”

Nicola Bulley’s body was not found for 23 days
— (Lancashire Constabulary)

The 45-year-old’s body was not found for 23 days after she vanished, and her disappearance sparked huge speculation on social media.

Amateur sleuths travelled to the area of the River Wyre where Ms Bulley disappeared, conducting their own searches of the river and descending on the local village.

Lancashire Police urged members of the public not to interfere with the case and senior investigators said social media sleuths had “distracted” the search.

Ms Bulley’s body was discovered on 19 February, just a mile downstream from the bench where her dog Willow and her mobile phone had been found.

The bench where Nicola Bulley’s phone was found, on the banks of the River Wyre, in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire
— (PA Wire)

An inquest heard Ms Bulley would have suffered cold water shock after falling into the river, which would have produced a “powerful response”, causing her to inhale a fatal amount of water and lose consciousness within a maximum of 45 seconds

Speaking after the inquest, her family addressed the role social media had played in the investigation and said it was “upsetting” that they continue to receive online abuse.

Lancashire Constabulary also added in their own statement: “I hope that HM Coroner’s clear and definitive findings will put an end to ill-informed speculation and conspiracy theories which have been so damaging to Nikki’s family, the community of St Michael’s.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.