“Cruel” and “attention-seeking” psychics and armchair detectives have been slammed for speculating about what happened to missing Nicola Bulley. The mum of two hasn’t been seen since last Friday when she disappeared while on a walk with her dog on a path alongside the River Wyre.
Police say they believe she fell into the river, in the village of St Michael’s-on-the-Wyre in Lancashire, and that her disappearance is not suspicious.
But this has not stopped self-proclaimed psychics and armchair detectives from sharing baseless theories about what they think has happened to the 45-year-old.
One psychic seems to think Nicola was wearing wellies and was grabbed from behind and abducted by someone.
Another claimed the mum was in the river and clinging to branches.
And armchair detectives have shared their theories online with many speculating there was criminal involvement, despite the police detectives believing there was no-one else involved.
One of Nicola’s friends spoke to the Daily Mirror about the distress the speculation is causing her friends and family.
The friend, who did not want to be named, said: “I feel she [the psychic] could have got the information about the wellies from the media.
“It has been well documented what she was wearing. I think this is very distressing for friends and family to read.
"Has she taken her information to the police? Is she willing to travel to the area and show the police where these marks are because they have not found anything?
"Other psychics have said she is in the water clinging on to branches. Why are they all seeing differently? They are not all right!"
READ MORE: Mystery over why Nicola Bulley's dog was found without harness
She says she thinks this is a way of "attention seeking" during a time of distress. And internet sleuths have been sharing appeals and information on social media.
But some have also been using the pages to spread unfounded rumours.
Addressing them, Nicola’s friend added: "I’d say please remember that this is someone’s partner, mummy, daughter, sister and friend.
"They do not know anything about the people involved. They perhaps need to find a better way of occupying their time.
"They could do something more useful and proactive with their time… help search, share posters, etc but allegations are cruel and unhelpful."
Lancashire Police's Superintendent Sally Riley also said today that the speculation was "really distressing for the family and for Nicola’s children".
Police say their “main working hypothesis” is that Nicola fell into the River Wyre and that “this is not suspicious but a tragic case of a missing person”.
Speaking to reporters at the village hall, Supt Riley said: "We have not found Nicola - but our search continues."
She said their search had stretched 15 kilometres to the coast and that officers have officers have scoured footage from CCTV and dashcams and have carried out door-to-door enquiries to try and paint a picture of what happened.
The officer added: “This has allowed us to eliminate any trace so far of Nicola having left the riverside, which is really important.
“We believe that Nicola was in the riverside area and remained at the riverside area.
“We remain open to any inquiries that might lead us to question that, but at this time we understand that she was by the river.
“Our main working hypothesis, therefore, is that Nicola has sadly fallen into the river, that there is no third party or criminal involvement and that this is not suspicious, but a tragic case of a missing person.”
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Also today, police released an updated description of Nicola.
She is described as white, 5ft 3ins tall, and has light brown shoulder-length hair, and speaks with an Essex accent.
When she was last seen she was wearing a long, ankle-length black quilted gilet.
She had a black Vector coat underneath which had long sleeves and came to her waist.
She was wearing tight black jeans and had long green walking socks tucked into her jeans.
She was wearing ankle-length green wellington boots from Next.
Her hair was tied into a ponytail. She was wearing a necklace and a pale blue Fitbit.
Anybody who has seen Nicola, or has information about where she might be, is asked to call the police on 101, quoting log 565 of January 30.
For immediate sightings call 999.