Nicola Bulley latest: Missing mother had issues with alcohol 'which had resurfaced' recently, police say

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Missing mother Nicola Bulley had ‘significant issues with alcohol’, brought on by menopause struggles, police say.

Nicola Bulley suffered with ‘significant issues with alcohol’ before she went missing, according to a new statement by Lancashire Police. The 45-year-old went missing on January 27 during a dog walk in St Michael’s on Wyre.

In the statement, which was released following the press conference on February 15, the force said: "Sadly, it is clear from speaking to Paul and the family that Nicola had in the past suffered with some significant issues with alcohol which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause and that these struggles had resurfaced over recent months.

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"This caused some real challenges for Paul and the family. As a result of those issues, a response car staffed by both police and health professionals attended a report of concern for welfare at Nicola’s home address on 10 January.

"No one has been arrested in relation to this incident, but it is being investigated.

"It is an unusual step for us to take to go into this level of detail about someone’s private life, but we felt it was important to clarify what we meant when we talked about vulnerabilities to avoid any further speculation or misinterpretation.

"We have explained to Nicola’s family why we have released this further information and we would ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

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In the earlier press conference, which took place at 11.30am, Det Supt Rebecca Smith had said Nicola had “vulnerabilities” but refused to go into detail. She said this was out of respect to Ms Bulley’s family and the “unimaginable pain and distress” they are going through.

She told the press conference: “It’s normal in any missing person investigation that you obviously gather as much information at an early stage about the person in question, which is no different and we did that with Paul.

Nicola Bulley had suffered “significant issues with alcohol” in the past, Lancashire Police said (Credit: Family handout)Nicola Bulley had suffered “significant issues with alcohol” in the past, Lancashire Police said (Credit: Family handout)
Nicola Bulley had suffered “significant issues with alcohol” in the past, Lancashire Police said (Credit: Family handout)

“I’m not going to go into the details of those individual vulnerabilities. I’ve asked you to respect the family, who are going through unimaginable pain and distress at this moment. But those vulnerabilities based our decision-making in terms of grading Nicola as high risk and have continued to form part of my investigation throughout.”

Police said in the press conference that there is still “no evidence to indicate a criminal aspect or third party involvement” in the mother of two’s disappearance.

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Det Supt Smith says detectives considered a range of hypotheses for her disappearance. Explanations being considered include the theory that there was third party involvement, Nicola could have gone into the river, or that she could have left the field voluntarily. She said these hypotheses have all remained in place throughout the investigation and are being regularly reviewed.

Also speaking at the press conference, assistant chief constable Peter Lawson said that as part of the investigation police have visited 300 premises, spoken to 300 people and analysed 1,500 pieces of information given to them by the public.