Underwater specialist team will assist with Nicola Bulley search, after forensic expert Peter Faulding slams police theory that she fell into the river
A specialist team of underwater search and recovery divers will assist with the hunt for Nicola Bulley, after Lancashire Police initially turned down the offer of free help.
Peter Faulding, a forensic expert from West Sussex, has confirmed that his underwater search team and specialist equipment will be deployed to help find the missing woman.
The founder and CEO of Specialist Group International (SGI), who assists in police investigations across the south east, had publicly offered to help free of charge, but said that Lancashire Police had initially rejected the offer.
But at around 4pm today (Feb 5), Faulding wrote on his social media channels: “We have just heard from the family of Nicola Bulley to confirm that the underwater search team from SGI will be deployed to assist in the search. We are awaiting official instructions from Lancashire Police.”
The veteran diver was contacted directly by the grieving family pleading for a way to make this happen, as the search enters it’s tenth day.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We can confirm we have been approached by SGI who have offered to assist with the search for Nicola Bulley and that offer has been taken up after speaking with Nicola's family.
“We continue to lead an extensive and far reaching multi-agency search using a wide range of specialist equipment and resources.
“Our sole focus is to find Nicola and provide the answers her family so desperately need.
"We would like to thank our partner agencies and the local community for their continued efforts and support.
“We are also liaising with experts across national policing to ensure we continue to do everything we can and use every available tactic to find Nicola.”
The force have said that the most likely scenario is that the missing dog walker has fallen into the river, but a close relative said there is ‘no evidence whatsoever’ that supports this theory.
Faulding added: “Time is of the essence and I would like to state that my offer to assist in the search is not in an attempt to take over or criticise what the police are doing. Its purely to bring extra valuable resources to this difficult search for the good of the family.”
The police search has been aided by specialists and divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue, and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – with sniffer dogs, drones and police helicopters deployed.
Detectives are also working behind the scenes to analyse CCTV and dashcam videos.
But Faulding has doubts that the missing mother-of-two, from nearby Inskip, fell into the river.
He told GBNews: "The amount of searching that's gone on in this river, I would have thought she would have been found by now.
“Normally when a person drowns, if they are left a number of days they don't move very far.
"This is not a fast tidal river. So I would have expected her to be found by the police divers by now."
He said he understands that sonar has been used, but though it can be a high-tech and powerful piece of kit, it's "only as good as the equipment or the operator using them".
"We could have scanned this river with our equipment within the day and seen if there was a body there".
“What I am also surprised about is that the area hasn't been sealed off.
“People have been walking past the bench. There's no police tape up. This would normally be sealed off as a crime scene so potentially crime scene investigators can go in and see if there are any microfibres, evidence, slip marks down the bank etc and I don't believe that has actually happened here.”
Lancashire Police have said they do not believe any crime has been committed and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry.
Anybody who has seen Nicola, or has information about where she might be, is asked to call 101, quoting log 565 of January 30. For immediate sightings call 999.