The family of Nicola Bulley, a 45-year-old mortgage adviser, criticised the media and the public for vilifying them and their friends after a body was found in the River Wyre and identified as hers. Her body was discovered over three weeks after she disappeared while walking her dog on 27 January. The family spoke out in a statement read by police who had confirmed the body belonged to the deceased. They spoke against the media and members of the public who had accused her partner of wrongdoing and misquoted and vilified her friends and family.
Bulley’s case received extensive attention from the press and across social media, attracting armchair detectives and conspiracy theorists. Shortly after her disappearance, TikTok and YouTube influencers arrived on the scene, and hundreds of people have since taken to the beauty spot to take photographs for social media. Some visitors even broke into buildings and went through local people’s gardens at night in the hope of finding her.
Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, and close friends have been interviewed numerous times on television in the weeks since she was reported missing. A statement was read out on behalf of Bulley’s family, which was predominantly an assessment of the media’s response to her disappearance.
Lancashire constabulary confirmed they had identified her after a body was found by two members of the public in undergrowth near the village of St Michael’s on Wyre. The police force faced intense criticism for their communication during the case, having been labelled “sexist” by MPs and campaigners for revealing that Bulley suffered from alcoholism as a result of struggles with the menopause. Speaking at a press conference, the assistant chief constable, Peter Lawson, expressed sadness over the recovery of Bulley’s body from the River Wyre, saying the case was now in the hands of the coroner.