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Braverman meets police leaders as PM voices ‘concern’ over Nicola Bulley case

Suella Braverman has spoken with police leaders about the investigation into missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley as the Prime Minister said he too was “concerned” by the disclosure of private information.

Lancashire Constabulary has come under fire for making Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and the menopause public, three weeks after she disappeared.

A source close to the Home Secretary said Ms Braverman had outlined her concerns over the disclosure during a meeting with Chief Constable Chris Rowley and his senior team on Friday and “asked to be kept updated on the investigation”.

Nicola Bulley missing
Police search teams on the banks of the River Wyre in Hambleton, Lancashire (Peter Byrne/PA)

Rishi Sunak said he was “concerned that private information was put into the public domain”, telling broadcasters on Friday evening: “I’m pleased that the police are looking at how that happened in the investigation.

“Obviously my thoughts are with Nicola’s friends and family and the focus must now be on continuing to try and find her.”

Ms Bulley’s father Ernie Bulley has said “every day is a struggle” since his daughter vanished while walking her springer spaniel Willow in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre on January 27.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, he said: “[We’re] no further on from three weeks ago.

“[We] just need a breakthrough to give us some hope.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, Lancashire Police revealed Ms Bulley was classed as a “high-risk” missing person immediately after her partner reported her disappearance “based on a number of specific vulnerabilities”.

Nicola Bulley missing
Nicola Bulley, 45, from Inskip, Lancashire, was last seen on the morning of January 27 (Lancashire Police/PA)

They later added in a statement that she had been struggling with alcohol issues and the menopause, and had stopped taking HRT medication.

Information Commissioner John Edwards has said he will be asking the force about its decision to make the information public, adding: “Data protection law exists to ensure people’s personal information is used properly and fairly. This includes ensuring personal details are not disclosed inappropriately.”

Former victims’ commissioner Dame Vera Baird said she believed the force had made a “dreadful error” in releasing the details.

Meanwhile, Lancashire Police confirmed a date had been set for an internal review into the investigation.

A police spokeswoman said: “A review of the investigation is diarised and will be conducted by our Head of Crime Detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables.”

Nicola Bulley missing
St Michael’s on Wyre, as police continue their search for Ms Bulley (Peter Byrne/PA)

The force has previously said its main working hypothesis is that Ms Bulley fell into the River Wyre in a “10-minute window” on the day she disappeared.

She was last seen at 9.10am taking her usual route with Willow, alongside the river, having earlier dropped off her two daughters at school.

Her phone, still connected to a work call for her job as a mortgage adviser, was found just over 20 minutes later on a bench overlooking the riverbank, with her dog running loose.

The search for her has since been extended to the sea, but she has not been found.

Her family have called for a stop to “speculation and rumour”, adding: “The public focus has to be on finding her and not making up wild theories about her personal life.”