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Nicola Bulley: Huge search for woman, 45, who went missing while walking dog

Nicola Bulley: Huge search for woman, 45, who went missing while walking dog

A woman who vanished while walking her dog has “two little girls that need their mummy home”, her boyfriend said as a major search continues.

Nicola Bulley, 45, went missing on Friday morning – with her mobile phone found on a bench near to where she was last seen on a towpath by the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire.

In an update on Monday, police said they are keeping an “open mind” about what happened but do not believe Ms Bulley was attacked.

The dog, springer spaniel Willow, was found loose between the river and bench.

Specialist search teams scouring the river (PA)
Specialist search teams scouring the river (PA)

Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell, speaking from the family home in Inskip, Lancashire, said he spent all of Sunday searching for the mother-of-two.

The engineer, who has been in a relationship with Ms Bulley for 12 years, said: “It is just perpetual hell. It is just utter disbelief.

“We are living through this but it doesn’t feel real.

“All we can say is we need to find her. She’s got two little girls that need their mummy home.

“We have got to get some good news now.”

Mr Ansell said he or Ms Bulley, also known as Nikki, would drop the children, aged nine and six, off at a local primary school before taking Willow for a walk along the river nearby.

Police say they are “keeping an open mind” about what might have happened to her and are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.

Ms Bulley speaks with an Essex accent and is described as white, 5ft 3ins tall, with light brown shoulder-length hair.

She was last seen wearing a long black gilet jacket with a hood, black jeans and olive green ankle-length wellies. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail.

Lancashire Police said: “Nicola was last seen on Friday morning (January 27) at around 9.15am.

A missing person notice attached to a gate in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, where the major search is underway (PA)
A missing person notice attached to a gate in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, where the major search is underway (PA)

“An investigation has been launched into her whereabouts and a significant, resource-intensive search in the area has been ongoing ever since, with drones, search dogs and other resources being utilised.

“Our thanks to those continuing to support the police with the search, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service utilising their staff and drone capability, Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team and the North West Underwater Search Team.

“We are also supporting Nicola’s family and remain in close contact with them.

 (PA)
(PA)

“We are keeping an open mind about where Nicola may be and a team of detectives are also investigating the circumstances around her disappearance and are following a number of lines of enquiry.

“Immediately prior to going missing Nicola was walking her dog, described as a brown-coloured spaniel. Although the dog has since been found close to where Nicola was last seen, we hope this might help jog the memory of anybody who saw her at around the same time and who may have information relating to her whereabouts.”

Ms Bulley is known to have links to the conurbation of Thornton-Cleveleys near Blackpool, as well as to the villages of Inskip and St Michael’s.

Members of the local community have banded together to coordinate a large search for the missing woman, prompting police to warn them to “stay safe”.

“The river and its banks are extremely dangerous and searching these areas presents a genuine risk to the public,” they said.

Anybody who has seen Nicola, or has information about where she might be, is asked to call 101, quoting log 473 of January 27th. For immediate sightings please call 999.