Advertisement

Women ‘fearful of going out’ in village where Nicola Bulley vanished

Women are fearful of going out in the village where dog walker Nicola Bulley vanished a week ago, a potential witness traced by police has said.

Christine Bowman, 67, had been identified as a dog walker who may have been one of the last people to see Ms Bulley before her disappearance last Friday morning as she walked her dog near the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire.

Last known movements of Nicola Bulley
(PA Graphics)

But after Ms Bowman, a retired teacher, was traced following a police appeal, she told the Daily Mirror she had already spoken to officers and “doesn’t know anything”.

She added: “It has made local women fearful. If they have husbands or partners, they have been taking the dogs out instead.”

Lancashire Police, who have launched a huge search operation, said that despite “unanswered questions”, people should not “speculate or spread false rumours” about the disappearance.

Nicola Bulley, 45, who was last seen on January 27
Nicola Bulley, 45, was last seen on January 27 (Lancashire Police/PA)

Ms Bulley, 45, a mother-of-two and 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, springer spaniel Willow, were found on a bench close to the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre in the Lancashire countryside.

Ms Bulley’s partner, engineer Paul Ansell, her parents and sister have pleaded for information.

Diver searches river
A diver searches in the River Wyre, in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire (Peter Byrne/PA)

Her sister, Louise Cunningham, told Sky News: “Something has got to have been missed.

“Somebody must know something.

“People don’t just vanish into thin air.”

Nicola Bulley missing
Members of the public line the road into St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, with missing posters of Nicola Bulley (Danny Lawson/PA)

Her tearful father Ernie Bulley said Nicola’s young daughters still believed it is “only a matter of time” before their mother comes home.

He told Sky: “There are two young children there waiting for their mummy to come back and we want her back obviously also, but if Nicola is out there, if she’s watching this, then all we’d like to say is: ‘Come home, contact the police, contact ourselves and we just want you back.’

“And they know that mummy’s missing but they know that she’s going to be coming home and everyone is looking for her, so it’s only a matter of time, that they’re thinking in their minds that she’s going to walk through that door.”

Police divers using specialist equipment have been seen searching the River Wyre below where Ms Bulley’s items were found on the bench.

Ms Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, said earlier this week the family were living in “perpetual hell”.

Police say Ms Bulley was last seen at 9.10am last Friday while walking her dog, and she had logged on to a work Teams call, which ended at 9.30am with her still logged on.

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

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