No evidence Nicola Bulley was harmed before she drowned, inquest hears

There is no evidence Nicola Bulley was harmed before she drowned in the River Wyre, a Home Office pathologist has said.

Dr Alison Armour, giving evidence at an inquest at County Hall in Preston, said watery fluid and fragments of dirt found inside Ms Bulley’s body were “typical features we see in cases of drowning”.

She added that Ms Bulley had not been drinking before her death.

The 45-year-old mortgage adviser vanished while she was walking her dog after she had dropped her two daughters at school in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire on the morning of 27 January.

Her disappearance sparked an intensive search operation and her body was eventually found more than three weeks later in the River Wyre.

Ms Bulley was walking her dog Willow when she was last seen. The springer spaniel was found shortly after, along with her mobile phone, which was discovered on a bench beside a steep riverbank.

The phone was still connected to a work conference call.

Both police and media faced criticism after her body was found in the river around a mile downstream from the bench, on 19 February.

Amid speculation over Ms Bulley’s disappearance, Lancashire Police revealed she had struggled with alcohol and perimenopause, prompting widespread criticism over the decision to disclose her personal information.

Last month, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced it would not take any enforcement action against the force over its disclosure of her personal information.

Meanwhile, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) cleared the Lancashire force of any wrongdoing but said it had identified two “areas of learning” over an officer’s contact with Ms Bulley prior to her disappearance.

The inquest is expected to last two days.

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