Police reveal Nicola Bulley had 'significant issues with alcohol'

Police reveal Nicola Bulley, 45, was deemed ‘high risk’ because she had ‘significant issues with alcohol after struggling with early menopause’ and officers visited her home less than three weeks before she vanished

  • Today police said Nicola Bulley was ‘high-risk’ due to ‘specific vulnerabilities’ 
  • In another statement they clarified the vulnerabilities in an ‘unusual step’

Nicola Bulley suffered ‘significant issues with alcohol brought on by ongoing struggles with menopause’ Lancashire police have revealed.

The mother-of-two, who went missing while walking her dog along the River Wyre in St Michael’s on January 27, reportedly had struggled with both issues in recent months.

The police also revealed that on January 10, officers did a welfare check at the 45-year-old’s home address ‘as result of those issues’.

The force confirmed that no one has been arrested in relation to this incident, but it is being investigated.

The police said it is an ‘unusual step’ to reveal such detail about someone’s private life, but that they we felt it was ‘important to clarify’ what they meant by ‘vulnerabilities’.

Lancashire Police revealed that mother-of-two Nicola Bulley, 45, had been struggling with alcohol issues brought on by ongoing struggles with menopause

The police said it is an ‘unusual step’ to reveal such detail about someone’s private life, but that they we felt it was ‘important to clarify’ what they meant by ‘vulnerabilities’

Nicola, 45, had been struggling with menopause, experts say women go through the menopause at the age of 51 years on average, although it can begin when someone is anywhere between 40 and 58 years old.

During this period the body goes through major hormonal changes, as the ovaries stop making estrogen and progesterone.

In the early stages this triggers hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings among other symptoms.

READ MORE: Police debunk nine ‘persistent myths’ about Nicola Bulley’s disappearance 


Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith holds a press conference into Nicola Bulley’s disappearance

Earlier today experts revealed that ‘high risk’ missing people are assessed to be ‘very likely’ to be at risk of ‘serious harm’, as they claim ‘she did not fall in river’.

Lancashire Police said that Nicola was immediately graded as ‘high-risk’ due to ‘specific vulnerabilities’.

The definition of a high-risk missing person is when the ‘risk of serious harm to the subject or the public is assessed as very likely’, according to the College of Policing.

In a highly-detailed public briefing from Lancashire Police earlier today, the force said it had an open mind but said there was no evidence anyone was involved.

It revealed Ms Bulley’s long-term partner Paul Ansell had told them of a ‘number of specific vulnerabilities’ that caused them to treat her disappearance as ‘high risk’.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith said: ‘As soon as she was reported missing, following the information that was provided to the police by her partner Paul, and based on a number of specific vulnerabilities that we were made aware of, Nicola was graded as high-risk.

‘That is normal in a missing person investigation with the information we were in possession of. As any senior investigating officer does, you form a number of hypotheses, that is scenarios which are possible from the information to hand.’

Lancashire Police said that Nicola was immediately graded as ‘high-risk’ due to ‘specific vulnerabilities’

‘No evidence to indicate a criminal aspect or third party involvement’ in Nicola Bulley’s disappearance, Lancashire Police Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson said to a press conference this morning.


While police doubled down their theory that Nicola had fallen into the river, expert diver Peter Faulding said: ‘There’s nothing to say she hasn’t just walked off somewhere.’

Mr Faulding said it was possible for someone to just walk away from their life before re-appearing sometime later.

The search and rescue specialist said there were ‘well documented’ cases where missing people have simply ‘wandered off’ before turning up weeks later.

And he believes it might be difficult to rule out any ‘third party’ involvement or other scenarios concerning her disappearance.

He added: ‘High-risk could be someone who has just walked off, literally.

‘A lot of colleagues have dealt with all sorts of stuff where people are missing and then they turn up alive, where they have just wandered off.

‘It happens with people with mental health problems and all sorts. It’s well-documented that people just walk off and are found days, or weeks later.’

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