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Nicola Bulley: Family and friends insist there is ‘no evidence’ behind the police theory dog walker fell in river | UK News

Family and friends of missing woman Nicola Bulley have claimed there is “no evidence whatsoever” behind a police update suggesting the mother-of-two fell into the river.

Officers believe the 45-year-old “sadly” fell into the River Wyre while she was walking her dog last Friday morning but are continuing the search.

It is understood Ms Bulley went missing in just “a 10-minute window” while she was walking her dog, Willow, close to the River Wyre, after dropping off her daughters – aged six and nine – at school.

Search teams from Lancashire Constabulary are continuing to trawl the waterway near St Michael’s.

Ms Bulley’s friend, Emma White, told Sky News 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.

“We still have no evidence, and that’s why we’re out together in force.

“You don’t base life on a hypothesis.”

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Retracing Nicola Bulley’s journey

Meanwhile, Ms Bulley’s sister Louise Cunningham shared a Facebook post urging people to carry on the search and to “keep an open mind”.

She said: “Off the back of the latest Police media update, please can I add there is no evidence whatsoever that she has gone into the river, it’s just a theory.

“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.”

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

“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”.

“There was definitely no ball,” she added.

Police have speculated that Nicola Bulley had an issue with her dog, Willow.
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Police have speculated that Nicola Bulley had an issue with her dog, Willow.

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

This includes 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.

Specialist search teams from Lancashire Police, beside the bench (top left) where Nicola Bulley's phone was found, on the banks of the River Wyre, in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as the search continues for the missing woman who was last seen on the morning of Friday January 27
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Specialist search teams from Lancashire Police, beside the bench (top left) where Nicola Bulley’s phone was found

Search teams are also being helped by specialists and divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue, and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – with sniffer dogs, drones, and police helicopters also being used.

Read more:
Police vow to bring missing mum home as they urge search teams to scour river bank for clothes

Police believe missing dog walker fell into river as investigation focuses on 10-minute window
Nicola Bulley’s friends given new hope after ‘influx of calls’ to police

Police officers on the River Wyre, in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for missing woman Nicola Bulley, 45, who was last seen on the morning of Friday January 27, when she was spotted walking her dog on a footpath by the nearby River Wyre. Picture date: Friday February 3, 2023.
Image:
Police officers on the River Wyre, in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, as the search continues

Detectives are also analysing CCTV and dashcam videos, and members of the public with footage which could be useful have been urged to come forward.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Superintendent Sally Riley said there may have been an “issue with the dog that led her to the water’s edge, she puts her phone down to go and deal with the dog momentarily, and Nicola may have fallen in”.

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Supt Sally Riley said officers believe Nicola Bulley fell into the River Wyre

However, Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell, 44, said he would “never lose hope” of finding her.

“We’re never, ever going to lose hope, of course we’re not, but it is as though she has vanished into thin air. It’s just insane,” he said.

The 44-year-old said his “whole focus is my two girls” and that he was “hoping to goodness” that people would come forward with new information.

A lesson from ‘Reaganomics’: The collision of theory and reality could prove fatal for PM Liz Truss and Tory party | Politics News

In his book on the failure of Ronald Reagan’s economic revolution, the US president’s one-time guru David Stockman wrote that the only thing worse than short-termism in politics is ideological hubris in government.

The so-called “father of Reaganomics”, Stockman was a key part of an economic overhaul that has some eerie echoes of the current UK government strategy – not least tax cuts, supply-side reforms and spending cuts.

But in his 1986 post-mortem of his time in office, Stockman concludes that no such revolution was possible – in part because of politicians and their need to please voters – and he attacks “the false belief that in a capitalist democracy we can peer deep into the veil of the future and chain the ship of state to an exacting blueprint”.

One former UK cabinet minister appeared to echo this sentiment earlier this week saying that while they understood “the theory” of Liz Truss’s plan “you can do that when you’re not competing with inflation”.

This is the head-versus-heart conundrum many Conservative MPs are now wrestling with.

But alongside the controversial policies announced by Kwasi Kwarteng last Friday, Tories heading to their conference in Birmingham this weekend are now also sizing up the prospect of what one newspaper has branded a “new age of austerity”.

In a bid to reassure jittery markets, cabinet ministers are now talking of “rigorous spending discipline” and “trimming the fat” in government.

Amid double-digit inflation and expensive tax cuts, economists are dubious whether such talk will steady the situation and warn that belt-tightening will need to be similar to the early austerity years.

This poses a series of problems both fiscal and political in their nature.

Firstly, where will this fat be trimmed from?

Given previous commitments on the NHS and security, any tightening at health or defence seems unfathomable. But other departments are hardly ripe for a snip.

Is it possible to squeeze the Ministry of Justice during a giant court backlog? Can education really be sized up after two years of COVID turmoil and in a time of rising prices?

Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke has suggested some of the capital spending commitments made during Boris Johnson’s time in Number 10 could be a target.

But is it sensible to stop building stuff when the sole focus of the government is growth?

The political problems flow from all this.

Tory MPs will be the ones left on the doorstep justifying the difficult optics of tax coming down for the super-wealthy contrasted with potentially below inflation benefit rises for the poorest in society.

Worse still for middle-class Tory voters is an increase in mortgage rates wiping out any gains from tax cuts.

Then there’s the promised supply-side reform.

While some of the measures on childcare and financial services may be easy wins, others around planning and migration could be more controversial.

As Liz Truss has gone all-in on getting growth, she’ll need to push through most of these measures to give her the best chance of turning short-term pain into long-term gain.

Allies say the government has a majority big enough to make these radical reforms a reality.

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Truss acknowledges ‘some disruption’

But remember, this is a majority won in 2019 on a very different platform.

It’s a point not lost on Tory MPs worried that a prospectus of levelling up has suddenly turned into rising mortgage rates and cuts to public spending.

To return to America, David Stockman writes that it was one year into the Reagan Presidency that he realised the revolution he helped usher in was an impossibility.

“It was a metaphor with no anchor in political and economic reality… It was simply not operationally relevant in the world of democratic fact where politicians have the last and final say,” he says.

Two years from an election, a similar collision of theory with reality here could prove fatal for the Prime Minister and her party.