Nicola Bulley found: Police confirm body is missing mother as family issue statement

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Nicola Bulley found: Police confirm body is missing mother as family issue statement

The body found in the river Wyre is mother-of-two Nicola Bulley, police have confirmed.Her body was found on Sunday morning in the River Wyre in Lanca

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The body found in the river Wyre is mother-of-two Nicola Bulley, police have confirmed.

Her body was found on Sunday morning in the River Wyre in Lancashire, around a mile from where the 45-year-old mortgage adviser was last seen.

Speaking at a press briefing at police headquarters on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson confirmed the body had been identified as Ms Bulley.

In a statement, Ms Bulley’s family said she was ‘the centre of our world’ adding they would ‘never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments and that will never leave us’.

The family said: ‘We will never forget Nikki, how could we, she was the centre of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that.

The body found in the river Wyre is mother-of-two Nicola Bulley  (pictured with her partner Paul Ansell)

The body found in the river Wyre is mother-of-two Nicola Bulley  (pictured with her partner Paul Ansell)

The body found in the river Wyre is mother-of-two Nicola Bulley  (pictured with her partner Paul Ansell)

Speaking at a press briefing (pictured) at police headquarters on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson confirmed the body had been identified as Ms Bulley

Speaking at a press briefing (pictured) at police headquarters on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson confirmed the body had been identified as Ms Bulley

Speaking at a press briefing (pictured) at police headquarters on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson confirmed the body had been identified as Ms Bulley

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson of Lancashire Police after speaking at a press conference outside Lancashire Police Headquarters in Hutton near Preston

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson of Lancashire Police after speaking at a press conference outside Lancashire Police Headquarters in Hutton near Preston

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson of Lancashire Police after speaking at a press conference outside Lancashire Police Headquarters in Hutton near Preston

Detective chief superintendent Pauline Stables (left) and Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson (right) hold a police news conference in Preston on February 20

Detective chief superintendent Pauline Stables (left) and Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson (right) hold a police news conference in Preston on February 20

Detective chief superintendent Pauline Stables (left) and Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson (right) hold a police news conference in Preston on February 20

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson said: 'Nicola's family have been informed and are of course devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community'

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson said: 'Nicola's family have been informed and are of course devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community'

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson said: ‘Nicola’s family have been informed and are of course devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community’

In a message to Sky News on Sunday, before the body was identified, Ms Bulley's partner Paul Ansell said: 'No words right now, just agony'

In a message to Sky News on Sunday, before the body was identified, Ms Bulley's partner Paul Ansell said: 'No words right now, just agony'

In a message to Sky News on Sunday, before the body was identified, Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell said: ‘No words right now, just agony’ 

The moment a dog walker points out to a spot in the River Wyre, Lancashire, as police arrive on the scene

The moment a dog walker points out to a spot in the River Wyre, Lancashire, as police arrive on the scene

The moment a dog walker points out to a spot in the River Wyre, Lancashire, as police arrive on the scene

Yellow ribbons and daffodils adorn the bench where the phone of missing Nicola Bulley was found, on the banks of the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre

Yellow ribbons and daffodils adorn the bench where the phone of missing Nicola Bulley was found, on the banks of the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre

Yellow ribbons and daffodils adorn the bench where the phone of missing Nicola Bulley was found, on the banks of the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre

A body was found less than a mile from where Nikki was last seen more than three weeks ago

A body was found less than a mile from where Nikki was last seen more than three weeks ago

A body was found less than a mile from where Nikki was last seen more than three weeks ago

‘Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most.’

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson said: ‘Sadly, we are now able to confirm that yesterday we recovered Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre.

‘Nicola’s family have been informed and are of course devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community.

‘We recognise the huge impact that Nicola’s disappearance has had on her family and friends, but also on the people of St Michael’s.

Nicola Bulley, 45, and her partner Paul Ansell. The mother-of-two's body was found on Sunday

Nicola Bulley, 45, and her partner Paul Ansell. The mother-of-two's body was found on Sunday

Nicola Bulley, 45, and her partner Paul Ansell. The mother-of-two’s body was found on Sunday

Nicola Bulley close to where she was last seen with her springer spaniel dog Willow

Nicola Bulley close to where she was last seen with her springer spaniel dog Willow

Nicola Bulley close to where she was last seen with her springer spaniel dog Willow

The 45-year-old mortgage adviser Nicola Bulley (pictured) vanished during a dog walk in St Michael's on Wyre

The 45-year-old mortgage adviser Nicola Bulley (pictured) vanished during a dog walk in St Michael's on Wyre

The 45-year-old mortgage adviser Nicola Bulley (pictured) vanished during a dog walk in St Michael’s on Wyre

The sun sets yesterday evening over the bench near St.Michael on Wyre, Lancashire, where Nicola Bulley's phone was found after her disappearance

The sun sets yesterday evening over the bench near St.Michael on Wyre, Lancashire, where Nicola Bulley's phone was found after her disappearance

The sun sets yesterday evening over the bench near St.Michael on Wyre, Lancashire, where Nicola Bulley’s phone was found after her disappearance

‘We would like to thank all of those who have helped during what has been a hugely complex and highly emotional investigation.

‘Today’s development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted, but we hope that it can at least start to provide some answers for Nicola’s loved ones, who remain foremost in our thoughts.’

Ms Bulley’s family were informed following the discovery of the body and while Lancashire Police began identification procedures. 

In a message to Sky News on Sunday, before the body was identified, Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell said: ‘No words right now, just agony.

‘We’re all together, we have to be strong.’

The location on the River Wyre where a body was discovered during a search for Nicola Bulley

The location on the River Wyre where a body was discovered during a search for Nicola Bulley

The location on the River Wyre where a body was discovered during a search for Nicola Bulley

At least three police cars and a van rushed to the scene after the mother-of-two's body was found, with other cars soon following

At least three police cars and a van rushed to the scene after the mother-of-two's body was found, with other cars soon following

At least three police cars and a van rushed to the scene after the mother-of-two’s body was found, with other cars soon following

The stretch of the River Wyre where the body of Nicola Bulley was found yesterday

The stretch of the River Wyre where the body of Nicola Bulley was found yesterday

The stretch of the River Wyre where the body of Nicola Bulley was found yesterday

Police officers walk across the Bridge at St.Michael on Wyre, Lancs, after a body was yesterday recovered from the river

Police officers walk across the Bridge at St.Michael on Wyre, Lancs, after a body was yesterday recovered from the river

Police officers walk across the Bridge at St.Michael on Wyre, Lancs, after a body was yesterday recovered from the river

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson (left) and Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police update the media on February 15 as police continued their search for Nicola Bulley, 45

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson (left) and Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police update the media on February 15 as police continued their search for Nicola Bulley, 45

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson (left) and Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police update the media on February 15 as police continued their search for Nicola Bulley, 45

It is understood that a man and a woman discovered the body and called police.

Lancashire Constabulary said officers were called to the River Wyre close to Rawcliffe Road at around 11.35am.

‘An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water and have sadly recovered a body,’ a statement said.

The body was found on a stretch of the river just past a slight bend, a mile or so outside the village, close to where a tree had fallen on its side half in and half outside the water, with branches and undergrowth partially submerged.

Police had earlier erected a tent and cordoned off the lane while police divers were called in, but the road was reopened around three hours later once the body was recovered.

On Monday morning, police officers and community support officers were in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre.

The investigation into Ms Bulley’s disappearance has attracted widespread speculation as well as criticism of the police response.

The force came under fire after making Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and perimenopause public three weeks after she vanished.

In a press conference on Wednesday, they revealed the mother-of-two was classed as a ‘high-risk’ missing person immediately after Mr Ansell reported her disappearance, ‘based on a number of specific vulnerabilities’.

They later added in a statement that Ms Bulley, from Inskip in Lancashire, had stopped taking her HRT medication.

A public backlash and interventions from the Government and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper followed, with Lancashire Constabulary confirming a date had been set for an internal review into the investigation.

Absent from the press conference this afternoon was the detective leading the search for Nicola Bulley.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith had criticised social media for ‘distracting the investigation’ as the force came under fire after it took them 24 days to find remains in the reeds of the Wyre less than a mile from where mortgage advisor Ms Bulley was last seen.

She did not appear at tonight’s press conference, during which officers confirmed the body was Ms Bulley.

It comes after Lancashire Police sparked fury today after it replied to a tweet showing the senior officer depicted as a Lego figure with a heart emoji during the search for Ms Bulley.

Force staff admired the toy lookalike of Det Supt Smith, saying ‘we will make sure she sees this’ alongside a heart emoji.

Sharing a picture of the figurine on Twitter on February 16, as the hunt for the missing mother continued, its creator wrote: ‘I don’t know Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police but I do know she’s doing everything in her power to find Nicola Bulley. DSU Smith makes a pretty formidable Lego Minifigure too, if I do say so myself! Please give it a retweet so she sees it.’ 

Lancashire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson listens next to Detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables at a press conference after Nicola Bulley's body was found in the River Wyre

Lancashire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson listens next to Detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables at a press conference after Nicola Bulley's body was found in the River Wyre

Lancashire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson listens next to Detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables at a press conference after Nicola Bulley’s body was found in the River Wyre

During a press conference on February 15, Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith mentioned for the first time Ms Bulley had 'specific vulnerabilities'

During a press conference on February 15, Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith mentioned for the first time Ms Bulley had 'specific vulnerabilities'

During a press conference on February 15, Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith mentioned for the first time Ms Bulley had ‘specific vulnerabilities’

The exchange on Twitter prompted criticism from force followers during the missing probe

The exchange on Twitter prompted criticism from force followers during the missing probe

The exchange on Twitter prompted criticism from force followers during the missing probe

Lancashire Police have been criticised over the handling of Ms Bulley's missing person case

Lancashire Police have been criticised over the handling of Ms Bulley's missing person case

Lancashire Police have been criticised over the handling of Ms Bulley’s missing person case

However the brief exchange sparked outrage from people following the force.

In a reply sure to raise further questions over police judgement, staff responded with a blue heart emoji and said: ‘We’ll make sure she sees this.’ 

There was no response to MailOnline this afternoon on if and when Det Supt Smith was shown the Lego figure.

One asked: ‘Why don’t you focus on conducting yourselves with dignity and integrity instead of engaging with tweets and liking pro Lancashire police tweets? You’re turning this case into a farce, now you’re engaging with irrelevant tit for tat online, publicly, it’s disgusting.’

Another said: ‘Utterly inappropriate response. Just mind numbingly irrelevant.’

The figure was was made by popular Twitter account Brick Cop, who is an anonymous real-life officer who makes the toys in their spare time.

Lancashire Police has come under criticism for the way it has handled the disappearance of Ms Bulley on January 27.

This is a breaking news story. More to follow. 

Timeline: Disappearance of Nicola Bulley 

January 27 

At 8.26am Ms Bulley left her home with her two daughters, aged six and nine, dropping them off at school. 

She then took her spaniel, Willow, for a walk along the path by the River Wyre at 8.43am, heading towards a gate and bench in the lower field. 

She was seen by a dog walker who knew her at around 8.50am, and their pets interacted briefly before they parted ways, according to the force. 

At 8.53am, Ms Bulley sent an email to her boss, followed by a message to her friends six minutes later, before logging on to a Microsoft Teams call at 9.01am. 

She was seen by a second witness at 9.10am, the last known sighting. 

Her phone was back in the area of the bench at 9.20am before the Teams call ended 10 minutes later, with her mobile remaining logged on after the call. 

At 10.50am, Ms Bulley’s family and the school attended by her children were told about her disappearance. 

Lancashire Constabulary launched an investigation into Ms Bulley’s whereabouts on the same day and appealed for witnesses to contact them. 

January 28 

Lancashire Constabulary deployed drones, helicopters and police search dogs as part of the major missing person operation. 

They were assisted by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, as well as Bowland Pennine mountain rescue team and the North West underwater search team. 

January 29 

Local residents held a meeting at the village hall to organise a search for Ms Bulley at 10.30am on Sunday, according to reports from The Mirror, and around 100 people joined in. 

Police urged volunteers to exercise caution, describing the river and its banks as ‘extremely dangerous’ and saying that activity in these areas presented ‘a genuine risk to the public’ 

January 30 

Superintendent Sally Riley from Lancashire Constabulary said police were ‘keeping a really open mind about what could have happened’, and that they were not treating Ms Bulley’s disappearance as suspicious. 

January 31 Lancashire Constabulary spoke with a potential witness, a man who had been walking a small white fluffy dog near the River Wyre at the time of Ms Bulley’s disappearance. 

Her family released a statement saying they had been ‘overwhelmed by the support’ in their community, and that her daughters were ‘desperate to have their mummy back home safe’.

February 2 

Lancashire Constabulary spoke with a second witness who they had identified with the help of the public using CCTV but they told police they did not have any further information to aid their inquiry. 

Officers from the North West Police Underwater and Marine support unit searched the area close to where Ms Bulley’s mobile phone was found, while police divers scoured the River Wyre. Meanwhile, Ms Bulley’s family appealed to the public for help tracing her. 

February 3 

Lancashire Police said it was working on the hypothesis that Ms Bulley may have fallen into the River Wyre. 

Ms Riley urged against speculation, but said it was ‘possible’ that an ‘issue’ with Ms Bulley’s dog may have led her to the water’s edge. 

February 4 

Lancashire Police announced it wanted to trace a ‘key witness’ who was seen pushing a pram in the area near where Ms Bulley went missing on the morning of her disappearance. 

February 5 

The woman described as a ‘key witness’ by police came forward. The force insisted she was ‘very much being treated as a witness’ as it warned against ‘totally unacceptable’ speculation and abuse on social media. 

Peter Faulding, leader of underwater search experts Specialist Group International (SGI), began searching the river after being called in by Ms Bulley’s family. 

February 6 

Ms Bulley’s friends said they hoped the help of a specialist underwater rescue team would give the family answers. 

Meanwhile, Ms Bulley’s partner Mr Ansell, in a statement released through Lancashire Police, said: ‘It’s been 10 days now since Nicola went missing and I have two little girls who miss their mummy desperately and who need her back. 

‘This has been such a tough time for the girls especially but also for me and all of Nicola’s family and friends, as well as the wider community and I want to thank them for their love and support.’ 

February 10 

Police urged people to refrain from indulging in commentary and conspiracy theories about Ms Bulley’s disappearance as speculation increases online. 

February 15 

Police held a press conference over the case and say the mother-of-two was classed as a ‘high-risk’ missing person immediately after she was reported missing due to ‘vulnerabilities.’ 

They later disclosed Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and perimenopause. 

February 16 

In a statement released through Lancashire Police, Ms Bulley’s family said the focus had become ‘distracted from finding Nikki, and more about speculation and rumours into her private life’ and called for it to end. 

Lancashire Police referred itself to the police watchdog over contact the force had with Ms Bulley prior to her disappearance. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman demanded an ‘explanation’ for the disclosure of Ms Bulley’s private information by the force. 

February 17 

Lancashire Police announced it was conducting an internal review into the handling of Ms Bulley’s disappearance and the Information Commissioner said he would ask the force questions about the disclosure. 

February 18 

Ms Braverman met with police leaders to discuss the handling of the investigation after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also expressed ‘concerns’ about the revelation. 

February 19 

Appearing on the morning broadcast round, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt described the police disclosure as ‘shocking’ while shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, who also wrote to the force over its handling of the case, repeated her concerns about the ‘unusual’ level of private information made public about Ms Bulley. 

A new search effort was launched less than a mile from where Ms Bulley vanished. 

Later on Sunday, Lancashire Police announced they had found a body in the River Wyre. 

February 20

Speaking at a press briefing at police headquarters on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson confirmed the body had been identified as Ms Bulley. 

 

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