Expert questions if evidence in Nicola Bulley case was ‘left as decoy’

A forensic expert has said he would “look into” Nicola Bulley’s phone as he claims it could have been left as a “decoy”. Peter Faulding, a world renowned forensic search specialist, said he would look into the evidence left on the bench as well as search the river bed using specialist equipment to determine whether Nicola had entered the river.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Faulding said: “Normally when we scan a river, we can scan about 10 miles a day. This is not really a fast moving tidal it’s quite slow and quite narrow so quite straightforward to search. The police divers are doing a great job but they can only search a small section at a time.

“But I believe from the news reports that sonar has been brought in but sonar is only as good as the operator using it and the frequency.

“I would be looking at the evidence we’ve got. I’ve worked on cases where there was a shoe left on the river and it was left as a decoy.

“We don’t know if this [the phone] has been left by a third party or Nicola as a decoy to drag all the resources down to the river edge. I’d be looking at how that got there in the first place. I would run our sonar along the river and I would see every part of that river and you could quickly confirm or deny any anomalies in that river.”

It is now the ninth day of the search for the missing mother of two who disappeared while walking her Sprocker spaniel Willow along the River Wyre in Lancashire.

While the search continues, the police have said their lead theory is that for some as yet unknown reason, Nicola entered the river on the morning of January 27 shortly after dropping her two daughters, aged six and nine, at school.

Nicola’s family are clinging to the hope that she will be found and are urging people to continue searching for her.

In the early stages of the investigation the police questioned whether it was possible she had been taken, and reportedly even considered if she’d staged her own disappearance.

READ MORE: Nicola Bulley’s sister claims ‘no evidence’ she fell in river

“Everyone needs to keep an open mind as not all CCTV and leads have been investigated fully, the police confirmed the case is far from over.”

Last night, Nicola’s family were finding the candid police assessment “hard to contemplate” but continued to hold onto hope, reports the Mail.

Partner Paul Ansell, a 44-year-old company director, was the one to initially raise the alarm after the school contacted him to say his dog had been found running loose.

At the scene yesterday he said: “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. I just can ‘t believe we’re a week on, and it seems like we’re no further on. It just seems absolutely impossible. Like a dream. I cannot get my head around it. Right now it’s like she’s vanished into thin air, it’s crazy.”

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