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03rd Feb 2023

Criminologist details 5 possible theories behind Nicola Bulley’s disappearance

Steve Hopkins

‘There’s a belief people don’t just disappear into thin air. Sadly, we have had a lot of people who have disappeared into thin air’

A criminologist has detailed five possible theories behind the disappearance of mum-of-two Nicola Bulley who has now been missing for over a week.

The mortgage broker was last seen walking her dog along the River Wyre, Lancashire, around 9.10am Friday, after dropping her two daughters off at school in St Michaels on Wyre.

Earlier today it was revealed that the 45-year-old has sent a final text message, at 8.57am, arranging a playdate with a friend whose mortgage she had recently signed off.

One unnamed resident suggested the text was further evidence Nicola had no intention of voluntarily disappearing: “You wouldn’t have done that if you were going to get up and go missing.”

Nicola’s partner, Paul Ansell, spoke out on Friday saying his “whole focus is the two girls, staying as strong as I can for them”.

In an interview with the Express, David Wilson, emeritus professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, said police will consider five options when investigating the Nicola’s disappearance: an accident, suicide, a person going missing voluntarily, an abduction or murder.

The criminologist told the publisher: “It is usually one of five things: there’s been an accident of some kind; or a suicide; or a person voluntarily goes missing, they want to get away for a completely fresh start, a different life; they have been abducted or they have been murdered.”

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

Wilson said in the first days of the investigation, detectives will have combed Nicola’s social media accounts and texts to “build up a picture of her, not just in terms of what is known about her in public, but things which might not be known, things she was keeping to herself”, and looked at her recent bank transactions.

He told the Express: “There’s a belief people don’t just disappear into thin air. Sadly, we have had a lot of people who have disappeared into thin air. Let’s hope that even after a week there might be some light at the end of this particular investigation.”

On Thursday, Nicola’s sister, Louise Cunningham made a heartfelt plea, saying she needed to “get my sister back”.

“Something has got to have been missed. Somebody must know something. People don’t just vanish into thin air.

“There has got to be somebody who knows something and all we are asking is, no matter how small or big, if there is anything you remember that doesn’t seem right, then please reach out to the police. Get in touch and get my sister back.”

Cunningham said her family felt they were “stuck in a nightmare”.

Nicola’s dad, Ernie Bulley added: “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.”

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