Bench where Nicola Bulley’s phone found ‘could be splattered with blood’

An ex-cop claims the bench where Nicola Bulley's phone was found could have been splattered with blood.

Police searching for the missing mum have come under criticism from a number of former officers, who say it was wrong to assume that she accidentally fell into the River Wyre.

Martyn Underhill, a former Sussex Police Force detective who was a senior officer in the Sarah Payne murder investigation says Lancashire police were wrong to rule out foul play so quickly.

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Referring to the spot where Nicola’s phone and dog lead were found, he said: “That bench on that river in my view should have gone to a forensic laboratory.

“If Nicola had been attacked there could be blood spatterings on it,” he pointed out.

The fact that the bench still remains in place, and has become a place of pilgrimage for well-wishers and amateur detectives, is “questionable to put it bluntly,” Martyn added.

Martyn's words were echoed by former Met Police detective Simon Harding, who wrote in the Sunday Times: "You would expect the area where Nicola was last seen to be cordoned off… to stop people descending on it as a tasteless tourist spot and trampling the area — losing any potential evidence”.

He added: “If every possible route in and out of that area is not covered by CCTV — as is likely in the countryside — you simply cannot be sure that someone else is not involved”.

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While Lancashire Police maintain that no foul play is suspected in Nicola’s case, they have taken the step of calling for any motorists who may have been driving past the Garstang Lane exit from the river bank on that fateful Friday morning to get in touch.

Meanwhile, forensic expert Peter Faulding, who has now shifted his focus to potential burial sites in and around the tiny village of St. Michael’s on Wyre, ways that if Nicola had fallen into the river, she would probably have been in at most waist-deep water.

He told the Daily Mail: “If she slipped down the bank she wouldn't go far. The rocks would hold her in place and she'd only have been waist deep. She could have stood there and asked for help because people do walk by.”

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