Dear online ‘detectives’, Nicola Bulley’s disappearance isn’t your chance at going viral
An influencer was arrested last week for travelling to film the location Nicola went missing
The tragic disappearance of 45-year-old Nicola Bulley has had so much attention over the last few weeks. Her story has been shared everywhere from real life to online. But police and Nicola’s family have voiced concern for the growing interests around her tragic case. According to authorities, there have been a scary amount of armchair detectives and conspiracy theorists hypothesising and sleuthing on social media to the extent it’s been described as harmful and last week, one of them was arrested.
Last week, Lancashire police issued a 48-hour dispersal order for the village to close where Nicola went missing by the River Wyre. This was down to the hundreds of people turning up to the scene as though it was a movie set. One group of men travelled to the area in order to search for an abandoned house and live-stream their search for Nicola. Even on Facebook there are multiple groups sharing dozens of “leads” a day. Not to mention the spike in Google search there is for Nicola Bulley, her husband, the river, an abandoned house, a glove and people hunting for Reddit threads about her disappearance.
TikToker Dan Duffy was arrested after travelling to film in the village Nicola Bulley was last seen. The news followed the lead investigator in the case slamming amateur sleuths coming to the area and acting as “wannabe detectives.” Dan Duffy, from Darwen, was detained by police on Friday on a public order offence and issued a fine. Video footage of the arrest was uploaded to YouTube by Dan himself on his channel Exploring with Danny, which has well over 200,000 subscribers.
There are Facebook groups dedicated to sharing ‘leads’ in Nicola’s case
The Facebook groups are too much, just last week Nicola’s friends condemned “vile” theories which were spreading online. This one group has over 32,000 members and it’s full of people sharing their advice, calling out to Nicola Bulley telling her to come home. The group itself is branded with the hashtag “Come home Nikki,” they have shortened her name as if they know her.
One person suggested Nicola is afraid to contact someone as she is scared. They posted to the group with 32,000 members saying: “Nikki, don’t be afraid to contact someone for fear of people being angry with you. No one is judging you, if you needed time out they will understand. People will just be so relieved you are okay. I’m 49 near your age and life gets on top of you for various reasons, we all have something that makes us struggle. Everyone will understand trust me. If you have any way of making contact with Detective Becky Smith, call her. She seems like a really kind, understanding lady who will have seen so many scenarios in life. I think she genuinely cares. Don’t be afraid to call, she’d be thrilled to hear from you. Really hope you are okay.”
Another person shared their theory about Nicola’s disappearance in a huge post which has caused even more speculation in the comment section.
People are obsessed with Nicola having mental health issues
The armchair detectives were lapping it up yesterday during a press conference when the police issued a statement claiming Nicola is a “high-risk” missing person due to having vulnerabilities. Immediately people started searching for them, scouring all parts of the internet to try and pin down exactly what her vulnerabilities were.
The group of people who are obsessed with true crime are dangerous. From podcasts to Reddit threads – people are dedicated to cases they convince themselves they can solve. True crime nature has made people feel entitled to forcing their way in on cases. Crowd-sourcing theories and attempting to throw leads out online in hopes they will solve the case. But they won’t, obviously.
Anyone with information which could assist the investigation should call 101 quoting log 0565 of January 30th, or for immediate sightings please call 999
• It’s seriously time to stop using the Idaho murders case for TikTok clout
• Two teenagers have been arrested and charged with the murder of Brianna Ghey
• ‘Beautiful, witty and hilarious’: Tributes pour in for ‘much-loved’ Brianna Ghey