An inquiry into the handling of the disappearance of Nicola Bulley has concluded police made errors that were “avoidable and unnecessary”.
Nicola, 45, went missing in January. She had dropped her two daughters off at school and was last seen walking her dog alongside a riverside path in St Michael’s-on-Wyre. The search for her sparked a prolonged social media frenzy. Her body was found three weeks later in the River Wyre, just over a mile downstream.
Nicola Bulley went missing on January 27 (Credit: Family handout)
Nicola Bulley police accused of ‘breakdown of public confidence’
An inquest in June concluded Nicola had drowned after accidentally slipping into the icy river. At the time, Lancashire Police was criticised for revealing Nicola had struggled with the menopause and alcohol issues.
Now, according to reports, an inquiry by the College of Policy has found that Nicola’s family asked for the reference to the menopause to be made public. This was because officers advised them it was necessary in order to counter misinformed speculation.
The report also said not declaring the investigation a critical incident created “significant challenges” for police.
Not cordoning off where Nicola was last seen meant any potential forensic evidence would have been “lost entirely”.
And the role of underwater search specialist Peter Faulding, who made several media appearances during the search, was also criticised.
The report said none of the findings would have affected the outcome of the search. But it did find Lancashire Police’s media handling and communication led to “a breakdown of public confidence”.