The family of Nicola Bulley have released a statement after Lancashire Police attracted criticism for releasing personal information about Ms Bulley following her disappearance.
In the statement, relatives of Ms Bulley made it clear that they were aware of the personal information that was going to be released by Lancashire Police and that this information was going to be put into the public domain to stop ‘more about speculation and rumours into her and Paul’s private life’.
The 45-year-old has been missing since 27 January after vanishing when she took her dog for a walk by the River Wyre in Lancashire.
In the statement, a spokesperson for the family concluded that Ms Bulley would not have wanted the information to be released but added that the information was released to stop “people out there speculating and threatening to sell stories about her.”
But rather than condone the individuals who were threatening to sell stories about Ms Bulley, many sections of the mainstream media have instead condemned Lancashire Police for releasing the information, despite their clear reasons for doing so.
The family statement reads:
“Our sole focus throughout the investigation has been to find Nicola, to bring her home and to support her family through the trauma they are experiencing. The most important person in all of this is Nicola.
“As we approach the three-week anniversary of her going missing on Friday, 27 January, we remain committed to doing everything we can to find her. Nicola’s family have asked us to issue a statement from them.
“It has now been three weeks since Nikki went missing. We, as a family, believe that the public focus has become distracted from finding Nikki, and more about speculation and rumours into her and Paul’s private life.
“As a family, we were aware beforehand that Lancashire Police, last night, released a statement with some personal details about our Nikki.
“Although we know that Nikki would not have wanted this, there are people out there speculating and threatening to sell stories about her. This is appalling and needs to stop.
“The police know the truth about Nikki and now the public need to focus on finding her.
“Due to the peri-menopause, Nikki suffered with significant side effects such as brain fog, restless sleep and was taking HRT to help but this was giving her intense headaches which caused Nikki to stop taking the HRT thinking that may have helped her but only ended up causing this crisis.
“The public focus has to be on finding her and not making up wild theories about her personal life.
“Despite what some media outlets and individuals are suggesting, we are being updated daily and receive support from our family liaison officers.
“Nikki is such a wonderful daughter, sister , partner and mother and is missed dearly – we all need you back in our lives.
“Nikki, we hope you are reading this and know that we love you so much and your girls want a cuddle. We all need you home. You can reach out to us, or you can contact MissingPeople.org.uk. Don’t be scared, we all love you so very much.”
In a statement released on 15th Feb, Lancashire Police said:
‘We are acutely aware that there has been and continues to be a huge amount of commentary and speculation which is damaging to the investigation, and we want to take you through exactly what we have been doing over the last 20 days.
‘Nicola was reported missing at 11am on Friday, January 27th and, due to vulnerabilities reported to us at the time, was immediately graded as a high-risk missing person.
‘Nicola’s family continue to be our absolute focus, and our thoughts remain with them. We have specially trained officers who continue to support them and update them daily.
‘We have described how Nicola had some vulnerabilities at the time she went missing, and we just wanted to expand on that a little.
‘Sadly, it is clear from speaking to Paul and the family that Nicola had in the past suffered with some significant issues with alcohol, which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause and that these struggles had resurfaced over recent months. This caused some real challenges for Paul and the family.
‘As a result of those issues, a response car staffed by both police and health professionals attended a report of concern for welfare at Nicola’s home address on January 10th. No one has been arrested in relation to this incident, but it is being investigated.
‘It is an unusual step for us to take to go into this level of detail about someone’s private life, but we felt it was important to clarify what we meant when we talked about vulnerabilities to avoid any further speculation or misinterpretation.’