The family of missing British mother Nicola Bulley has slammed “appalling” public speculation about her private life after police revealed she had ongoing problems with alcohol and the menopause.
The 45-year-old went missing on January 27 while walking her dog along the River Wyre in Lancashire, northern England.
Lancashire Police said on Wednesday Bulley was listed as a high-risk missing person because of “specific vulnerabilities” and initially declined to elaborate.
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However, they later revealed that the mother-of-two had “some significant issues with alcohol” and “ongoing struggles with menopause.” Police were called on January 10 for a report of concerns for the welfare of her home.
Authorities shared the personal details in what they felt was an “unusual move” to avoid “further speculation or misinterpretation” about the previously mentioned vulnerabilities.
The revelation was widely called “outrageous” and “troubling” online, but police said they informed Bulley’s family before making the confession.
Zoe Billingham, a former police warden and chair of an NHS mental health trust, said she was “deeply disturbed” by the release of the information as the search continued.
“I have to wonder if some in Lancashire Police are putting their reputation protection ahead of their focus on finding Nicola,” she said on Twitter.
English author and TV presenter Fern Britton added that she was “uncomfortable” at the news.
“The undertone is that maybe she’s ‘a bit unstable’ or maybe even ‘out of her mind,'” she tweeted. “It’s too easy to write off a woman like that. What’s behind it?
Bulley’s family on Thursday urged the public to stop speculating about her personal life.
“We as a family believe that the public’s focus has been diverted away from finding Nikki and more towards speculation and rumors surrounding her personal life,” they said in a statement.
“As a family we were aware that Lancashire Police released a statement last night containing some personal details.
“Even though we know Nikki wouldn’t have wanted it, there are people out there who threaten to sell stories about her. This is appalling and needs to stop.”
Bulley’s family said the 45-year-old was taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with side effects of perimenopause like brain fog and restless sleep – but the treatment gave her a severe headache.
“The headache led Nikki to stop HRT because she thought it might have helped her but ended up causing this crisis,” they said. “The public focus needs to be on finding her and not inventing wild theories about her personal life.”
The family contacted Bulley directly, urging her to return home.
“Nikki, we hope you’re reading this and knowing that we love you so much and want to cuddle your girls. We all need you home,” they said. “Have no fear, we all love you so much.”
The search continues
Friday has been three weeks since Bulley was last seen and despite a full investigation, more questions than answers remain.
Bulley was seen by several people on her walk and took a Teams call — silently and with the camera turned off — but remained logged in after the call ended at 9:30 a.m. local time.
Her phone was discovered minutes later on a riverside bench, still connected to the call, while her dog, Willow, was wandering around alone.
Police have previously said their main theory is that Bulley fell into the river in the 10-minute window between dropping her phone on the bench and finding it.
However, extensive searches by police divers have not found a body.
Lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith said thousands of people had contacted police with information about Bulley’s disappearance and that officers were “inundated with false information, allegations and rumours”.
Authorities are treating it as a missing persons case and do not believe it is suspicious.
https://7news.com.au/news/world/missing-uk-mum-nicola-bulleys-family-slams-appalling-revelations-as-search-continues-c-9783089 Nicola Bulley latest: Missing British mother’s family slams ‘appalling’ revelations as Lancashire Police search continues