Nicola Bulley's little girls 'know mummy is missing', friend reveals

‘Their hair wasn’t right today because that’s not how mummy does it’: Friend of missing mother Nicola Bulley reveals struggles of her little girls who ‘know mummy is missing’

  • Nicola Bulley, 45, disappeared last Friday morning as she was walking her dog
  • LIVE: Follow our Nicola Bulley updates as police continue search one week on 

Nicola Bulley’s two young daughters are ‘asking where their mummy is’, a close friend of the missing mother revealed today as the search for her reaches the seven-day mark.

On Friday morning, members of the local community stood by the side of the road holding signs bearing Ms Bulley’s photo, urging people to contact police with information. 

The mortgage adviser, 45, disappeared one week ago as she was walking her dog along the River Wyre in Lancashire.

Her final sighting was at 9.10am and 25 minutes later her phone and dog lead were found on a riverside bench. 

Nicola Bulley, 45, disappeared one week ago as she was walking her dog along the River Wyre in Lancashire

It’s been a week now since the mother of two vanished while walking her dog, springer spaniel Willow, on a towpath by the River Wyre

This morning, Ms Bulley’s friend Emma White told broadcasters that the missing mother’s ‘two beautiful little girls are asking where’s their mummy’.

She told Good Morning Britain: ‘They are asking all these questions and we can’t give them answers. 

‘As a family they are being so strong for those little girls.

Timeline: Mystery of mother who vanished while walking her dog 

January 27 

8.43am – Nicola Bulley walked along the path by the River Wyre, having dropped her two children off at school

8:50am (approximately) – A dog-walker – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her walking around the lower field with her dog. Their two dogs interacted briefly before the witness left the field via the river path

8.53am – She sent an email to her boss

8.57am – She sent a text to a friend to organise a playdate 

9.01am – She logged into a Teams call

9.10am (approximately) – A witness – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her on the upper field walking her dog, Willow. Work is ongoing to establish exactly what time this was.

9.30am – The Teams call ended but Nicola stayed logged on

9.35am (approximately) – Nicola’s mobile phone and Willow were found at a bench by the river by another dog-walker.

The dog’s harness was found on a bench along with her phone, which is still connected to a work conference call.  The dog’s lead was on the floor.

10.15am – The alarm is raised around an hour later by a walker who finds her springer spaniel Willow running lose. 

Jan 28 – Feb 2 – Police hunt for Ms Bulley, including by searching the stretch of river where she was last seen. 

‘They know mummy’s missing. Today, apparently their hair wasn’t quite right from one of the little girls because that’s not the way mummy does it.’

Appealing for anyone with information to come forward, she added: ‘She’s a daughter, mother, partner, sister and a great friend, and we all just want Nikki back.

‘So if anybody has anything that they can give the police, anything just share it please.’

Speaking on Friday, a week after Ms Bulley disappeared, Ms White described the mix of emotions her friends and family were feeling.

She said: ‘Seven days on and its such a tough milestone today, believe me.

‘We’re all finding it tough today but seven days, so we are out today in force.

‘The community has come together once again, we have got banners printed, placards of Nikki.

‘Everybody’s trying to find that missing piece of the jigsaw.’ 

Describing the situation as ‘surreal’, she added: ‘We have got this feeling of great sadness, you’ve got heartache, mixed in there with a whole lot of hope.

‘You just can’t explain the feeling that’s going on.’

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms White described her good friend as ‘the most beautiful person’.

She said: ‘She’s beautiful on the outside, but she’s also the kindest soul on the inside.

‘She’s thoughtful, she’s caring, and then her and Paul together adds a little bit of magic.

‘They created these two beautiful humans, who are just wanting to know where their mummy is.’

Sky News’ crime correspondent Martin Brunt said that ‘forensically’ work was complete at the location where Ms Bulley was last seen.

Police insist there is evidence of no crime at Ms Bulley’s disappearance is the subject of a missing person’s inquiry. 

Meanwhile, Ms Bulley’s partner told how he will ‘never lose hope’, one week on from her disappearance.

Paul Ansell said he ‘cannot get his head around’ how Ms Bulley had vanished, and said his focus was on staying strong for their two daughters.

Speaking near the scene where Ms Bulley was last seen, Mr Ansell told broadcasters: ‘Every single scenario comes to a brick wall. Every single one of them.

‘All we are doing is sitting there going round and round and round through each scenario.’

He added: ‘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.’

Paul Ansell said he ‘cannot get his head around’ how Ms Bulley had vanished, and said his focus was on staying strong for their two daughters

Police are continuing to search for Nicola around the area where she was last seen on the River Wyre in Lancashire

Emma White described Ms Bulley as a ‘beautiful person’ and urged anyone with information of her whereabouts to come forward

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 following an interview with Ms Bulley’s parents and sister on Thursday.

Earlier today, it emerged Ms Bulley had booked a playdate with a friend in her final text minutes before she disappeared.

She had sent a text at 8.57am just before logging on to a Teams call while she walked her dog along the River Wyre in Lancashire, locals were told at a village meeting. 

A resident of St Michael’s on Wyre told the Mirror: ‘She booked a playdate, 8.57, she sent a text message to a friend whose mortgage she had just recently signed off on to arrange for the girls to go for tea this week.’

The local, who did not want to be named, said this was more evidence that she had no intention of voluntarily disappearing, adding: ‘You wouldn’t have done that if you were going to get up and go missing.’ 

Howard Millington, a former police detective with a 30-year career at Greater Manchester Police, has called her case ‘very unusual’ and ‘very concerning’. 

In an interview with Sky News, he said: ‘It will have been quickly escalated, I’ve no doubt. Lancashire Police have spared no expense in resourcing this properly.’

On Friday morning, members of the local community stood by the side of the road holding signs bearing Ms Bulley’s photo, urging people to contact police with information.

Nicola Bulley was last seen walking her dog Willow along the River Wyre in Lancashire on Friday, January 27

Yesterday, police issued a public appeal for a woman seen in CCTV wearing a red coat on the River Wyre around the time Ms Bulley vanished last Friday morning. 

MailOnline can now reveal that the 67-year-old woman, Christine Bowman, told police she did not see Ms Bulley during her walk with her own dog Snowflake.

READ MORE: ‘It just seems absolutely impossible… like a dream’: Missing Nicola Bulley’s heartbroken boyfriend says it is as though she ‘vanished into thin air’ as he reveals agony one week after she disappeared on dog walk

Ms Bowman said she was baffled by the appeal to track her down because she had already spoken to officers on the day Ms Bulley disappeared – and she ‘doesn’t know anything’.

The local resident – who police hoped could provide key pieces of information in the search for Ms Bulley – does not travel as far as the bench where the missing mother’s phone and dog were found. 

‘The security camera footage that she was caught on was taken from the caravan park next to the towpath.

‘That’s as far as she goes, she doesn’t walk her dog further along the footpath than that point.’

And Ms Bowman told The Mirror she was doubly confused by the public appeal given she’d reportedly already told police she had no information to offer.

The retired teacher said: ‘It has made local women fearful. If they have husbands or partners, they have been taking the dogs out instead.’ 

It was a devastating blow for Ms Bulley’s family, who have been waiting with bated breath for updates in the investigation.

In the appeal to track down the woman yesterday, a spokesman for Lancashire Police said: ‘She is described as wearing a red and white coat with a fur hood, light-coloured trousers and a light bobble hat.

‘She was walking a small, white dog. The woman was seen on CCTV at around 8.48am on Allotment Lane, close to where Nicola was last seen and was also seen near to the gate at the end of Allotment Lane.’

The 67-year-old woman in a red coat who was the subject of a police witness appeal told officers she did not see Ms Bulley during her walk 

However a friend said: ‘Their paths did not cross, she has no information on where Nicola could be sadly.’

As the investigation reached the one week mark, a source from St Michael’s Angling Association said the stretch of river where Ms Bulley vanished is notorious and ‘very dangerous’, with a depth of about 15ft. 

READ MORE: Fifteen vital questions about mother-of-two’s disappearance that are leaving police and family baffled

‘The combination of the depth and how cold it is at this time of year makes it very dangerous,’ he told The Times.

‘I certainly would not want to fall in there and I’m a very strong swimmer.’ Specialist police divers have been painstakingly searching the riverbed for clues. 

Ms Bulley’s sister Louise Cunningham made a heartfelt plea yesterday, saying she needed to ‘get my sister back’.

Joining her family for a round of television interviews, she said: ‘Something has got to have been missed. Somebody must know something. People don’t just vanish into thin air. 

‘There has got to be somebody who knows something and all we are asking is, no matter how small or big, if there is anything you remember that doesn’t seem right, then please reach out to the police. Get in touch and get my sister back.’

Ms Cunningham said her family felt they were ‘stuck in a nightmare’. 

‘We’re going round in circles to piece together what happened. We’ve got to keep an open mind,’ she told ITV News. 

‘We have no idea where she is. There’s no evidence to point us in any direction.

‘My hope is that she’s still out there. We just want her home. Her children need her home. It’s heartbreaking. We’re such a close-knit family, we’d do anything for any one of us.

‘Somebody must know something, people don’t just vanish. If there’s anything you might have seen, please get in touch with the police.’

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