Nicola Bulley: Handling of case referred to police watchdog as inquest into death of mum-of-two opens
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The handling of the disappearance of Nicola Bulley is set to be probed by a police watchdog. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed it was investigating a visit made to Ms Bulley’s home as part of a welfare check by officers from Lancashire Police on January 10 - just over two weeks before the mother-of-two went missing on January 27.
An IOPC spokesperson said: “Following a referral by Lancashire Constabulary on Thursday (February 16) we have started an independent investigation regarding contact the force had with Nicola Bulley on 10 January 2023. We were notified by the force that an officer attended the family home on that date as part of a welfare check.
“Our thoughts are with Ms Bulley’s family and friends and all of those affected by her death. Our investigation is in its very early stages.”
Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner Andrew Snowden has also commissioned the College of Policing to review the case, including Lancashire Police’s release of personal information about Ms Bulley. Officers were criticised for revealing the 45-year-old had been suffering from alcohol issues brought on by struggles with the menopause at the time of her disappearance.
Mr Snowden said that Lancashire Police had “done their utmost” but “the narrative has been lost at times”. He added: "My job is to hold the police to account for providing an efficient and effective policing service, and now that the investigation and search is concluded it is right we ask those questions around why that information was released and make sure that is properly reviewed.”
It comes as an inquest into the death of Ms Bulley opened at Preston Coroner’s Court today (Wednesday, February 22). No cause of death was provided during the four-minute inquest opening and the case has been adjourned until June.
Ms Bulley’s body was found in the River Wyre by walkers on Sunday (February 19), just over three weeks after she vanished while walking her dog in the village of St Michael’s. She was found around a mile from a bench where her mobile phone was recovered and her dog was found running loose.