By Connor Steel
HOME SECRETARY Suella Braverman has asked for an urgent explanation from Lancashire Police over the decision to reveal details about missing Nicola Bulley’s private life; the press conference coming three weeks after the 45-year old mysteriously vanished near to the River Wyre whilst walking her pet dog late last month.
As reported in national newspapers on Friday morning a source has said the Fareham MP is “concerned” by disclosed information by officers in a press conference on Wednesday; in which the public were told that the missing mother of two suffered from “significant alcohol issues” and “ongoing struggles with the menopause”.
Police further stated that officers and health staff had “attended a report of concern for welfare” at her house on January 10, although full details on this incident are unknown at the time of writing. The force have added it has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog about this contact with Ms Bulley.
But these comments by officers have sparked intense speculation online about the high risk missing persons search, which has made national newspapers in recent weeks since Ms Bulley’s disappearance. Concern is further growing that this information may have led both public and media focus away from finding her safely.
The release of personal details have been slammed by multiple politicians including Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper who said she had quite “significant concerns” with these developments. Many legal experts have also commented on a potential data protection problem and ethical ramifications for the police.
Lancashire Police have responded to the criticism and are understood to have told the Home Office that they made the move to “put an stop to rumours circulating”, according to sources from BBC News. But the Home Office are said to be not “wholly satisfied” and have requested updates on how police are handling this case.
Officers are currently investigating possibilities that Ms Bulley could have gone into the River Wyre or left the area voluntarily between 9:10am and 9:20am on January 27 (Friday). Her dog was found shortly afterwards and her mobile phone was located near a bench; showing she was logged onto a Microsoft Teams work call.
Detectives said on Wednesday that there is no evidence to suggest any crime has been committed or there was any 3rd party involvement, although they are still keeping an open mind. So far three hundred premises have been visited and nearly 2000 leads have been received, whilst intensive river searches are continuing.
Readers are encouraged to visit media sites such as BBC News, Sky News and ITV News for all developing updates on this story, including any news conferences from Lancashire Police on their ongoing investigation.
PICTURED BY ALAMY (2ND14ET): Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson and Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith of Lancashire Police update the media in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire on Wednesday.