NICOLA Bulley’s family have slammed the “terrible” police decision to release details about the mum’s private struggles.
Nicola, 45, was last seen in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, at around 9.15am on January 27.
5Police revealed Nicola Bulley’s personal strugglesLancashire Police confirmed she was treated as a high risk missing person when she disappeared.
Officers revealed Nicola had “vulnerabilities” – including “significant issues with alcohol” in the past that were brought on by her “ongoing struggles with the menopause”.
They also divulged they had been sent to Nicola’s home on January 10 following a report of a concern for welfare.
The force has now come under fire for releasing the personal information and are facing an Independent Office for Police Conduct probe.
Nicola’s cousin said: “It’s wrong what’s been put out there. All of mine and my wife’s family think it’s terrible and wrong what’s been said.
“The family are all worried to death about saying anything. Anyone who says anything is now pulled apart.”
A friend of Nicola’s accused the police of releasing the information to “shift the focus” from scrutiny they have faced over the investigation.
They told the Mirror: “I feel angry for Nikki. She’s a beautiful, kind, loving person. One of the best kind of friends you could wish for.
“This has painted her in an unfair light. I think the police have done this to shift the focus onto this rather than on them and their lack of progress.”
They added: “Whatever is written will be out there in the public domain. Her daughters will read all of this one day.”
It comes after Nicola’s family called for an end to “appalling” speculation about the mum-of-two’s private life.
They were made aware police were releasing the statement but have not confirmed if they approved it.
“We as a family believe that the public focus has become distracted from finding Nikki, and more about speculation and rumours into her and Paul’s private life,” they said.
“Due to the perimenopause, Nikki suffered with significant side-effects such as brain fog [and] restless sleep and was taking HRT [hormone replacement therapy] to help, but this was giving her intense headaches which caused Nikki to stop taking the HRT, thinking that may have helped her, but only ended up causing this crisis.
“The public focus has to be on finding her and not making up wild theories about her personal life.”
Fury is now growing at Lancashire Police with friends, MPs and experts demanding answers.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has ordered the force to explain why Nicola’s personal battles were released.
A source close to the Home Secretary said: “The Home Secretary was concerned by the disclosure of Nicola Bulley’s personal information by Lancashire Police and asked the force for an explanation, which was received this evening.”
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said “time will tell” if police were right to spill the information.
He told LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: “Any time you’re releasing personal information you need to be very, very cautious.
“Is it absolutely necessary for a policing purpose to help achieve the aim of finding a missing woman?
“They’ve made that call, they’ve referred themselves to the IOPC, time will tell whether that was the right call in that circumstance.
“I don’t know what information they have in front of them investigating the case. So, we’re all judging that from outside.
“Let’s focus on finding her and let’s see if the IOPC find that Lancashire got it right or got it wrong.”
Wyre Council leader Michael Vincent told Sky News: “I think that there are lessons to be learned, but I think they’ve done their best in difficult circumstances.”
Talking about the information revealed by police, he continued: “That was put out there with the knowledge of Nicola’s family because other people were seeking to make that information public.
“That wasn’t the police’s decision, their hand was forced, should they have done it? Again, with the benefit of hindsight, that should be looked into in future cases.
“I think they have done their best in difficult circumstances.”
While former Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Underhill described the move as victim-blaming.
He said: “I’m amazed it hasn’t been released before and, of course, on 3 February in their press conference they actually said there were ‘no significant issues involving Nicola’s health’.
“I can understand in some ways why they didn’t release it then as it would completely destroy her reputation.
“It’s a big move to take but if you aren’t going to take it at the start of the investigation, why do it now?”
5Nicola has now been missing for three weeks5Police said she had struggled with ‘significant issues with alcohol’ in the past5They also revealed officers were called to the home she shares with Paul Ansell before she vanishedCredit: Tim Stewart5Questions are growing over whether police were in the right to release the informationCredit: PA
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk