Nicola Bulley: what did her partner Paul Ansell say on Channel 5’s Vanished? Comments explained

Nicola Bulley disappeared in Lancashire in January and the search for her has stretched into its 16th day

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The partner of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley says it has always been his “gut instinct” that she is not in the river.

The mother-of-two, 45, vanished while walking her springer spaniel dog Willow alongside the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre on 27 January. A wide-spread search for the mortgage advisor is entering its 16th day.

She had dropped off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school and was on her usual walk when she disappeared, her phone – still connected to a call for her job – was found on a bench overlooking the river. Despite a huge search of the river and surrounding countryside by Lancashire Police, no trace of her has been found.

Police have discounted foul play and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry, believing that Nicola has fallen into the water. But the force say they are still keeping an “open mind” and have been appealing for information.

Focus of the police search on Thursday (9 February) switched from St Michael’s to around 10 miles downstream where the river empties into the sea at Morecambe Bay, with police patrol boats and rescue boats spotted on the river and in the bay.

What did her partner say on 5 News?

Speaking to 5 News presenter Dan Walker, Paul Ansell said he wants to keep “all options open” about her disappearance on Friday (10 February). He said: “We’ve always been very careful that we don’t want to say, ‘oh, we think it’s that’, and then push that when it might not be.

“The most obvious thing, of course has always been the river. It’s always been my gut instinct and her sisters, and family that, that isn’t the case. Extensive searching, as you know is probably well aware has gone on in that river.”

Candles are lit around a photo of Nicola Bulley (left) and her partner Paul Ansell on an altar at St Michael's Church in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for the missing mother of two.Candles are lit around a photo of Nicola Bulley (left) and her partner Paul Ansell on an altar at St Michael's Church in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for the missing mother of two.
Candles are lit around a photo of Nicola Bulley (left) and her partner Paul Ansell on an altar at St Michael's Church in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for the missing mother of two.

Speaking about his partner, Paul went on: “She is fun. She is loving. If you’re friends with her, she’s the most loyal friend that you could ever have. With Nikki, what you see is what you get. There’s no hidden, nothing’s hidden.

“You know, it’s all. That’s, that’s her. And she is an exceptional mum and she absolutely adores our girls. And goes above and beyond.” He added: “She’s just a pillar of strength to our family and without her, the hole is bigger than you can possibly imagine.”

Family going through ‘unprecedented hell’

Paul said the family was going through “unprecedented hell”. “But that hope and that positivity in me is stronger than ever, and I’m never, ever going to let go,” he added.

“Nikki would never give up on us ever. She wouldn’t give up on anybody. And we’re not going to ever give up on her, we’re going to find her.”

Talking about his children, Paul went on: “The only thing, the only thing that I can do is tell them that everybody is looking for mummy. The best people in the world are looking for mummy – just to give them that, you know, that level of hope that they can understand that everything that can be done to find mummy, is being done.”

Asked how he feels about the situation, Paul said: “Anger, loads of frustration, confusion, disbelief, surrealism, nothing feels real.” He continued “It just doesn’t feel real… I feel like I’m in The Truman Show. I honestly believe I’m going to wake up at any moment… how are we even in this? We are good people.”

Can you watch Vanished: Where is Nicola Bulley?

The special aired on Channel 5 at 9pm on Friday. It is available on 5oD.