Nicola Bulley’s family share update on health as they plea ‘we need you home’
Nicola Bulley’s family said “the public focus has to be on finding her”
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The family of Nicola Bulley have called for “speculation and rumours” around her private life to end as they told her “we need you home”.
Senior officers said on Wednesday (15 February) that Ms Bulley was “vulnerable” and classed by police as a “high-risk” missing person immediately after her partner Paul Ansell reported her disappearance.
A police search involving specialist officers was launched within an hour of Mr Ansell speaking to officers, with officers saying the 45-year-old had “vulnerabilities” based on the information he had given them.
But in a statement issued through the force on Thursday (16 February), Ms Bulley’s family said the focus of the search had become “distracted” and called for the rumours to stop.
The family said: “It has now been three weeks since Nikki went missing. We, as a family, believe that the public focus has become distracted from finding Nikki, and more about speculation and rumours into her and Paul’s private life.
“As a family, we were aware beforehand that Lancashire Police, last night, released a statement with some personal details about our Nikki. Although we know that Nikki would not have wanted this, there are people out there speculating and threatening to sell stories about her. This is appalling and needs to stop. The police know the truth about Nikki and now the public need to focus on finding her.
“Due to the peri menopause Nikki suffered with significant side effects such as brain fog, restless sleep and was taking HRT to help but this was giving her intense headaches which caused Nikki to stop taking the HRT thinking that may have helped her but only ended up causing this crisis.
“The public focus has to be on finding her and not making up wild theories about her personal life. Despite what some media outlets and individuals are suggesting, we are being updated daily and receive support from our family liaison officers.
“Nikki is such a wonderful daughter, sister, partner and mother and is missed dearly – we all need you back in our lives.
“Nikki, we hope you are reading this and know that we love you so much and your girls want a cuddle. We all need you home. You can reach out to us, or you can contact MissingPeople.org.uk. Don’t be scared, we all love you so very much.”
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has said they have made contact with Lancashire Police over information made public in a press conference about missing mother Nicola Bulley’s private life.
A statement issued on the Lancashire Police website on Wednesday evening explained why Ms Bulley had been classed as a “high risk” missing person. It said: “We have described how Nicola had some vulnerabilities at the time she went missing and we just wanted to expand on that a little.
“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. 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 January 10th. 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.”
The move to release such private information to the public has seen the force come under fire, with the move branded “deeply troubling” by MPs and campaign groups.
Police have confirmed that their “main working hypothesis” still remains that Ms Bulley went into the river during a “10-minute window” between 9.10am and 9.20am on 27 January, and they believe no one else is involved in her disappearance.
Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson said: “There is no evidence to indicate a criminal aspect or third-party involvement in Nicola’s disappearance.”
She was last seen walking her dog in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, after dropping her two daughters, aged six and nine, off at school. Ms Bulley has still not been found and detectives have now extended the search for her to the sea.