The Daily Telegraph

We’re never, ever going to lose hope of finding her, says partner

Paul Ansell uses first TV appearance to tell of his determinat­ion to stay strong for two daughters

- By Steve Bird and Will Bolton

THE partner of missing Nicola Bulley has told how he is struggling to cope because each new line of inquiry explored to try to trace the mother of his two children hits “a brick wall”.

However, Paul Ansell insisted he would “never lose hope” despite it appearing as though Ms Bulley had “vanished into thin air”.

The 44-year-old electrical engineer was speaking to television broadcaste­rs a week after Ms Bulley disappeare­d while walking her dog near the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, on Friday, Jan 27.

Mr Ansell said he “cannot get his head around” how his 45-year-old partner disappeare­d, adding that despite feeling he was in a “dream” he had to stay strong for their daughters.

Speaking near the scene where Ms Bulley, originally from Essex, was last seen, he told broadcaste­rs: “Every single scenario comes to a brick wall. Every single one of them.

“All we are doing is sitting there going round and round and round thinking of every scenario – and, then go back to the first scenario again and do the whole thing again. It’s all day long. That is all we are doing.”

He added: “We’re never, ever going to lose hope, of course we’re not, but it is as though she has vanished into thin air. It’s just insane.”

Asked how he was managing, he said: “I don’t know how I am coping. I don’t want to think about that.”

He insisted that his “whole focus is my two girls”, and he was “hoping to goodness” that someone would come forward with new informatio­n after Ms Bulley’s parents and sister gave an emotional interview.

He added: “It is just about the girls. That’s it. I’m there for them. I don’t want to really elaborate on that. I don’t want to take my eye off that.”

However, Mr Ansell was eager to “say a massive thank you” to friends, villagers and the wider local community which had come out in force to help the search for his partner.

“It’s amazing. It is,” he said. “That level of support is out of this world. It gives us a great amount of comfort knowing that is going on. We don’t have anything else, do we?”

He added: “I just can’t believe that it’s a week on and as yet it seems like we are no further on. It just seems absolutely impossible. It’s like a dream. I can’t get my head around any of it.” Mr Ansell’s interview came the day after Ms Bulley’s sister, Louise Cunningham, told broadcaste­rs that “something has got to have been missed”, adding: “Somebody must know something. People don’t just vanish into thin air.”

Appealing for any potential witnesses to come forward, she said: “There has got to be somebody who knows something and all we are asking is, no matter how small or big, if there is anything you remember that doesn’t seem right, then please reach out to the police. Get in touch and get my sister back.”

Ms Cunningham said she feels as though she is “stuck in a nightmare” and the family was “going round and round in circles trying to piece together what could have possibly happened.”

Ms Bulley’s friends have been part of the search and have spoken about the impact of her disappeara­nce on her children.

Emma White, told the BBC: “Seven days on, such a tough milestone today for all the family and friends. We’re out in force today.

“We’ve had banners made, placards with her face, so the idea is that seven days on there might be someone that’s passing today that passed last Friday, that might be able to shed that glimmer of hope we need.”

She added: “They are the most closeknit family. Those poor girls asking questions, ‘where’s mummy, how is mummy’.”

Ms Bulley’s father, Ernie, told how their lives felt “emptied” and “at the end of the day we just want her back.”

The family, originally from Essex, all now live in the north of England.

Mr Ansell has been with Ms Bulley for 12 years. They live in Inskip with their two daughters, aged six and nine.

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