The Daily Telegraph
Family say they are ‘stuck in a nightmare’
Paul Ansell likened the past seven days to “a dream”, and as he spoke with admirable composure about his missing partner, Nicola Bulley, he appeared to be a man yet to absorb the awful reality his family now faces.
Standing near the bank of the Wyre in a knitted bobble hat and scarf, he said he “didn’t want to think” about how he was coping, and was keeping himself going by putting his “whole focus” into supporting their daughters, aged six and nine.
It was the first time Mr Ansell, 44, had spoken in public about the disappearance of 45-year-old Ms Bulley, and came hours before police revealed their “working hypothesis” is that she fell into the river.
Earlier in the week Ms Bulley’s parents Ernest, 73, and Dot, 72, and her younger sister Louise Cunningham, had faced the cameras to say they were “stuck in a nightmare” with no evidence of what happened to her.
Ms Bulley is originally from Essex, but moved to Blackpool, where she was briefly married to businessman Simon Booth.
After meeting Mr Ansell and starting a family with him, the couple bought their current home in the village of Inskip, about three miles from where she went missing.
Mr Ansell, originally from Blackpool, is an electrical design engineer working in the automotive and aerospace industries.
He started his career at the sports car manufacturer TVR, and has worked for Bentley and for BAE Systems, where he designed components for Eurofighter Typhoons.
Both Ms Bulley’s parents and Mr Ansell’s parents live in the Blackpool area, around 11 miles from Inskip. In his spare time Mr Bulley is a singer in a band, and describes the heavy metal group Guns N’ Roses as his favourite in social media posts.
On the day she went missing Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser, had dropped the couple’s children off at the local school in the village, before walking the family’s dog, Willow, a springer spaniel in nearby St Michael’s on Wyre.
Ernest Bulley, who owns a freight transport company with his wife, said earlier in the week: “We just dread to think we will never see her again, if the worst came to the worst and she was never found, how will we deal with that for the rest of our lives?”
Mr Bulley had said his granddaughters had been “sobbing their hearts out” after being told “Mummy is lost”.
Ms Bulley is “very close” to her sister, according to their parents, who said the siblings had been planning a spa break together the day before Nicola went missing.