The specialist diver who joined the search for missing mum Nicola Bulley, 45, has been defended by a former police officer after being made a “scapegoat”.
Peter Faulding, from Specialist Group International (SGI), has been described as “one of the world’s best” after being criticised along with Lancashire Constabulary over Ms Bulley’s disappearance in Lancashire.
Mr Faulding spent two and a half days scanning a three-mile stretch of the River Wyre between St Michael's and Cartford Bridge after offering to help search for the missing mum-of-two.
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Having failed to find the body with his sonar equipment, Mr Faulding explained that his technology cans water but is unable to check reeds where Ms Bulley’s body was found.
Former detective Mark Williams-Thomas has defended Mr Faulding and his team after criticism has been made to him online.
He wrote: "Pete Faulding is a friend & went up to help for free-he will think b4 offering help again.
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“He & his teams ability is amongst the best in the world to find bodies on land & water.
"He has been made a scapegoat, Lancashire police searched that whole area already before Pete arrived."
Ms Bulley was last seen walking her spaniel Willow in St Michael's on Wyre in Lancashire on January 27.
After several days of searching, she was found in the River Wyre on February 19.
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Mr Faulding said he refused to be the "fall guy" for the way the operation was handled after making previous comments saying he was “baffled” and stating he did not believe Ms Bulley was in the river.
He explained: "My previous comments said that if Nicola was in the river, I would find her, still standing.
My team and I at SGI did all we could to assist this family with only our best intentions. I am sure I can say this of everyone who has been involved in this difficult search."
Lancashire Constabulary were also criticised over their handling of the case after revealing personal information about Ms Bulley’s health.
The force decided to release personal details on Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and the menopause.
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