Advertisement

Nicola Bulley: First images released of dog walker on day she vanished - as private underwater rescue team joins search

The first images of Nicola Bulley on the day she vanished have been shared by her family, as a private underwater rescue team joins the search for the missing dog walker.

The 45-year-old mortgage adviser was last seen more than a week ago, walking her dog Willow in Lancashire. Police are working on the theory she fell into the River Wyre.

New CCTV pictures, captured by her doorbell camera on Friday 27 January, show Ms Bulley loading her car outside her home before driving her two children to school.

She is seen wearing a long dark coat - believed to be black. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a ponytail.

Ms Bulley was last seen walking her dog a short while later on a footpath near the waterways of St Michael's on Wyre village.

Police previously confirmed the items of clothing she was wearing included an ankle-length black quilted gilet jacket, a black Engelbert Strauss waist-length coat, tight-fitting black jeans, long green walking socks, ankle-length green Next wellies, a necklace, and a pale blue Fitbit.

Read more:
Missing dog walker's movements before she disappeared
Daughters asking 'when is mummy coming home?'

It comes as private diving team SGI has been brought in to assist the police searching the river after offering its services "free of charge".

After the offer was initially declined by the force, according to SGI's CEO Peter Faulding, Lancashire Police has now confirmed the specialist team will be deployed.

In a statement, Lancashire Police said SGI "will join an already large, multi-agency search operation involving a wide variety of search assets and resources".

It added: "Their capability will overlay what has already been, and continues to be done, in order to give extra search coverage along what is an extremely challenging environment to search."

The crucial 10-minute window

Authorities are focusing on a crucial 10-minute window when Ms Bulley's movements are unaccounted for between 9.10am and 9.20am.

At 9.01am she logged into a Microsoft Teams call - but her microphone was muted, and her camera was turned off. She was last seen by an acquaintance walking her dog in the upper field at 9.10am.

Ten minutes later, at 9.20am, her phone was left on a bench by the river. The conference call ended at 9.30am but her phone remained logged into the call.

Just three minutes later, at 9.33am, Ms Bulley's phone was found by another dog walker and Willow discovered running between the bench and a gate to the field.

The dog's harness was found on the grass between the bench and the river's edge.

Watch: Nicola Bulley search - what were missing dog walker's movements before she disappeared?

'Helicopters are looking for mummy'

Ms Bulley's daughters have been asking where their mother is, a friend has told Sky News.

In a short video shared with Sky News, her daughter Sophia can be heard pointing at a search team saying: "Them helicopters, they're looking for mummy."

Speaking to Sky correspondent Katerina Vittozzi, Jill Peck said: "It's hard for them, they've got all the same emotions as everybody else and they want to see their mum, and they don't know where she is."

People gathered at St Michael's Church in Lancashire on Sunday to light candles, with the community in shock. The church is just a few minutes walk from where Ms Bulley dropped off her two children, aged nine and six, on the morning she went missing.

In an attempt to "keep things as normal as possible for the kiddies," Ms Peck said pre-planned events, like a school disco on Friday night, have gone ahead, with Ms Bulley's children attending.

"If something was in the diary, it's been kept in the diary," Ms Peck said. "They are aware that something is happening but we're trying to keep it away from the school."

"They just desperately want her home and that is all they are asking all the time is 'where is she and is she coming home?'"

Family say 'no evidence' she fell into the water

The police's "main working hypothesis" is that she got into difficulty and fell into the water in that 10-minute window.

But her family and friends have claimed there is "no evidence whatsoever" behind this.

Ms Bulley's friend, Emma White, told Sky News on Saturday that the "police hypothesis is on limited information".

She said: "When we are talking about a life we can't base it on a hypothesis - surely we need this factual evidence.

"That's what the family and all of us are holding on to - that we are sadly no further on than last Friday."

Ms White has also dismissed the theory that she may have tried to retrieve a tennis ball from the river while playing with her dog.

"Willow loved using a tennis ball very much, but it used to disturb their walk so they haven't had a tennis ball since last year".

Read more:
Witnesses subject to 'totally unacceptable' abuse
Teams scour the river bank for Nicola's clothes
Dog walker 'vanished' into thin air

"There was definitely no ball," she added.

Police have urged the public to look out along the river for the items of clothing that Ms Bulley was last seen wearing.