Family of Nicola Bulley slam social media trolls who continue to peddle conspiracy theories five months after her death

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The 45-year-old's family revealed they were still being targeted by conspiracy theorists and armchair detectives despite clear evidence Nicola simply slipped and fell into the River Wyre while out walking her dog on a cold January morning.

The family of tragic mum Nicola Bulley have slammed social media trolls who continue to peddle conspiracy theories about her death five months to the day since she vanished.

In a statement issued after an inquest in Preston concluded her death was a total accident, the 45-year-old's family revealed they were still being targeted by conspiracy theorists and armchair detectives despite clear evidence Nicola simply slipped and fell into the River Wyre while out walking her dog on a cold January morning.

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Solicitor Terry Wilcox, who has represented families of the Hillsborough Disaster and the Manchester Arena bombing, read out a message on behalf of partner Paul Ansell and Nicola's parents and sister.

It read: "The last few months have been extremely tough to process for the family. The emotional impact will stay long in our hearts and whilst we’ll never get over the loss of our Nikki, we will forever remember her as the brilliant mum, partner, daughter and sister that we all knew and loved so very much.

"The help and support we have received over these few months has meant more than words can say. From family and friends, to complete strangers across the country and world, thank you. Nikki and Paul’s girls have already taken great comfort in the deeply thoughtful gifts sent to them in goodwill, and in time they will read the many cards which are filled with such kindness and love.

"Sadly, we feel the need to again raise and address the issue of social media. It’s upsetting that we’ve continued to receive negative targeted messages and still witness wildly inaccurate speculation being shared over numerous platforms.

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"We encourage people to look at the facts, the evidence which has been heard during the inquest, and the conclusion reached by the Coroner, to ignore any amateur views and opinions, and be mindful of the impact words bring.

"We want to formally say thank you for the support and compassion showed by Lancashire Constabulary, HM Coroner Dr Adeley, his team, Sophie Cartwright KC of Dean Court Chambers, and Terry Wilcox of Hudgell Solicitors.

"Now we need to be allowed time to comprehend all of the events leading up to this day. We ask that you all respect our privacy at this time, let us rebuild and take time to heal."

Lancashire Police, who were criticised for the way they handled the case during the 23 days Nicola was missing, also issued a statement outside County Hall, Preston.

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Det Chief Supt Pauline Stables, Head of Crime at Lancashire Constabulary, said: "I want to start by saying that first and foremost my thoughts today are with Nikki’s family and loved ones. They have been through the most unimaginable ordeal over the last six months, and I can only hope that this inquest will help in some small way by answering some of the questions they had about what happened to Nikki on January 27 and will allow them to start the process of rebuilding their lives as best as they can.

"I would like to thank Dr Adeley for his careful consideration of the evidence presented to this inquest as well as legal counsel and all of the witnesses for their participation.

"I hope that HM Coroner’s clear and definitive findings will put an end ill-informed speculation and conspiracy theories which have been so damaging to Nikki’s family, the community of St Michael’s.

"I would like to finish by bringing this back to Nikki. She was clearly a much-loved mum, partner, daughter, sister and friend. and I would once again express my deepest sympathy to all her loved ones, and I would ask that their privacy is respected at this time to allow them the time and space to rebuild and to heal."

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Earlier Senior Coroner Dr James Adeley concluded that Nicola's death was a pure accident. He ruled out any possibility of suicide, saying there was nothing to suggest she had taken her own life.

In his conclusion Dr Adeley said he was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the 45-year-old fell into the icy River Wyre and probably died within seconds. He accepted that a condition known as cold water shock would have rendered her unconscious before she could reach safety

The river at the point she entered it was 4.6 metres and it would have taken between two to three minutes for her to drift to a point in the river where she could have stood up.

Dr Adeley said: "She would have lost consciousness within a maximum of 48 seconds." But he said experts in cold water immersion believed that was "highly optimistic" and she would have lost consciousness in approximately 30 seconds.

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"Whether or not Nikki's first breath was above or below the water, she would have lost consciousness and have died before reaching the first point in the River Wyre where she could have touched the bottom."

Dr Adeley also dismissed a scream heard by two separate people, saying "by the time the cream was heard Nikki was probably already dead. I do not doubt that these ladies heard a scream and were quite right to report it to the police. But it was not relevant to Nikki's death.

"Consequently there is no evidence to support that a third party was involved in Nikki's death."

After considering whether he should conclude Nikki had taken her own life, Dr Adeley told the hearing: "There is an absence of any evidence that would suggest that Nikki was contemplating suicide. Excluding a couple of comments over the Christmas period when she was acting out of character and were treated as throw-away comments, there was no indication of any intention to take her own life.

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"Her behaviour in the week before her death was back to normal, she had restarted her HRT therapy, stopped drinking some time before, was making plans for play dates and spa days with several people, was becoming increasingly successful at her new career as a mortgage broker and behaved entirely normally during her parents visit the night before and with Paul on the morning of her death.

"For these and many other reasons I discount a conclusion of suicide as there is no evidence to support this conclusion.

"For the reason set out above I conclude that Nicola Jane Bulley died an accidental death."

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