Police visit to Nicola Bulley’s home days before she went missing investigated by watchdog

Police confirmed on Monday that the body of Nicola Bulley has been found – Family Handout

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched an investigation into a welfare check on Nicola Bulley carried out days before she was last seen.

The watchdog said it would investigate the visit to her home residence by Lancashire Police on Jan 10. The 45-year-old vanished while walking her brown cocker spaniel after dropping her two daughters off at school on the morning on Friday 27 Jan.

It comes after a Coroner’s Court heard that Ms Bulley’s body was identified through dental records, at an inquest opened on Wednesday in Lancashire.

Opening the inquest, senior coroner Dr James Adeley said he had contacted consultant maxillofacial surgeon Ian Edwards to ask him to compare dental records obtained by police from the Great Eccleston dental surgery.

He said: “He examined the body that was located in the River Wyre near Rawcliffe Road in St Michael’s on Wyre at 2.15pm on Feb 20.”

Dr Adeley said the surgeon found restorative work carried out was identical.

He said: “I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities, and more, that positive identification has been made of Nicola Bulley and I am satisfied that that is who I will be dealing with throughout.”

He added: “The family have been informed of the date, time and place of the opening of the inquest and have chosen not to attend for reasons I can quite understand.”

Women attach flowers to a footbridge over the River Wyre in tribute to Nicola Bulley in St Michael's on Wyre on Feb 21 - Jeff J Mitchell

Women attach flowers to a footbridge over the River Wyre in tribute to Nicola Bulley in St Michael’s on Wyre on Feb 21 – Jeff J Mitchell

The coroner said the remaining evidence gathered by the police and the post-mortem examination required “further evaluation”.

A full inquest will likely be held in June, once the availability of a Home Office pathologist has been checked to “allow time to collate the facts of the case and allow the experts involved to finalise the findings from investigations that still need to be undertaken.”

The mother-of-two had been missing for more than three weeks when her body was discovered on the banks of the River Wyre, close to Rawcliffe Road in St Michael’s on Wyre, on Sunday 19 Feb.

Ms Bulley’s phone was discovered on a bench by the River Wyre, the dogs harness was found on the grass nearby and the dog was running loose by the river.

Police were called to reports that two walkers had spotted a body on the edge of the river.

Lancashire Police confirmed that the body had been formally identified as Ms Bulley’s on Monday.

In a press conference, Lancashire Police described the investigation into her disappearance as “hugely complex and highly emotional”.

Ms Bulley’s family said in a statement on Monday that they can let her “rest now” following the discovery of her remains.

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