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Nicola Bulley has been missing for three weeks and was last seen with her dog Willow.

Nicola Bulley has been missing for three weeks and was last seen with her dog Willow.

What’s up? Police continue to investigate the disappearance of dog walker Nicola Bulley after revealing the missing woman was struggling with alcohol and menopause.

Bulley, 45, disappeared on January 27 while walking her dog Willow in St Michael’s on Wyre. She was last seen in the area around 9.10am while her mobile phone and dog harness were spotted on a bench at 9.33am.

On Wednesday, three weeks into the investigation, police released confidential details about Bulley’s high-risk status as a result of “vulnerabilities” brought to the attention of police by her family – prompting an immediate backlash from many quarters and the watchdog of the Police urged to contact Lancashire Police.

Yahoo News UK takes you through the latest developments on Thursday, including a Bulley family statement released in response to the backlash:

Nicola Bulley’s police spark trouble

Criticism from campaigners and MPs intensified on Thursday morning after Lancashire Police released details of Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and menopause the night before.

Among those who questioned the police strategy was Labor MP Stella Creasy, who tweeted: “The decision to disclose so many details about the private life of a missing person without evidence that it will help find them , is deeply disturbing to make it clearer why any of this is helping to find Nicola Bulley or aid in this investigation.”

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London, United Kingdom.  29 October 2022. Stella Creasy, Labor MP for Walthamstow in Trafalgar Square, joins protesters at the Halloween-themed national protest organized by Pregnant Then Screwed, taking place in 11 cities, to demand government reform relating to childcare, parental leave and to demand improved parental leave .Credit: amer ghazzal/Alamy Live News

Stella Creasy described herself as “deeply disturbing” at the police press conference. (Alamy Live News)

Conservative MP and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Alicia Kearns, added: “I am deeply uncomfortable that the police are publicizing Nicola Bulley’s so-called ‘soft spots’ on menopause and alcohol. I’m struggling to figure out how this will help the police in their search and investigation. I see how it would help those who want to blame or diminish the victim.”

Later on Thursday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman asked Lancashire Police for an “explanation” as to why aspects of the missing Nicola Bulley’s private life were being disclosed.

A number of other elected officials and activists questioned the police’s latest move, while former homicide detective Martyn Underhill told Yahoo News UK: “It’s extremely unusual to go into such detail and what a message that sends to every woman in the world Planet struggling with menopause?”

Diving expert Nicola Bulley would have done things differently

The veteran diver, who was conducting a search of the River Wyre near where Bulley was last seen, said Thursday he would have searched differently had police told him of the “vulnerabilities” that led to it Bulley has been classified as a high-risk missing person.

A police search and rescue team in Knott End-on-Sea, Lancashire, on the south side of Morecambe Bay, as police continue their search for missing woman Nicola Bulley, 45, who last found two weeks ago on the morning of Friday January was seen, 27, when she was spotted walking her dog on a footpath by the nearby River Wyre.  Picture date: Friday February 10, 2023. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)

A police team in Knott End-on-Sea, Lancashire are continuing their search for missing Nicola Bulley, 45. A veteran diver has shared his frustration that police didn’t tell him the missing woman was classified as high risk. (Getty)

He told Sky News: “If someone is trying to drown themselves or if they’re in a weird mental state, they might just wander somewhere. She could be lying in a ditch, she could have wandered into the forest.

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“So that’s the point with a vulnerable person, you don’t know where they’re going to go. It would have changed our whole quest.”

Police guard dog on alert

It has also emerged that Lancashire Constabulary was contacted by the police station after the press conference where they outlined Bulley’s struggle with alcohol.

Although no specific statement from Lancashire Police appears to have prompted the move, it came after the press conference in which Police detailed Bulley’s weaknesses and confirmed they were moving on April 10.

It emerged later on Thursday that Lancashire Police referred themselves to the independent Bureau of Police Conduct

The statement of the Bulley family

Following backlash over Lancashire Police’s decision to release intimate details about the missing woman, her family released a heartfelt statement, saying they had been made aware of the contents of the press conference in advance.

Candles are lit around a photograph of Nicola Bulley (left) and her partner Paul Ansell on an altar at St Michael's Church in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for missing wife Nicola Bulley, 45 , who was last seen two weeks ago on the morning of January 27 walking her dog on a footpath by the nearby River Wyre.  Picture date: Friday February 10, 2023.

Candles are lit around a photograph of Nicola Bulley (left) and her partner Paul Ansell on an altar at St Michael’s Church in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire.

In the statement, released by Lancashire Police, Nicola Bulley’s family said public focus had “been diverted from the search for Nikki and more towards speculation and rumors surrounding her and Paul’s personal lives”.

The family said they knew police were releasing the private details about Bulley, adding an emotional request to get in touch: “Nikki, we hope you’re reading this and know that we love you so much and your girls want to cuddle. We all need you at home. You can contact us or contact MissingPeople.org.uk. Don’t worry, we all love you so much.”

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Investigation by Nicola Bulley

Third parties may be involved, says the ex-homicide detective (Yahoo News UK)

Bulley had a “crisis” after stopping taking HRT for menopause, the family revealed (The Telegraph)

An up-to-the-minute look at the crucial 24 hours that Nicola Bulley disappeared (The Telegraph)

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