Nicola Bulley’s cause of death has been confirmed.
The 45-year-old disappeared on January 27 while walking her dog after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, off at school.
Her dog was found shortly after, along with her phone – which was still connected to a work conference call – on a bench by a steep riverbank.
A few weeks later on February 19, a body was discovered on the River Wyre – which is about a mile away from where she was believed to be walking – and this was confirmed to be Bulley.
Watch as a body is found in the river during the search for missing Nicola Bulley…
An inquest into her passing proceeded and now her cause of death has now been confirmed.
Dr James Adeley, the senior coroner for Lancashire, told the hearing at County Hall, Preston, that Bulley died from drowning in the freezing cold water.
He also added at the hearing – which was attended by her partner Paul Ansell and her family – that no foul play was involved nor was a third party.
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Professor Michael Tipton, an expert on the effects of falling into cold water, gave evidence during the inquest about how the body typically responds after plunging into a river where the temperature was 10C.
He explained: “It would only take one or two breaths to cross the lethal dose for drowning.
“Someone in that situation would have around 25 seconds before they lost consciousness.”
Police diver Matthew Thackray added that the photos of the riverbank where Bulley was last seen – which were shown to the hearing – highlight how the steep ‘cliff edge’ into the water where she fell was.
He mentioned that there was ‘steady flow downstream’ on the day and that the temperature of the river was four degrees – describing it as ‘almost freezing’.
“If she fell in, the muscles would probably seize, making it difficult to swim properly,” he explained.
Thackray also believes that Bulley would have floated at about a ‘metre a second’ downstream.
Dr Alison Armour, who also gave evidence at the hearing, said that there was ‘no evidence’ Bulley had not been injured nor was she subject to an assault before she fell in the river.
She confirmed that the mortgage advisor died as a result of drowning and was alive when she fell into the water.
Dr Adeley asked Dr Armour: “At the time of her death she had no alcohol in her bloodstream?” to which she responded: “That’s my opinion.”
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