A DIVE “expert” has been criticized in a report after giving Nicola Bulley’s family false hope when he was drafted in to help with the search.
Faulding claimed Lancashire Police had “deep diving equipment” when she became desperate for Mummy.
Nicola’s family then contacted his company, Specialist Group International (SGI), and the police to assist in the search.
A report into the police’s handling of the case was published today, which also examined Mr Faulding’s role.
It emerged Lancashire Police felt some of his behavior and activities were “complicating the investigation”.
Although police were wary of using Mr Faulding, they feared a negative reaction and therefore gave him permission to carry out a search.
But Mr Faulding told Nicola’s family that he had identified a “body dump” which police later said caused undue stress and false alarms.
The expert later said Nicola was “categorically not” in the water, which emergency services said she repeatedly fell into.
After her body was discovered, Mr Faulding claimed he was “not tasked with searching the reeds”.
TheThe study, led by the College of Policing, found police investigators had been told SGI had no better equipment than their own.
However, a family friend’s note expressed a “strong message that refusal to field the team” would result in a “negative press release to the media.”
The report said the force felt it was in an unenviable situation and so asked Mr Faulding to carry out a sonar search.
As a result, The Sun and other publications cited him as portraying him as a legitimate expert who helped with the search.
The report states: “This is itLancashire Constabulary said Mr Faulding had had a significant impact on the investigation and public confidence through his activities and involvement in the media.
“TheThe team believes that some of his actions created a more difficult environment for the investigation team.
“His public statements were often at odds with the investigative and operational approach, causing confusion among the public and reducing the family’s confidence in the investigative and search operation.”
The 143-page report contained 17 recommendations and criticized the force for “insufficient concentration” and errors in judgment.
The disclosure of personal information about Nicola’s life was “avoidable and unnecessary”.
Police sparked anger when they revealed information about Nicola’s battle with alcohol and perimenopause.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh, who heads the College of Policing, said: “As we work we have been thinking of Nicola’s family and friends.
“The purpose of the review was not to apportion blame but to identify areas where police and the wider police force can learn.
“The decision not to classify the investigation as a critical incident, despite meeting the national definition, set the tone within the police force and led to several challenges.
“Most notable was the manner in which police released personal information about Nicola, which was avoidable and unnecessary.
“While we have not shied away from criticism, there are also many areas of Lancashire Constabulary’s response that are commendable, including an exemplary investigation and a well-executed search.
“The focus of the investigation was Nicola. I have no doubt that she and her family were at the forefront of the minds of officers and staff throughout the search.”
Nicola’s disappearance shocked the nation after it was revealed her mobile phone was found on a riverside bench, still connected to a work conference call.
Her Pet Springer Spaniel Willow was also discovered – but there was still no trace of the mother of two.
The case resulted in the small village of St. Michael’s on Wyre being inundated with amateur detectives, all desperately trying to solve the mystery.
Read more at the Scottish Sun
As the rumors reached their peak, front yards were trampled by social media ghouls and family and friends were targeted.
An investigation inruled Nicola’s death was an accident after she fell into the water and suffered “cold water shock.”