An associate of Nicole Bully spoke to the mother-of-two as he texted her asking: “Are you lost?” in the morning she disappeared.
The 45-year-old woman disappeared after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, off at school on January 27 before going for a dog walk along the River Wyre in Lancashire.
Her cell phone was found on a bench by the river, yet on the title of the lot. Experts say she would have drowned “within seconds” from the shock of being in the “freezing” water.
Today, her sister Louise Cunningham wept as she spoke of her brother’s battle with menopause and “increased alcohol consumption” in recent months, as well as her death.
Ms Bulley’s co-worker Paul Ansell then gave evidence and said she questioned her psychological well-being over Christmas, but it was higher in January.
He added: “She had a good day the day before (she disappeared), came home full of beans, excited about work, meetings and plans for the year.
Ms Bulley’s mother, Dorothea, also saw her the day before she disappeared and told today’s inquest that “everything was normal”.
Mother-of-two Nicole Bulley, 45, disappeared on January 27 while walking her dog in Lancashire.
Paul Ansell, Ms Bulley’s partner of 12 years, told the inquest she believed she had gone to harness her dog shortly before she fell into the river.
Mrs Bulley’s sister Louise Cunningham broke down as she spoke of her brother’s struggle with menopause and her “increased alcohol consumption”.
The inquest today heard how a crisis response vehicle was sent to Ms Bulley’s home in January after concerns were raised about her drinking.
The next day she was hospitalized due to a fall.
Ms Cunningham said her sister was struggling with menopausal symptoms at Christmas 2022.
She told the coroner: She discussed some symptoms with HRT, this happened in the summer (2022).
“She had a headache, she couldn’t balance, she said she had trouble sleeping. She used lavender spray, herbal teas and anything that relaxes her before bed.
At Christmas 2022, Ms. Bulley stopped taking HRT and spoke over a household meal about how she was “struggling” with it again, Cunningham said.
She added: “She had a bit of a slump over Christmas (2022) and in January she was back to herself – back on HRT meds, back to work and back to normal Nikki.”
On January 10, an emergency response vehicle was sent to Ms Bulley’s residence after Cunningham raised concerns about her increasing alcohol consumption since Christmas 2022 and never wanting to have “contact” with her two daughters.
She was on the mattress when Theresa Lewis Leavy, a psychological welfare psychiatrist, went upstairs to see her and was clearly “intoxicated”, she suggested listening.
“She didn’t want to start the conversation,” she mentioned. “Frankly, the interaction was pretty short.”
The following day, Ms Bulley was seen in the emergency department of Blackpool Victoria Hospital after injuring her head again in a fall the night before, and an inquest was recommended.
She had a CT scan of her head, but there was no evidence of damage. The court’s inquiry has not been told at what stage it was supported.
Ms Cunningham said she called 911 on January 10 because she was “disturbed” and needed “calm down”.
She then mentioned that Mrs Bully was ‘absolutely furious’ with her for raising her issues, but described it as a ‘bit of a wake-up call’ for her sister.
“She was my sister, I was worried,” she mentioned.
Ms Cunningham mentioned that she could not bear in mind that her sister gave feedback about “not wanting to be here”.
“She never confided in me about suicidal thoughts or anything like that.”
She mentioned that Ms Bully stopped taking HRT after Christmas 2022 because it “doesn’t do much”.
But after a word of psychological well-being, she mentioned that her sister took it again, cut back on the alcohol and turned to work as a mortgage adviser.
Mrs Cunningham’s coroner asked if her sister would have left Willow by the river on purpose if she needed to harm herself.
“Absolutely not,” she replied.
“There is no way Nikki would voluntarily leave Willow unattended.
Ms. Cunningham mentioned that she deliberately chose a spa day shortly before his sister’s death.
“I literally confirmed it was booked, but she didn’t take the message,” she mentioned when we spoke.
Previously, Mrs. Bullia’s family doctor, Dr. Rebecca Gray revealed in late 2022 how she struggled to sleep and complained that her mind felt “overwhelmed”.
She first saw Ms Bulley for signs of anxiety in December 2018, prescribing anti-depressants, but later switched her to beta-blockers after she developed tremors.
In July 2021, she started complaining of hot flashes, was diagnosed as postmenopausal, and started taking HRT.
Workers from Specialist Group International, a private underwater search and recovery firm, on the River Wyre on February 6
dr. Gray mentioned that Ms Bulley had made further appointments to change her prescription due to unintended consequences.
But shortly before Christmas she complained that she was having “difficulty sleeping” and “her brain felt like it was on overload”.
She had never talked about suicide or thinking about self-harm, she added.
When asked if she had ever expressed suicidal thoughts, Paul Ansel mentioned that she made “a few throwaway comments” as much about her disappearance, “but nothing that would have worried me”.
Mr Ansell said she thought she was trying to re-use the household dog, Willow, when she went missing.
The 44-year-old said they were aiming to take the spaniel off his leash sooner than getting into the river fields where Ms Bully trained him on the morning of January 27.
He mentioned that this is to keep the dog from going into the bushes, and mentioned, “Because she’s a jumper, she’s very fickle.”
They then strapped her back on after arriving at the gates of a riverside financial institution where her cell phone was later discovered earlier than heading back to the car.
The technician mentioned that her usual Friday morning routine was to call in to work, while walking what Teams called with her cell phone on speaker.
Coroner Dr. James Adeley asked for his opinion on why a dog harness was discovered between the financial institution and the river.
He replied: “I think she must have put the phone on the sofa, listened to it and then put the strap back on Willow.”
Mr Ansel mentioned that his co-worker was “always a planner”, constantly updating the kitchen calendar with all the household’s upcoming activities, while bringing a “spontaneous nature” to the connection.
He said in his testimony: “Niki was a quiet person who liked the simple side of life.
“She was a very private person and kept to herself.”
He then started crying and was taken away.
On the first day of the inquest yesterday, I learned how Mrs Bully’s dog Willow was discovered on a bench near the ‘cliff of rocks’, making it almost inconceivable that anyone who had fallen could have got out without help. come on
When she was told throughout her mobile phone name that her mobile phone and Willow had been found, her associate Paul Ansell mentioned: “She’s struggling, the inquest heard.
Retired councilor Susan Jones said she received a call at around 10am on January 27 from Penny Fletcher who found Willow and the phone.
She then came across Ms Fletcher’s daughter-in-law, known only as Anne-Marie, who recognized Ms Bully from a photo on her phone’s lock screen.
Anne-Marie called the local school and also spoke to Mr Ansel, who had said she was ‘having a hard time’. The mortgage broker’s body was found more than three weeks later and just over a mile downriver.
As Mr Ansell, 44, and parents Dot and Ernie wiped away tears, the pathologist dismissed the abuse and said she was alive when she entered the water.
Two witnesses told the hearing that they independently heard a short scream coming from the direction of the river about the time she was last seen.
But the inquest was told the police timeline showed it was likely she was already in the water at the time.
Mrs Bulley disappeared after dropping off her daughters, aged six and nine, at St Michael’s-on-Wyre, after which she went for a walk with her dog.
A little after 9:30 a.m., a local businesswoman found Vitols by the river “dizzy” and not wearing a seatbelt.
Her cell phone, however, associated with her morning Teams name, was discovered near the bench. Hundreds of volunteers took part in the police investigation, but with no knowledge of her physique, novices scoured social media for outlandish theories.
Police were criticized after it was revealed she had a ‘significant drinking problem’ stemming from her battle with menopause.
Her physique was discovered on February 19 and identified by dental information.
During the inquest at Preston County Hall, police diver Matthew Terry mentioned the river bank at the same level where Ms Bulley is believed to have disappeared had a steep “cliff edge” in “freezing” water.
dr. James Adeley, the senior coroner, asked: “If you tried to brace yourself in the water, would it be possible?” “Not at all,” he replied.
Professor Michael Tipton, an expert on the effects of falling into cold water, said that simply taking two breaths underwater in the river, which was only 3.6 °C (38.5 °F) that day, was a “lethal dose for drowning”.
“I think if Nikki had fallen into the water where we saw it, there’s a very good chance that the first breath would have taken place with her head submerged,” he said.
dr. Patrick Morgan, HM Coastguard’s medical director, suggested that even if she had managed to gasp for air earlier than standing, it was unlikely she could have held her breath for more than ten seconds.
Helen O’Neill, a nurse who lives near the financial institution, said she heard a “scream” on the morning of the disappearance.
At the same time, tennis coach Veronika Klaazen heard “a very short scream”. The court’s investigation will be completed as we speak.
The judicial investigation is ongoing.