Nicola Bulley: Diving expert defends team’s involvement in search for missing mum of two | UK News

A diving expert who joined the search for missing Nicola Bulley has defended his involvement after a body was found near where she went missing.

The body – which is yet to be formally identified – was found about a mile from where the 45-year-old was last seen walking her dog beside the River Wyre in Lancashire on 27 January.

Peter Faulding and his team at Specialist Group International (SGI) joined the search on 6 February and spent three days scanning the riverbed with hi-tech equipment with no success.

And following Sunday’s discovery, Mr Faulding defended his team’s work, insisting: “We thoroughly search[ed] the riverbed and can categorically confirm that Nicola was not laying on the riverbed on the [three] days that we searched.

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“We did search the stretch of river where Nicola was found for four hours on our first day and then upstream past the weir on the subsequent two days.

“The police underwater search teams and land search teams were searching for three full weeks and were also unable to find Nicola.

“Unfortunately, it was a member of the public that made a grim discovery, unconfirmed as yet to be Nicola.”

In the statement, Mr Faulding said the body was found in the reeds at the side of the river “which was not part of our remit”.

He added: “A riverbank and wade search would be the only way to search this area and we were not involved or tasked with that search.

“The difference between these two search areas has caused a lot of confusion and unfair criticism towards myself and my team at Specialist Group International (SGI).

The diving expert added: “I did not volunteer my services, my equipment or my team for any limelight or publicity.

“I simply wanted to lend extra resources to help a family in despair and this was supported by Lancashire Police.

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How the police search unfolded

“However, there has been unprecedented media and public interest in this case and at every turn, I was asked for an update on my own search, which I provided with only best intentions.

“Support for my assistance and my actions have been overwhelmingly positive although I am aware of that some negativity has been towards myself and my team.”

SGI is a recognised underwater search team for several counties and has worked alongside Thames Valley police for years.

The SGI statement ended: “Sadly, for circumstances out of our control, and as hard as we try, sometimes we are unable to locate the missing person.”