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28th Jun 2023

Partner’s heartbreaking final text to Nicola Bulley sent hours before she vanished

Steve Hopkins

By Steve Hopkins

A corner has ruled Nicola’s death as accidental.

An inquest into the death of Nicola Bulley on Tuesday (27 June) has revealed the heartbreaking text her partner sent her on the morning she disappeared – sparking a massive three-week search.

The 45-year-old disappeared after dropping off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school and taking her dog for a walk along the River Wyre in Lancashire, on 27 January. Her phone was found later that day on a bench by the river, still on a work call, and the dog was running free.

After 24 days her body was found about a mile away in the river by dog walkers.

The inquest into Nicola’s death began Monday and heard that she drowned, with Home Office pathologist Dr Alison Armour saying watery fluid and fragments of dirt found inside Nicola’s body were “typical features” seen in “cases of drowning”.

And on Tuesday, senior coroner James Adeley concluded that Nicola fell into the river and drowned, recording a verdict of accidental death.

There was no evidence of alcohol in her bloodstream or the involvement of any third party in causing her harm.

Evidence from world-leading experts on cold water shock suggested Nicola would have died in seconds after inhaling water.

Nicola’s partner, Paul Ansell, told the inquest that he texted his partner of 12 years asking: “Have you got lost?” on the morning she vanished.

Giving evidence, he explained that Nicola had experienced a “blip” in her mental health over Christmas but was better by January.

Ansel said: “She had a good day the day before [she went missing], came home full of beans, excited with work, with the meetings she had and plans for the year.”

Nicola’s mum, Dorothy, also saw her on the evening before she went missing and told the inquest that “everything was normal” while her dad, Ernest, said the family shared a “lovely evening”.

The last words his daughter said to him, he told the inquest, were about her plans to “close a deal”.

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