A man driving through Nicola Bulley’s village the day before she disappeared says he saw two men wearing hoods and acting “strangely”, it has been reported.
The mum-of-two was last seen at St Michael’s in Wyre on the morning of January 27 and her phone and dog were discovered shortly afterwards.
The unnamed witness said he was driving through the tiny Lancashire village on his way to work at around 7.45am. on January 26, when he spotted the couple in the cemetery of a local church.
He told the Sun on Sunday: “I saw two men wearing dark clothing and hoods or hats and holding fishing rods.
“They could have been just two regular fishermen, and if I’d seen their faces I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it.
“But I remembered that they seemed to want to hide their faces, which I thought was strange.
“It wasn’t particularly cold that day – it was quite mild, so their behavior seemed strange to me.”
He also said he “saw” one of the men again the following day at around the same time – less than an hour and a half before Nicola was last seen.
The man said he went to police with the information on the Monday after she was reported missing and then called twice the following Friday and the Monday after that.
Police only returned him two days after his third call, he said.
He told the paper: “It’s disappointing. It would have been much better if they had spoken to me immediately, as it was fresher in my mind.”
In recent days, friends and family of Nicola have left many messages of hope and support with yellow ribbons on a bridge near St Michael’s in Wyre.
Among them was her partner Paul Ansell, who has been at the center of a high-profile campaign to draw public attention to the disappearance.
He and others close to Nicola have cast doubt on the police belief that he fell into the River Wyre while walking her dog Willow.
Speaking to Channel 5’s Dan Walker last week, Paul said he was “100 per cent sure” that didn’t happen, adding: “People don’t just disappear into thin air, it’s absolutely impossible.”
Nicola’s neighbor Charlotte Drake agreed when she spoke to Metro.co.uk, saying: “As neighbors and friends we’ve all been saying since 11am the first day the police turned up… ‘She’s not in that river’ .
“My gut feeling remains the same. I honestly think Nikki is not in the water.’
In their latest update on Facebook, Lancashire Police said they still believe she fell into the river and stressed there was “absolutely nothing” to suggest anything bad had happened to her.
The post continued: “Unfortunately, we continue to see baseless and harmful abuse of innocent people, including witnesses and local businesses, which is completely unacceptable.
“We also continue to see a huge volume of comments from so-called experts, ill-informed speculation and conspiracy theories that damage the investigation, the community of St Michael’s and, worst of all, Nicola’s family.
“It has to stop”.
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