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I’m a dive expert – here’s how my search for Nicola Bulley would have been different if police had been transparent

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A SPECIALIST involved in the search for missing Nicola Bulley claims his approach would have been different if police had told him she was classed as “high risk”.
Peter Faulding scoured the river close to where the mum vanished in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, for several days but found no sign of her.
Nicola Bulley vanished on January 27 after dropping her daughters at school5Nicola Bulley vanished on January 27 after dropping her daughters at schoolCredit: PASearch expert Peter Faulding was involved in the hunt for the missing mum5Search expert Peter Faulding was involved in the hunt for the missing mumCredit: PAUnderwater search and rescue teams scoured the River Wyre5Underwater search and rescue teams scoured the River WyreCredit: DAVE NELSONThe dive expert concluded the 45-year-old was not in the water and called off the hunt.
But after cops yesterday revealed Nicola was deemed “high risk” due to “significant issues with alcohol prompted by the menopause”, he believes there is a greater chance she was swept out to sea.
She may have also left the area voluntarily, he added after the revelation that officers visited Nicola’s family home for a welfare check on January 10.
Faulding, a registered National Crime Agency specialist, thinks these “crucial” details would have aided his investigation.
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He said: “My usually trusted team and I were not passed this crucial information during out search, which would have changed the search strategy.”
Instead of focusing solely on the River Wyre, he would have widened his land search and kept an eye out for specific items.
The author, who has worked on many high-profile missing person cases and murder probes including Peter Tobin, April Jones and Gareth Williams, told TalkTV: “If I had known this information on day one, I would have changed my whole search strategy.
“I assumed Nicola had slipped into the river. It’s only 2ft deep at the bottom of the bank which is why I was so adamant that she’s not in that part of the river that we thoroughly searched.

“But if she’d jumped in and intended to take her own life, or walked off, that would change my whole plan.
“She could have ended up in the sea. It’s really annoyed me.
“This is an awful case and I just wish it had been handled a lot better in the first place by giving certain information that would have helped us target that search in specific areas.”
It comes as…
Asked exactly what he would have done differently, Faulding explained he would have extended his water search further upstream from where Nicola’s phone was discovered on a bench as she may have been disorientated and wandered off.
He would also have combed nearby land for bottles of alcohol and focused on a CCTV blind spot near the bridge where her dog Willow was discovered.
He told The Mirror: “Just because you’ve got a phone somewhere, that doesn’t mean you’ve got an entry point.
“I’d be looking for things like whisky bottles, because a lot of suicides – if it’s a suicide – we find bottles of pills, we find whisky bottle, half a bottle of whisky.
“If that’s the case, they might try jump in and swim and go ‘oh no, I don’t want to do this’ so they start paddling and go downstream.
“If they drown, just fall in and drown, they tend to go straight down, they don’t drift unless it’s flood water and it wasn’t flood water on the day.
“She also could have wandered off and no one would have seen her.”
Faulding now fears police may be withholding other information.
“Do they know something else that they are not telling us?” he asked.
Nicola vanished on the morning of January 27, shortly after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at school.
She was last seen at 9.10am taking her usual route with her springer spaniel Willow, alongside the River Wyre.
Her phone, still connected to a work call for her job as a mortgage adviser, was found just over 20 minutes later on a bench overlooking the riverbank, with her dog running loose.
Since she vanished, huge public and media interest has resulted in what police described as “false information, accusations and rumours” and an “unprecedented” search of both the River Wyre, downstream to Morecambe Bay, and miles of neighbouring farmland.
Detectives searching for the mum-of-two yesterday disclosed she had suffered “some significant issues with alcohol” in the past, which had resurfaced over recent months.
This was put down to “struggles” with the menopause.
Officers had also been called to the family home after reports of concern for welfare on January 10.
Senior officers said on Wednesday that Nicola was “vulnerable” and classed by police as a “high-risk” missing person immediately after her partner Paul Ansell reported her disappearance.
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He and her relatives had faced “some real challenges” due to the problems, cops added.
Lancashire Police said in a statement: “It is an unusual step for us to take to go into this level of detail about someone’s private life, but we felt it was important to clarify what we meant when we talked about vulnerabilities to avoid any further speculation or misinterpretation.”
Faulding speaking with Jeremy Kyle on TalkTV5Faulding speaking with Jeremy Kyle on TalkTVCredit: TalkTVNicola's partner Paul Ansell with Faulding near the river where she disappeared5Nicola’s partner Paul Ansell with Faulding near the river where she disappearedCredit: Mirrorpix
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk

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