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10th Feb 2023

Nicola Bulley may have been ‘taken by force’, says cop who exposed Jimmy Savile

Steve Hopkins

‘They could not be certain about this given every exit route is not covered by working CCTV’

A former detective who exposed Jimmy Savile has suggested missing mum-of-two, Nicola Bulley, could have been taken by force.

Mark Williams-Thomas has questioned why police were so certain from an early stage that the 45-year-old dog walker did not leave the St Michael’s on Wyre area where she was walking her dog next to the River Wyre, two weeks ago, today.

The mortgage broker was last seen at 9.10am, having earlier dropped her daughters, aged six and nine, at school. Her phone, still connected to a work call, and the dog’s lead and harness were found a short time later. Lancashire Police’s “main working hypothesis” is that she accidentally fell into the river.

Police have said they have so far found nothing to suggest third-party involvement, but Williams-Thomas is concerned evidence is now being sought to back up a hypothesis.

The former cop, who now produces crime documentaries, told the Mirror: “From very early on police were certain Nicola did not leave the location. I have always questioned this, they could not be certain about this given every exit route is not covered by working CCTV . This plays into my worry of looking for evidence to support a hypothesis,” he said.

On Friday, it was reported that police had identified three key CCTV blindspots, adding to the possibility Nicola may have left the  area via a path not covered by cameras.

Williams-Thomas stressed he is  “not saying that has happened here” over Nicola being abducted but spoke of the “opportunistic” window of “10 to 15 seconds” that an “offender” could have taken.

Speaking on the Talking True Crime UK podcast, Williams-Thomas continued: “One of the things that police have talked about is this window of opportunity.

“During that period of time it is an opportunity for an offender or a third party or for that individual to disappear. That window of opportunity is the time period where there is no sighting of the individual concerned.

“In Nicola’s case, they say there is a window of opportunity of about 10 minutes. Probably slightly more than that. Opportunistically, things just fall into place.”

Police have been trying for days to account for a missing 10-minute window after Nicola was last seen, but the Mail suggested Friday that they are also probing an almost two-hour period between when she was last seen and reported missing.

Former Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, who was in charge of a missing person unit, has said there are “several possibilities”.

He told TalkTV: “It is a very tragic case and I feel for the family, and there are several possibilities. The police believe she went into the water, she could also have decided to vanish herself. There is the possibility she was either taken by force by someone who either didn’t know her, or someone who she did.”

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