Missing dog walker Nicola Bulley’s partner speaks for first time since disappearance
The partner of Nicola Bulley has spoken out publicly for the first time since the mother-of-two went missing.
Ms Bulley, 45, a mortgage adviser from Inskip, Lancashire, vanished while walking her dog after dropping off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school last Friday morning.
Paul Ansell said: “We're never going to lose hope, but right now it’s as though she vanished into thin air, it’s just insane.
“I can’t believe we're a week on and of yet it seems we're no further on, it seems absolutely impossible. It’s like a dream, I can’t get my head around it.”
Speaking near the scene where the mother-of-two was last seen, Mr Ansell told broadcasters: “My whole focus is my two girls, just staying as strong as I can for them.
“I'm scared that if I put focus into anything else it's going to take my focus off that.
“Just hoping to goodness that anything comes out from the interview yesterday no matter how tiny.”
On Friday morning, members of the community stood by the side of the road holding signs bearing Ms Bulley's photo, urging people to contact police with information.
Mr Ansell said the support from the community had given the family “a great amount of comfort”.
A potential witness, a dog walker, who was traced following a police appeal on Thursday, has reportedly spoken to officers and “doesn't know anything”.
Christine Bowman, 67, told the Daily Mirror: “It has made local women fearful. If they have husbands or partners, they have been taking the dogs out instead.”
Lancashire Police, who have launched a huge search operation, said that despite “unanswered questions”, people should not “speculate or spread false rumours” about the disappearance.
Ms Bulley’s mobile phone and the lead and harness for her dog, springer spaniel Willow, were found on a bench close to the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre in the Lancashire countryside.
Ms Bulley's family have pleaded for information.
Her sister, Louise Cunningham, told Sky News: “Something has got to have been missed. Somebody must know something.
“People don't just vanish into thin air.”
Her tearful father Ernie Bulley said Ms Bulley’s young daughters still believed it is “only a matter of time” before their mother comes home.
He told Sky: “There are two young children there waiting for their mummy to come back and we want her back obviously also, but if Nicola is out there, if she's watching this, then all we'd like to say is: ‘Come home, contact the police, contact ourselves and we just want you back.’
“And they know that mummy's missing but they know that she's going to be coming home and everyone is looking for her, so it's only a matter of time, that they're thinking in their minds that she's going to walk through that door.”
Police divers using specialist equipment have been seen searching the River Wyre below where Ms Bulley's items were found on the bench.
Ms Bulley and her family are originally from Essex but moved to Lancashire around 25 years ago.
Lancashire Police have said they do not believe any crime has been committed and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry.