Nicola Bulley drowned after accidentally falling into river, inquest concludes
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Nicola Bulley drowned after accidentally falling into a river, an inquest has concluded.
Ms Bulley, 45, vanished after dropping off her daughters, six and nine, at school, and taking her usual walk with her dog along the River Wyre in St Michael’s, Lancashire, on 27 January.
Dr James Adeley, senior coroner for Lancashire, concluding the inquest into her death at County Hall, Preston, on Tuesday (27 June), expressed his condolences to the family, who were present throughout the hearing.
He recorded her death as accidental as she fell into the river and suffered 'cold water shock', ruling out suicide.
Ms Bulley’s mobile phone, which was still connected to a work Teams call, was found on a bench overlooking the water.
Her body was found in the river about a mile from the bench on 19 February.
Dr Adeley said it was likely that Nicola entered the river at 9.22am when her Fitbit recorded a significant spike in her heart rate.
The senior is currently unable to determine exactly what caused Nicola to enter the cold water.
He said: "On January 27 at around 9.22am Nicola Jane Bulley fell into the River Wyre and died almost immediately".
Dr Adeley also said 'there is an absence of any evidence' that Nicola intended to take her own life, after her GP, Dr Rebecca Gray, confirmed she showed no signs of being suicidal prior to her disappearance.
Dr Gray, told the hearing: "There is nothing on the notes or records from 2012 where there's been any mention of her feeling suicidal or of self-harm."
Dr Adeley continued to rule out natural causes, stating: "The only remaining conclusion is accidental death and this is what is recorded."
At the scene, Dr Adeley made his way down the river from the bench were Ms Bulley’s phone was last seen to the location where her body was found.
Her FitBit watch was still showing signs of an active heartbeat for a whole eight days after she went missing, which is believed to have caused by the movement of the water between the watch and her wrist.
In a statement at the time, her heartbroken family said they will 'never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments', adding: "That will never leave us."
The statement went on: "We will never forget Nikki, how could we, she was the centre of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that.
"Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most."