The dog who found Nicola Bulley’s phone on a bench has spoken about when he made the crucial discovery.
Sky News recreated the walk the 45-year-old missing mum took before she disappeared from St Michael’s in Wyre on January 27.
In an incredible coincidence, the man who first spotted the phone was walking his dog at the same time.
He gave his name as Ron and explained that he came across the device on a nearby bench around 9.30am that morning.
He said he initially thought someone had dropped his phone when he was “going to the toilet”, but he kept walking and finally thought “it’s not right”.
Ron told Sky News: “Then it was just a progression of things, you know. Because of the wallpaper on the phone we found out who the couple were and the school was contacted and Paul (Mrs Bulley’s partner) arrived.
Ron didn’t know the couple personally, but he recognized their dog Willow and was familiar with their faces.
Mrs Bulley’s disappearance has caught the attention of a whole nation who are desperate to see the beloved mum returned to her family.
On Wednesday, Lancashire Police issued a press release detailing Mrs Bulley’s health problems.
They said: “Unfortunately, it is clear from talking to Paul and the family that Nicola had previously suffered from some significant problems with alcohol, which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with menopause, and that these struggles had resurfaced in recent months. .
“This has caused some real challenges for Paul and the family.
“As a result of these 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 connection with this incident, but it is being investigated.
“It’s an unusual step for us to go into this level of detail about someone’s privacy, but we felt it was important to clarify what we meant when we talked about vulnerabilities to avoid further speculation or misinterpretation.”
The force has since faced heavy criticism for revealing something so private to the public and has been accused of sexism.
The former victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s a terrible mistake to put it in the public domain for absolutely nothing and I’m afraid I think it’s as sexist as it sounds.
“Would we have the cops saying, you know, if it was Nicholas, unfortunately he was laced with alcohol because he’s been suffering from erectile dysfunction for the last few weeks? I think not.
“You can hear all the senior cops cringing as I say that, I’d think so.”
Nicola’s family have said they believe the public focus on her private life has distracted from finding her.
At a press conference six days after Nicola disappeared, police initially said their “main working case” was that the mortgage adviser fell into the river during a “10-minute window” between 9.10am and 9.20am that day.
They went on to say her disappearance is not being treated as suspicious.
Meanwhile, friends and neighbors of Mrs Bulley, including her neighbor and friend Charlotte Drake, continued to flock to a bridge over the Wyre to put up yellow ribbons with messages saying they still hoped she would be found safe and good.
Timeline of events in the case of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley
Lancashire Police have released a timeline of events for Nicola Bulley‘small last known movements.
Friday January 27th
8.43 am – Nicola walked the path beside the River Wyre, having dropped her children off at school
8:50 am (about) – A dog walker – someone who knows Nicola – saw her walking in the lower field with her dog. The two dogs interacted briefly before the witness left the field via the river path
8.53 am – She sent an email to her boss
9.01 am – Joined a Teams call
9.10 am (about) – A witness – someone who knows Nicola – saw her in the upper field walking her dog, Willow. Work continues today to establish exactly what time this was.
9.30 am – The Teams call ended but Nicola remained connected
9.35 am (about) – Nicola’s mobile phone and Willow were found on a bench by the river by another dog walker.
10.15 am – She was reported missing after a walker found her dog loose along the local river.
Contact our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.