Nicola Bulley sleuth Peter Faulding reveals bizarre claims he FOUND her body 6 minutes into hunt – but cops ignored him | The Sun

A DIVING "expert" has bizarrely claimed he found Nicola Bulley's body after just six minutes of searching – but police ignored him.

Peter Faulding was today slammed in a report into Lancashire Police's handling of the case for causing "unwarranted distress".

The so-called diving expert was called in to help with the search for Nicola, 45, after she vanished on January 27.

Her family had contacted his Specialist Group International (SGI) company after he branded the police's equipment "low-level".

Mr Faulding today released an astonishing, seven-page statement claiming he found Nicola's body.

The expert, who has assisted police in missing person cases, said the discovery was made just six minutes into asearch of the River Wyre near where the mum was last seen by a bench.

Mr Faulding claimed he was "totally sure" the shape was a human as it was "the shadows of two arms and two legs".

He said he informed the police, who told him the "target" was nothing, so he "conceded that maybe I was wrong".

Mr Faulding later said Nicola was "categorically not" in the water where police were certain she had fallen in.

But in today's statement, the diver claims he revisited his sonar readings and was certain he had found Nicola.

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He said: "It became clear when enhancing the images with the sonar software tools that the target which I had located was without adoubt Nicola.

"I had in fact found Nicola at 10.34am on 7th February 2023 after just 6 minutes of searching."

Nicola's body was discovered on February 19 – three weeks after she vanished.

The tragic find was made less than a mile from where Mr Faulding had entered the water and claimed to discover the body.

He put the distance down to Nicola floating down the river "under the cover of winter darkness" and into the tidal section.

His claims come as the report today found Lancashire Police felt some of his behaviour and activities "caused challenges to the investigation".

Although police were wary of using Mr Faulding, they feared a negative response so gave permission for him to carry out a search.

As a result, The Sun and other publications quoted him as he was presented as a legitimate expert helping the search.

But Mr Faulding informed Nicola's family he had identified a "body deposition site", which police later said caused unwarranted distress and false alarm.

The expert later said Nicola was "categorically not" in the water where the force repeatedly said she fell in.

After her body was discovered, Mr Faulding claimed he was "not tasked to search the reeds".

The report said: "It is the view of Lancashire Constabulary that Mr Faulding had a significant impact on the investigation and public confidence through his activities and his engagement with the media.

"The review team considers that some of his actions created a more challenging environment for the investigation team.

"His public statements often contradicted the investigative and operational approach, leading to confusion for the public and reducing the family's trust in the investigation and search operation."

The 143-page report put forward 17 recommendations as it criticised the force for “insufficient focus” and errors of judgement.

It found the disclosure of personal details about Nicola’s life was “avoidable and unnecessary”.

The force sparked fury when it revealed information about Nicola’s struggle with alcohol and the perimenopause.

Nicola's disappearance gripped the nation after it was revealed her mobile was found on a bench by the river still connected to a work conference call.

Her pet springer spaniel Willow was also discovered – but there was no trace still of the mum-of-two.

The case saw the tiny village of St Michael’s on Wyre flooded with amateur sleuths all desperate to solve the mystery.

Front gardens were trampled on by social media ghouls and family and friends targeted as rumours reached fever pitch.

The disclosure by police that Nicola had "vulnerabilities" added fuel to speculation surrounding her disappearance.

An inquest in the summer ruled Nicola's death was an accident after she fell in the water and suffered "cold water shock".

Mr Faulding was not invited to give evidence at the inquest.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, who leads the College of Policing, said: “Throughout our work we have had Nicola’s family and friends in our thoughts.

“The purpose of the review was not to attribute blame but identify areas of learning for the constabulary and wider policing.

“The decision to not call the investigation a critical incident, despite it meeting the national definition, set the tone within the constabulary and led to several challenges.

“The most notable of these was the way the constabulary released personal information about Nicola which was avoidable and unnecessary.

“While we have not shied away from criticism, there are also many areas of Lancashire Constabulary’s response that should be commended, including an exemplary investigation and a well-conducted search.

“At the heart of the investigation was Nicola. I am left in no doubt that she and her family were foremost in the minds of officers and staff throughout the search.”

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