Nicola Bulley's friends say partner couldn’t be involved in disappearance due to key CCTV evidence | The Sun

MISSING Nicola Bulley's friends have slammed "disgusting" claims her partner is involved in her disappearance.

Lurid theories have surrounded the chilling case after Nicola vanished in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27.

The mum-of-two's friends have now been forced to defend her heartbroken partner Paul Ansell after web sleuths suggested he was involved.

Nicola's friend Tilly Ann released a statement with the family's permission to dispel the rumours.

She said: "Paul and Nikki both mostly work from home which is why he was at home that day.

"They have CCTV and there is a reason why Paul has never been a suspect.

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"Family and friends need these accusations to stop immediately. The fact that I've had to write this is disgusting to be honest."

Paul released another heartfelt plea over the weekend as the search for Nicola continued.

He said the family needs a "happy ending to this nightmare".

Paul added: "The agony continues but the hope is stronger than ever of finding you."

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New CCTV images show missing Nicola on day she vanished

It comes as the search for Nicola is bolstered today by a group of private divers.

Specialist Group International (SGI) will scour the river using specialist equipment.

Lancashire Police said previously their “main working hypothesis” is that Nicola had “sadly fallen in the river”.

Supt Sally Riley claimed there may have been an “issue” with dog Willow that led Nicola to the edge of the water.

Police believed the mum could have walked to the river to retrieve the dog’s tennis ball when she potentially fell in.

But Nicola’s sister Louise Cunningham and friend Emma have rubbished the hypothesis.

The pair explained there was “no evidence” that Nicola fell in the water while getting Willow’s tennis ball.

Supt Riley also later admitted there was also nothing to show a slip or fall near the bench where Nicola’s phone was found.

Emma said today: "The hypothesis is based on limited information – I've said before it's a theory – and we sadly can't base life on a theory."

Nicola's disappearance has gripped the nation after she seemingly vanished without a trace ten days ago.

Her mobile was found on a bench near the river's edge still connected to a work conference call.

Nicola’s pet springer spaniel Willow was also discovered – but there is no trace still of the missing mum.

Footage has now been issued of Nicola on the morning she was last seen from her own Ring doorbell camera.

The mum can be seen loading the car outside her home before heading off for the school run.

Nicola began her walk along the towpath to the River Wyre at 8.43am after dropping her two children off.

Police say around seven minutes later, a dog walker who knows Nicola saw her walking around the lower field with her springer spaniel Willow.

The witness said their two dogs interacted briefly before she left Nicola via the river path.

At 8.53am, the mum sent an email to her boss at Exclusively Mortgages.

She then logged into a Teams call at 9.01am and was seen around nine minutes later on the upper field walking Willow.

Police say at 9.30am, the work call ended but Nicola stayed logged on.

At around 9.35am, the mobile and Willow were found at a bench by the river but there was no sign of Nicola.

There is a ten-minute window where police cannot account for Nicola's movements.

This is between 9.10am – the last confirmed sighting – and 9.20am when Nicola's phone is believed to have been on a bench while connected to a work call.

Nicola has been described as white, 5ft 3ins tall with light-brown shoulder-length hair.

She was last seen wearing an ankle-length black quilted gilet jacket with a black Engelbert Strauss waist-length coat underneath and black tight-fitting jeans.

She had long green walking socks tucked into her jeans, ankle-length green Next wellies, a necklace and a pale blue Fitbit on.

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Nicola has an Essex accent and links to the Thornton-Cleveleys area near Blackpool.

Anybody with information about where she might be is asked to call 101, quoting log 473 of January 27, or ring 999 for immediate sightings.

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