Nicola Bulley: partner of missing woman talks of search ‘brick wall’

The partner of the missing woman Nicola Bulley has said every scenario has come to a “brick wall” as he pledged to “stay strong” for their daughters.

Speaking near the scene where she was last seen, Paul Ansell said the mystery of her disappearance was “absolutely impossible” to comprehend.

Bulley, 45, a mortgage adviser from Inskip, Lancashire, vanished while walking her dog after dropping off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school last Friday morning. Her mobile phone and the lead and harness for her dog, a springer spaniel called Willow, were found on a bench close to the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre in the Lancashire countryside.

Ansell told broadcasters on Friday: “I don’t really have anything to say other than what the family said yesterday. My whole focus is the two girls. Stay strong for them. I’m scared that if I put any focus on to anything else it’s going to take my focus off that.”

He went on: “I just can’t believe that we’re a week on, and as yet, it seems we’re no further on. It just seems absolutely impossible. It’s like a dream, I can’t get my head around any of it.”

“Every single scenario comes to a brick wall,” he added. “And then all we’re doing is sitting there going round and round going through every scenario. Back to the first scenario and do the whole thing again. All day long, that’s all we’re doing.”

Asked how he was coping, he said: “I don’t know how I’m coping. I don’t want to think about it. It’s just about the girls. I’m there for them. I don’t really want to elaborate on that. I don’t want to take my eye off that.”

He thanked the community for the support shown, adding: “We’re never going to lose the hope, of course we’re not. It’s as though she has vanished into thin air. It’s insane.”


Meanwhile, a woman approached as a potential witness by police investigating the disappearance said she “doesn’t know anything”. Christine Bowman, 67, had been identified as someone who may have been one of the last people to see Bulley before her disappearance as she walked her dog near the river.

Related: ‘People don’t vanish’: family of missing Nicola Bulley appeal for information

Bowman, a retired teacher, was traced following a police appeal and told the Daily Mirror she had already spoken to officers. She added: “It has made local women fearful. If they have husbands or partners, they have been taking the dogs out instead.”

Lancashire constabulary have launched a huge search operation and have said despite “unanswered questions”, people should not “speculate or spread false rumours” about Bulley’s disappearance.

Police divers using specialist equipment have been seen searching the River Wyre below where Bulley’s items were found on the bench. She was last seen at 9.10am last Friday while walking her dog. She had logged on to a work Teams call, which ended at 9.30am while she was still logged on.

Bulley and her family are originally from Essex but moved to Lancashire about 25 years ago.

Lancashire constabulary have said they do not believe any crime has been committed and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry.