Nicola Bulley: Experts stop search saying she's 'categorically not' in river 'where she fell in'

An underwater search expert and his team looking for missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley are now pulling out of the hunt to find her saying she is "categorically not" in the area of the river where police believe she fell in.

Peter Faulding was called in by her family to assist the police with the search.

But despite his best efforts, he and his team have been unable to find the missing 45-year-old.

Mr Faulding said: "We've done very thorough searches all the way down to the weir. Police divers have dived it three times, extremely thoroughly.

"That area is completely negative - there is no sign of Nicola in that area. The main focus will be the police investigation down the river, which leads out to the estuary.

"If Nicola was in that river I would have found her - I guarantee you that - and she's not in that section of the river."

The underwater experts searching for Nicola Bulley Credit: PA

He said he is pulling his team out of the search, adding: "I'm totally baffled by this one, to be honest."

Mr Faulding told the media he "feels they’ve done all they can".He said he couldn't understand why Nicola wasn’t found on the first day she went missing.

He said he remains "baffled" and added: "Wherever she is I hope closure comes soon".

The 45-year-old was last seen on a towpath by the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire Credit: Family photo

The partner of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley today visited the spot where police believe she fell into the River Wyre.

Paul Ansell went to the riverbank near the bench where Ms Bulley's phone was found, still connected to a work Teams call.

She vanished after dropping her daughters off at school and going on her usual dog walk on 27 January.

Mr Ansell spoke with Mr Faulding, who appeared to be taking him through aspects of his search, now on its third day.

Police divers have also been conducting searches on sections of the river close to the bench.

Mr Ansell was accompanied by a police officer and Emma White, a family friend of Ms Bulley, 45.

He later spent an hour inside Lancashire Police's Incident Support Unit at the riverside.

Nicola's family have said they feel like they're "stuck in a nightmare" and "going round in circles".

"We just want her home - her children need her home," said her sister, Louise.

"Somebody must know something, people don't just vanish. If there's anything you might have seen, please get in touch with the police."

Paul Ansell with Peter Faulding at the riverside Credit: PA

The search of the river has now extended to the mouth of the river Wyre, as far as Knott End and Morecambe Bay.

Yesterday, Lancashire Police said that officers have identified 700 vehicles that drove through the village the morning she disappeared and they are in the process of speaking to all of those drivers - to see what they saw that may be of value.

Police have asked for people "not to take the law into their own hands" by breaking into empty properties.

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