Detective who worked on missing dog walker case drafted in to help solve Nicola Bulley disappearance
A detective who worked on the case of murdered dog walker Julia James has been drafted in to help solve the disappearance of Nicola Bulley, according to reports.
The officer from the National Crime Agency (NCA) is leading a team of experts providing support to Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith, the senior investigating officer working on Ms Bulley’s case.
Ms Bulley, 45, vanished while walking her dog in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27.
Police have previously said their main hypothesis is that the mother-of-two fell into the river but they have not yet recovered any evidence to back up this theory.
Searches of the river and its banks by helicopters, divers, sniffer dogs and drones have so far failed to find any sign of Ms Bulley - or any concrete clues about what might have happened to her.
According to the Sunday Times, the detective from the NCA has recommended that Lancashire police bring in a number of external experts including search specialists, a family liaison officer and digital media pros to examine Ms Bulley’s phone and other devices.
The officer in question previously worked on the investigation into the murder of Julia James, a police community support officer who was stabbed to death while walking her dog through the Kent countryside.
The 53-year-old took her regular route through Ackholt Wood with her pet Jack Russell Toby when she was ambushed by 22-year-old Callum Wheeler on April 27, 2021.
A spokesperson for the NCA said: "A national senior investigating officer adviser from the NCA is leading a team of officers from the agency’s major crime investigative support unit, who are providing tactical advice and guidance, as well as access to a number of specialists."
It comes as Ms Bulley’s father said “every day is a struggle” after his daughter went missing just over three weeks ago.
Ernie Bulley, 73, said: "We are no further on from three weeks ago. We just need a breakthrough to give us some hope."
Lancashire Police has faced a backlash over its revelation that Ms Bulley had "issues with alcohol" due to symptoms from perimenopause following a press conference last week.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was "concerned that private information was put into the public domain".
He said: "I’m pleased the police are looking at how that happened. My thoughts are with Nicola’s family."
Labour leader Keir Starmer said: "I was very surprised to see what the police had put out there."
Information commissioner John Edwards suggested that officers may have breached data protection laws.