Nicola Bulley: Family’s plea to be ‘left alone’ as they pay tribute to mum-of-two
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The family of Nicola Bulley have spoken of their heartbreak following police confirmation a body found on Sunday (February 21) in the River Wyre is the missing mother-of-two.
In a statement read by a representative from Lancashire Police, the family said they “will never be able to comprehend” what she had gone through in her last moments as she left behind her family including her two daughters, aged six and nine.
The statement said: “We will never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments and that will never leave us.
“We will never forget Nikki, how could we, she was the centre of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that. Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most.”
On Monday, Lancashire Police confirmed the body found in River Wyre was that of missing Nicola following extensive search operations in the area since her disappearance on January 27.
Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson said: “Today’s development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted, but we hope that it can at least start to provide some answers for Nicola’s loved ones, who remain foremost in our thoughts.” The case is now being handled by HM Coroner.
Nicola, a mortgage adviser, went missing after dropping off her daughters at school and taking the family’s dog, Willow, for its usual riverside walk near the village of St Michael’s on Wyre.
However, after more than three weeks of intensive searching, Lancashire Police said they had received a call at 11.36am on Sunday about a body in the River Wyre, close to Rawcliffe Road, within a mile of where Nicolawas last seen.
Her disappearance has since sparked widespread media attention, from conspiracy theorists to obsessive social media interest, particularly on TikTok, where social media ghouls were exploiting her missing persons case for online clout.
Lancashire Police repeatedly warned people to avoid the area, with a particular focus on social media influencers who have taken the investigation into their own hands. They said the investigation had become "incredibly difficult" due to false theories and speculation.
The family said: “It saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them (Nicola’s children) that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family. This is absolutely appalling, they have to be held accountable this cannot happen to another family.”
They also revealed some members of the press have “taken it upon themselves” to run stories about them to “sell papers and increase their own profiles”. Directing their anger towards Sky News and ITV, the family said they made contact with them directly when they asked for privacy.
They said: “They again, have taken it upon themselves to run stories about us to sell papers and increase their own profiles. It is shameful they have acted in this way. Leave us alone now. Do the press and other media channels and so-called professionals not know when to stop? These are our lives and our children’s lives.”
The family however expressed their gratitude towards those who have helped and supported them since the first day Nicola went missing. They said: “The community support in St Michael’s, friends’, neighbours and strangers has been nothing short of comforting and heart-warming. Friends, you know who you are. Thank you.
“Our hearts truly break for others who have missing loved ones. Keep that hope alive. Finally, Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found, we can let you rest now. We love you, always have and always will, we’ll take it from here xx 💛”