POLICE have confirmed that a body found in the River Wyre by members of the public is that of Nicola Bulley.

In a press conference, police confirmed the news, with Lancashire Police Assistant Constable Peter Lawson saying: “Sadly, we are now able to confirm that yesterday we recovered Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre.

“Nicola’s family have been informed and are of course devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community.

“We recognise the huge impact that Nicola Bulley’s disappearance has had on her family and friends, but also on the people of St Michael’s.

East Lothian Courier: (PA) The body was confirmed to be Nicola Bulley(PA) The body was confirmed to be Nicola Bulley (Image: PA)

“We would like to thank all of those who have helped during what has been a hugely complex and highly emotional investigation.

“Today’s development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted, but we hope that it can at least start to provide some answers for Nicola’s loved ones, who remain foremost in our thoughts.”

The 40-year-old mother of two's body was found just after a sharp bend in the river, about half a mile downstream from the village of St Michael's.

Bulley was reported missing more than three weeks ago on January 27 after dropping off her children at school and while on a walk with her dog along the River Wyre.

The family also released a statement, saying: “We will never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments and that will never leave us.

“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.

“And it saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family.

“This is absolutely appalling, they have to be held accountable this cannot happen to another family.

“We tried last night to take in what we had been told in the day, only to have Sky News and ITV making contact with us directly when we expressly asked for privacy. They again have taken it upon themselves to run stories about us to sell papers and increase their own profits. It is shameful they have acted in this way. Leave us alone now.

“Do the press and other media channels and so called professionals not know when to stop? These are our lives and our children’s lives.

“To those who genuinely helped and supported us, privately, we thank you. The community support in St Michael’s, friends, neighbours and strangers has been nothing short of comforting and heart-warming. Friends you know who you are. Thank you.

“Our hearts truly break for others who have missing loved ones. Keep that hope alive.

“Finally, Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found, we can let you rest now.

“We love you, always have and always will, we will take it from here.”

Recently, there were concerns over the handling of the investigation after Lancashire Police shared personal information about her, namely her "significant issues with alcohol" which were "brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause".

The Prime Minister expressed his views on this, saying he was "concerned that private information was put into the public domain" .