A diving expert who was helping police look for missing mum Nicola Bulley says his team would have approached the search differently if they had known the full details about her state of mind.
Police yesterday (Wednesday, February 15) revealed new and painful information about the missing mum-of-two in the face of widespread speculation about the investigation.
Peter Faulding says the new revelation that Nicola had suffered "significant" issues with alcohol, worsened by struggles with the menopause, puts an entirely different focus on the search.
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He said: "I’d be looking for things like whisky bottles, because a lot of suicides … if it’s a suicide …we find bottles of pills, we find whisky bottle, half a bottle of whisky."
Nicola disappeared while walking her dog in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27.
Peter told the Mirror that he was just as surprised as anyone when Lancashire Police revealed the information about the mum's issues.
He questioned whether the information should have been made public at all, but added that if he had been told of Nicola’s struggles at the outset, he would have been searching a different part of the river.
Based on the information he was originally given by police, Peter was “adamant” that she couldn't simply have slipped into the river. Still, he searched the immediate area for three days using advanced side-scan sonar.
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But if Nicola had deliberately harmed herself, he said, she might have jumped into the water quite some distance from where her phone was found.
"We would have extended our search even further upstream. Just because you’ve got a phone there, that doesn’t mean you’ve got an entry point," he said.
He added that if he had known that Nicola had issues around alcohol his team would have been "looking for other evidence" as well.
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Peter said: "I did three female suicide victims last year, and they all had tablets and bottles of brandy or whisky before they went in.
"If that’s the case, they might try jump in and swim and go 'oh no, I don’t want to do this'. So they start paddling and go downstream…”
"If they drown, just fall in and drown, they tend to go straight down, they don’t drift. Unless it’s flood water and it wasn’t flood water on the day."
Peter said if Nicola had wandered back through the gate where her dog Willow was found and to the bridge – a known CCTV blindspot – "she could’ve literally wandered off and no one would have seen her".
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