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10th Feb 2023

Nicola Bulley’s daughters asks heartbreaking question as search enters 14th day

Steve Hopkins

‘You can see the little girls just deflate’

As friends of Nicola Bulley on Friday launched a fresh appeal for information, they revealed the devastating toll the search for the mother-of-two is having on her daughters.

The 45-year-old disappeared two weeks ago while walking her dog along the River Wyre. She 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 dogs lead and harness was found a short time later. Lancashire Police’s “main working hypothesis” is that she accidentally fell in the river.

Nicola’s friends said her daughters “need their mummy” and ask every day if she is coming home.

Emma White is among Nicola’s loved-ones holding a vigil in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre, standing by the main road holding her photograph and urging witnesses to come forward.

“We just need Nikki home for her two beautiful little girls who need their mummy. It’s like torture”, she said, adding that her loved-ones have not given up hope that the mortgage adviser is still alive, MailOnline reported.

White continued: “The girls, when they get home from school, ask ‘any news on mummy?’ and Paul [Nikki’s partner] has to say ‘no’ and he can see the little girls just deflate. The little girl is saying ‘Is my mummy famous?’ I didn’t quite know how to answer that myself… for the wrong reasons.”

She added: “Bring Nikki home, come to the sofa, with the girls, with Willow and you can have that happy story because that’s what we’re keeping hope for.”

The appeal comes after the search on Thursday moved to Morecambe Bay, around 20 miles from where Nicola was last seen. Two boats with specialist police teams were seen in the sea, before heading upstream on either side of the river, with police suggesting finding her “in the open sea becomes more of a possibility”.

It also came after a specialist group drafted in to help trawl the river for Nicola pulled out of the operation on Wednesday night, suggesting she is not where police think she is, and amid calls for an abandoned house to be searched. And late Thursday, it was suggested police are also still trying to track down a “tatty-looking” red van which was parked close to the spot where Nicola disappeared.

Police have maintained that they have so far found no evidence of third-party involvement.

However, they’ve acknowledged the “possibility” Nicola left the bench where her dog and mobile phone were found via the only pathway not covered by CCTV cameras.

Read also: Nicola Bulley detectives probe missing two hours between mum’s disappearance and first call to police

Mums taking part in Friday’s vigil were adamant their friend would not have left her daughters behind voluntarily.

“I know Nicola and there are only two possibilities, that she was abducted for fell in the river as the police believe,” the Mail quoted one mum as saying.

‘There is no way that Nicola would have gone off on her own and leave her daughters behind. No one knows at the moment and that is why we are here to make people aware.’

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