British police confirm that the body in the river is Nicola Bulley


LONDON – British police said Monday that a body found in a river the previous day was that of Nicola Bulley, a mother of two who disappeared last month. Her high-profile case sparked a debate about trust in the police and prompted a wave of internet speculation to descend on a small village in north-west England.

Bulley, 45, a mortgage adviser, disappeared on the morning of January 27 after dropping her daughters off at school and taking her dog for a walk along the river.

“Unfortunately we are now able to confirm that yesterday we caught Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre,” Peter Lawson, Assistant Chief Constable of Lancashire Police, told a press conference on Monday evening. The case is now being examined by a coroner.

Bully’s disappearance captured the public imagination, with large numbers of people visiting the last place she was seen and the nearby village to conduct their own investigations. Conspiracy theories flourished. Police complained about “TikTokers playing private detectives” and issued dispersal orders and warnings to people making videos for social media near private property.

Bulley’s body was discovered on Sunday by two people walking their dogs by the river, less than a kilometer from where she disappeared.

British woman’s disappearance prompts wave of amateur ‘TikTok detectives’

Lancashire Police faced a backlash over their handling of the case when, almost three weeks into the investigation, they released a statement saying Bulley had been classed as a high-risk missing person because she “suffered from some significant problems with alcohol which was brought on of her ongoing struggle with menopause.”

Police said they released these details to “avoid further speculation”, but critics claimed it was a gross breach of privacy and questioned whether details of a man’s reproductive status would have been released in the same way.

The case comes at a time when women’s trust in the police is at an all-time low following a series of police scandals, including one officer jailed for serial rape and another jailed for the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.

Lancashire Police said early on that their working theory was that Bulley fell into the nearby river, but after initial searches by divers turned up nothing, some social media influencers arrived at St Michael’s on the Wyre and went in search of clues.

Michael Vincent, the leader of Wyre Council, told The Washington Post that his village of 600 people has started to feel like “an amusement park where people come to play detective”. He said residents hired a private security company to help patrol streets after being scared off by people peeking in windows, trying doorknobs and visiting a derelict home.

A statement from Bulley’s family called out specific media outlets for violating their privacy. They also said they had to tell Bulley’s daughters, aged 9 and 6, that “the press and public were accusing their father of wrongdoing, misquoting and slandering friends and family”.

Their statement, which was posted in a Twitter thread of the police, Bulley also paid tribute: “We will never forget Nikki, how could we, she was the center of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *