Nicola Bulley suffered with 'significant alcohol issues' in the past, police say

  • A video report by Granada Reports reporter Andrew Fletcher

Nicola Bulley had "ongoing issues with the menopause that caused alcohol issues to resurface", police say.

In the "unusual step", Lancashire Police clarified why they deemed the mother-of-two as a "high risk" after she went missing on Friday 27 January.

In a statement, following a press conference the force said: "Sadly, it is clear from speaking to Paul and the family that Nicola had in the past suffered with some significant issues with alcohol which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause and that these struggles had resurfaced over recent months."

A police press conference from Lancashire Police on 15 February debunked a lot of online conspiracy theories about the case. Credit: PA Images

They added: "This caused some real challenges for Paul and the family. As a result of those issues, a response car staffed by both police and health professionals attended a report of concern for welfare at Nicola’s home address on 10 January.

"No one has been arrested in relation to this incident, but it is being investigated.

"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.

"We have explained to Nicola’s family why we have released this further information and we would ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Ribbons left on the bridge by the River Wyre with messages for Nicola. Credit: PA Images

Throughout the investigation, police have said their main working hypothesis is that she fell into the River Wyre, and that this is "a tragic case of a missing person".

They have also criticised users on social media platforms for posting speculation about the case.

Senior Investigating Officer Rebecca Smith addressed what she called "persistent myths" about the case.

She said: "In 29 years' police service I’ve never seen anything like it. Some of it’s been quite shocking and really hurtful to the family.

"Obviously, we can’t disregard anything and we’ve reviewed everything that’s come in but of course it has distracted us significantly."

Peter Faulding, who came in to help with the search said he was not informed by police of these details and it would have changed his search strategy.

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