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Nicola Bulley died as result of drowning and was alive when she went in water, inquest finds

The two-day inquest will resume today

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Family handout & Tom Richardson / Wikimedia

The Nicola Bulley inquest heard the mum-of-two died as a result of drowning, she was alive when she entered the water, and that there was no evidence of third party harm.

The inquest, which began yesterday morning, Monday June 26th, saw family, friends, experts and witnesses take their seats at Preston Coroner’s Court for the hearing. 

The mortgage advisor’s body was found on February 19th, about a mile down the River Wyre from where she fell into the water, at St Michael’s on Wyre.

Two women said they’d heard a scream on the morning of January 27th, the day Ms Bulley was last seen walking her dog Willow by the river.

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Experts heard how the shock of the cold water could cause a person to gasp and just two breaths was enough to prove fatal, causing them to drown within 10 seconds.

Pathologist Dr Alison Armour, who carried out the post mortem on Ms Bulley’s body just two days after it was discovered, was asked if there was evidence of any third party involvement. 

Coroner Dr James Adeley asked her if Ms Bulley showed evidence of being ‘assaulted or harmed’ prior to her death, to which Dr Armour replied: “No.”

Dr Adeley also asked the Home Office pathologist if Ms Bulley had been drinking before she died.

Tom Richardson / Wikimedia

Dr Adeley asked her: “At the time of her death she had no alcohol in her bloodstream?”

Dr Armour replied: “That’s my opinion.”

The pathologist also said paracetamol and a beta-blocker called propranolol were detected in small amounts, not enough to be considered an overdose.

Dr Armour also said Ms Bulley’s lungs and stomach show classic signs of drowning and it was her opinion she ‘was alive when she entered the water’.

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In a video shown to the hearing, PC Matthew Thackery described a ‘large vertical slope’ near the bench where Ms Bulley is believed to have fallen into the river.

He said the water was about 4C and ‘if she fell in, the muscles would probably seize making it difficult to swim properly’. He also described a ‘steady flow downstream’, which could move at around a metre a second.

Ms Bulley’s parents, Ernest and Dot, her partner Paul Ansell and sister Louise Cunningham, attended the hearing.

The inquest heard there was no ‘trauma’ to Ms Bulley’s neck and an internal examination found ‘classic signs’ of asphyxia.

Family handout

Dr Adeley told the family: “I am sorry that you are attending court under these circumstances. You have my deepest condolences and I would be grateful if you would pass that onto the children, who are not in court for obvious reasons.” 

A huge search operation was initiated by Lancashire police immediately after Ms Bulley’s disappearance, on January 27th, as the 45-year-old was considered ‘high risk’ after her partner Paul Ansell explained to officers she’d been struggling with the peri-menopause.

The case gained wide public interest and attracted many speculators online and visitors to the scene where Ms Bulley had gone missing. There was much criticism aimed towards Lancashire Police’s handling of the case as well as the media for encouraging speculation.

The inquest will resume today, Tuesday June 27th, where Ms Bulley’s partner Mr Ansell and sister Ms Cunningham are set to give evidence.


Stagecoach hiring over 100 new bus drivers for Bee Network with £31k salaries

Fancy a career change?

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Stagecoach Manchester is hiring over 100 new bus drivers to work from its Oldham depot, following the second phase of the Bee Network launch in March.

You can apply for a range of roles, from positions with no experience required to fully qualified bus drivers.

Successful applicants will receive full training as part of the job, and trainees will get paid to train. Then after only 12 months’ service at Stagecoach, drivers can expect to earn up to £16 per hour, which equates to £31.6K per year, before overtime.

As well as that, drivers that already hold a PCV licence may be eligible to receive a £1,200 joining bonus.


There’s also a host of other benefits available to all Stagecoach employees, like 28 days paid holiday, generous pension and free Stagecoach bus travel for successful applicants and a companion.

Rob Jones, Managing Director at Stagecoach Manchester said: “Expanding our offering in Oldham means we’ll be investing more in the economy and supporting our local community, as well as strengthening our workforce.

“Whether you’re looking for a career change or you’re a fully qualified, experienced bus driver, there’s a role for everyone here in Oldham.

“We’re looking for personable and dedicated drivers who are ready to help us build on the success of the Bee Network and connect the people of Oldham and Greater Manchester with the places and people that are important to them.”


Phil Cornwall, bus driver at Stagecoach Manchester, said: “I’ve been a driver at Stagecoach for 25 years and I couldn’t recommend it more.

“From the perks to the people to the passengers, it really is a great place to work.”

To apply, head to the Stagecoach website HERE.

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Two men charged with murder after torso discovered in Salford nature reserve


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Greater Manchester Police

Two men have now been charged with murder, following the discovery of a human torso in Kersal Dale.

As well as that, more suspected human remains were also discovered this morning, Monday April 29th, in an alleyway close to the railway lines off Worsley Road, Eccles.

This follows earlier discoveries of human remains over the past three weeks, at Kersal Dale, Blackleach Reservoir and Colliery Wood, all in Salford.

Greater Manchester Police

Michal Jaroslaw Polchowski (25/04/1956) and Marcin Majerkiewicz (10/04/1982) both of Worsley Road, Eccles, have been charged with murder.

They are set to appear at Tameside Magistrates Court this afternoon.

While formal identification is still ongoing, the remains found at Kersal Dale are believed to be of a local man in his 60s. The remains found at the other three locations are still to be tested, but police are confident they belong to the same victim.

ACC Sarah Jackson said: “We have had large numbers of officers, staff and specialists working diligently on this investigation over the last three weeks. It has been very much a large, collective effort, with the victim and family at the heart of it from the outset.

“We have specially trained officers deployed to support the family as they come to terms with this tragic news. They are aware of this morning’s further discovery and will continue to be kept up to date with how we are progressing.

“Despite the charges brought today, our work is far from over.

“The scenes we already have established in Bury and Salford will remain in place for much of this week whilst our searches and enquiries continue. Local officers will continue to patrol the impacted areas to provide reassurance.

“We will continue following every line of enquiry to recover and reunite the victim with his family, bringing a dignified end to this terrible scenario.

“I’d like to thank the communities of Salford and beyond for their cooperation throughout this investigation. I know this incident has come as a shock, and the support we’ve had from those in the area is very much appreciated.”

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More human remains discovered in Greater Manchester as police identify victim

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N Chadwick / Geograph

Detectives investigating the discovery of a torso in Kersal Dale have found more human remains around Greater Manchester.

GMP released a statement on the weekend, revealing they had opened four scenes for extensive searches – one of them at a warehouse in Bury, and three in Salford.

Searches took place at Blackleach reservoir, where human remains were found, and a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood.

Officers believe they have now identified the man, who they believe to be a man in his 60s that lived in Salford, and his family have been informed.

Two suspects have already been arrested in connection with the murder probe, with officers saying they are thought to have lived with the victim.

Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, Senior Investigating Officer for this investigation, said in a statement at Blackleach reservoir yesterday, Sunday April 28th: “We have continued to make significant progress in our investigation into human remains being found in Kersal earlier this month.

“From day one, our priority has been to identify the man and his family so that we can give them the support and the answers that they need.

“Thanks to meticulous forensic work, we are now confident we have identified the man. Formal identification hasn’t yet taken place, but we believe he is a man in his 60s and lived in Salford.

“Specially-trained family liaison officers have met with his family this afternoon to give them the devastating news, and we will do all that we can to support them at this awful time.

“We believe he is known to the two suspects we have in custody. They have remained in custody for questioning over the weekend, as we work to establish how the victim met this tragic outcome.”

He continued: “We have painstakingly worked to follow up every line of inquiry in this investigation. Over the last couple of days, we have acted on information and had four scenes in place for extensive searches – one of them is at a warehouse in Bury, and three of them are in Salford, including here at Blackleach reservoir.

“Today, we have found some human remains at the reservoir here, and last night a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood. Forensic tests will continue to establish whose remains these are, but we are very confident that this is also the victim in our investigation.

“We have also been searching a house in Winton where we believe the victim and the two suspects lived. We have found evidence that the victim is likely to have died there – most likely in late March.

“While this is significant progress, we know there is still some way to go to complete this investigation. I also recognise details of this case will have been distressing for the people of Salford and beyond – including the officers that are diligently working on this investigation, and most importantly the man’s heartbroken family.

“Local officers will continue to patrol the affected areas, and we will provide updates when we have more information.”

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