Nicola Bulley: What partner Paul Ansell told Dan Walker in interview for Channel 5 special 'Vanished'

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The partner of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley says it has always been his “gut instinct” that she is not in the river.

Nicola vanished while walking her springer spaniel dog Willow alongside the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre on January 27.

Police have discounted foul play and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry, believing that Nicola has fallen into the water. But police say they are still keeping an “open mind” and have been appealing for information.

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Focus of the police search on Thursday switched from St Michael’s to around 10 miles downstream where the river empties into the sea at Morecambe Bay, with police patrol boats and rescue boats spotted on the river and in the bay.

Speaking to 5 News presenter Dan Walker, Paul Ansell said he wants to keep “all options open” about her disappearance as he opened up in an emotional interview about the last two weeks. Here’s what he had to say.

“100% convinced” she is not in the river

“We’ve always been very careful that we don’t want to say, ‘oh, we think it’s that’, and then push that when it might not be. The most obvious thing, of course has always been the river. It’s always been my gut instinct and her sisters, and family that, that isn’t the case. Extensive searching, as you know is probably well aware has gone on in that river. The fact that the divers and underwater rescue team and all that were in that river on the day, and thankfully found absolutely nothing, in the part where you would have to presume is her last known location.”

Paul Ansell with Dan Walker and inset, Nicola Bulley, who has now been missing for more than two weeksPaul Ansell with Dan Walker and inset, Nicola Bulley, who has now been missing for more than two weeks
Paul Ansell with Dan Walker and inset, Nicola Bulley, who has now been missing for more than two weeks

He went on: “Personally, I am 100% convinced it’s not the river, that’s my opinion.”

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Appeal for information

“It’s a local area. We’ve walked down there for years, and I mean years. You see the same faces every single day. And on the very odd occasion when you see somebody you don't know, they stand out like a sore thumb.”

Appealing for information he added: “Please anything. Not matter how tiny, Just please come forward with it because that could be the key to finding her and the family, we’re not bothered about anything else. There’s nothing else, we just have to find her.”

Nicola the “fun, loving” person

“She is fun. She is loving. If you’re friends with her, she’s the most loyal friend that you could ever have. With Nikki, what you see is what you get. There’s no hidden, nothing’s hidden. You know, it’s all. That’s, that’s her. And she is an exceptional mum and she absolutely adores our girls. And goes above and beyond. She’s just a pillar of strength to our family and without her, the hole is bigger than you can possibly imagine.”

Never going to give up

“But that hope and that positivity in me is stronger than ever, and I’m never, ever going to let go. Nikki would never give up on us ever. She wouldn’t give up on anybody. And we’re not going to ever give up on her, we’re going to find her. There has to be a way to find out what happened, there has to be. You cannot, you cannot walk your dog down a river and just vanish into thin air. Something happened that day, something…”

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How the two children are coping

“The only thing, the only thing that I can do is tell them that everybody is looking for mummy. The best people in the world are looking for mummy – just to give them that, you know, that level of hope that they can understand that everything that can be done to find mummy, is being done.”

His own feelings

“Anger, loads of frustration, confusion, disbelief, surrealism, nothing feels real. It just doesn’t feel real… I feel like I’m in The Truman Show. I honestly believe I’m going to wake up at any moment… how are we even in this? We are good people.”

Vanished: Where is Nicola Bulley? was shown on Channel 5 at 9pm on Friday and is now available on the My5 streaming app.