Nicola Bulley diving expert Peter Faulding claims he found her body in River Wyre but sonar images were dismissed by Lancashire Police

“I found Nicola after six minutes of searching”, says forensic diving expert Peter Faulding, who claims to have discovered the missing mum’s body in the River Wyre using sonar – 12 days before a medium claiming psychic abilities found her floating in the water.
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Mr Faulding’s claims are the latest twist in the tragic saga of Nicola Bulley, the 45-year-old mum who was missing for 24 days before her body was recovered from the river in St Michael’s on Wyre in February.

His bold claims were made today following the publication of an independent review into how the investigation was handled by Lancashire Police.

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“The target which I had located was without a doubt Nicola,” claims Mr Faulding, CEO of Specialist Group International.

“I had in fact found Nicola at 10.34am on February 7, 2023 after just 6 minutes of searching.

"The enhanced sonar file clearly shows Nicola’s body lying in a foetal position on her right side, legs bent.”

Mr Faulding’s latest claims contradict previous statements he made that same afternoon (February 7) when he told the media “there was no sign of Nicola” and he did not think she was in the river.

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“I categorically confirm that Nicola was not on the river bed, we would have seen her body,” said Mr Faulding the day before Ms Bulley’s body was recovered.

"For three days, using high frequency side scan sonar, we thoroughly searched the riverbed and can categorically confirm that Nicola was not laying on the riverbed on the days that we searched.”

"Police ‘dismissed’ my findings”, says Faulding

Ms Bulley’s body was later recovered from the River Wyre on February 19 after a medium from Oldham – a man who claims to have the ability to contact spirits – found her body around one mile downstream from where the missing mum was last seen.

But Mr Faulding is convinced – despite his previous statements – that he ‘found Nicola’ 12 days earlier after his sonar picked up a ‘a human form’ just six minutes into his initial search of the River Wyre on February 7.

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He said: "My team and I commenced the search at 10.28am and 6 minutes later, at 10.34am, I identified a significant target that appeared, from my experience, to take human form.

"This target was approximately 75 metres downstream from the bench, just south of the island in the river.

"The length of body parts accurately measures to a person of approximately 1.61 metres, the same height as Nicola.

"At 10.53am, I notified the Lancashire Police Search Adviser of my findings by telephone. I also sent an image of the target on WhatsApp and requested that we put our SGI divers in the water immediately to check the area.

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"My request to dive the target was refused and I was told that the North West Underwater Search Unit (NWUSU) would conduct the dive that afternoon.

"Later, the NWUSU advised us that the target was found to be ‘nothing’.

"This baffled me deeply as I am not usually wrong when I locate a target, especially a body that shows a clear signature. Sonar shadows cannot be created by ‘nothing’.

"At 16.30pm that day, we discreetly rescanned the same area which showed the same target in the same location.”

Why did Lancashire Police dismiss Mr Faulding’s findings?

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Lancashire Police have declined to comment on Mr Faulding’s claims.

However, the independent review published today confirms that police divers investigated the underwater object after being alerted by Mr Faulding.

But the report states they found only ‘tree branches underwater’ and no further action was taken.

Mr Faulding added that he was repeatedly asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement to prevent him from speaking out publicly about his alleged ‘findings’, but said he refused.

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The working relationship between Lancashire Police and Mr Faulding later broke down after he gave a number of interviews to the press which the force said fuelled conspiracy theorists on social media.

He told the press he was left ‘baffled’ by her disappearance and suggested that her phone could be a ‘decoy’ and a ‘third party’ could be involved.

Mr Faulding and his SGI team have since been removed from the NCA (National Crime Agency) list of approved experts.

Where are the images?

Mr Faulding said he will not be releasing the images or sonar data to the public “for ethical reasons and out of respect for the family”.