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The search and rescue specialist leading the hunt for Nicola Bulley is a former paratrooper who investigated the ‘Spy in the Bag’ case and murders of April Jones and Nicola Payne.
Peter Faulding, a world-renowned forensics expert and founder of Specialist Group International, and his team of divers have been brought in to help find missing mother-of-two. He has vowed if she is in the river he will find her ‘in minutes’.
Police say their primary theory is that Ms Bulley, who vanished while walking her dog near the River Wyre in Lancashire more than a week ago, slipped or fell into the river, despite not having found any evidence of this.
Mr Faulding, who calls himself a ‘human mole’, has been brought in to assist on several cold cases and has successfully located human remains – most of which were found in remote locations or underwater – that had gone undetected for years.
These include the cases of Ms Payne – a young mother who went missing while walking across wasteland in Coventry in 1991 – and the so-called ‘Spy in the Bag’ case of MI6 agent Gareth Williams, who was found dead in a padlocked holdall in a bath in his flat in 2010.
Peter Faulding (pictured today) and his team of divers have been brought in to help find missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley
He and his team, Specialist Group International (pictured), have been brought in to assist on several cold cases and has successfully located human remains – most of which were found in remote locations or underwater – that had gone undetected for years
Specialist Group International (pictured) works with police, fire and other government agencies to help with rescue and missing persons missions
He has even trained military members and police search advisers in the UK and acted as a guest instructor with the US Secret Service, FBI and American military.
Specialist Group International works with police, fire and other government agencies to help with rescue and missing persons missions.
The highly disciplined team, led by Mr Faulding, uses cutting edge technical rescue and specialist search equipment to help locate missing people and human remains.
But before he was a world-leading confined space rescue and forensic search specialist, Mr Faulding, of West Sussex, trained with the London Fire Brigade and UK’s Search & Rescue Teams in collapsed structure shoring and specialist rescue techniques.
He then was selected for the elite Parachute Regiment and served in the military as a parachutist for six years, according to the biography on his website.
The rescue expert’s career seemingly took off in 1996 after he was tasked with safely removing environmental protesters from man-made tunnels under the proposed route of the Newbury Bypass.
The following year he made headlines for removing anti roads protester Swampy from tunnels under the proposed route of the A30 Honiton Bypass.
His work in protester removal operations led him to be a key adviser to the Home Office’s ‘Policing of Environmental Protest’ group.
Mr Faulding (pictured) is a former paratrooper who investigated the ‘Spy in the Bag’ case and murder of April Jones
Mr Faulding helped remove anti roads protester Swampy from tunnels under the proposed route of the A30 Honiton Bypass. Pictured: Swampy protesting a Manchester Airport expansion in 1997
Mr Faulding also assisted with the cases of Scottish serial killer Peter Tobin (left) and missing five-year-old April Jones (right) who was abducted and killed in 2012
In addition to his work with protesters, Mr Faulding has assisted with on several high-profile missing persons cases and ‘no body’ murder investigations.
He was involved in the search efforts for five-year-old April Jones who was abducted and killed in 2012 as she played on her bicycle close to her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid-Wales.
Former slaughterman Mark Bridger, 48, who kept child porn and pictures of dead children on his laptop, lured April into his car and drove her to his remote home before brutally sexually assaulting her, killing her and disposing of her body. He was jailed for life in May 2013.
Mr Faulding also assisted with the cases of Scottish serial killer Peter Tobin, who is believed to be one of the UK’s worst ever serial killers.
He brutally claimed the lives of 15-year-old Vicky Hamilton, Angelika Kluk and Dinah McNicol, although he is thought to have committed other murders.
Kluk’s body was found hidden under the floorboards of a Glasgow church in 2006.
The bodies of the other two victims were found buried in the garden of his former home in Margate, Kent 17 years after they went missing. Tobin, who died last year, had previously been convicted of raping two 14-year-old girls in 1993.
Mr Faulding (pictured) pioneered the use of this technology in missing persons searches and has become a world leader in underwater search techniques
Pictured: Members of the Specialist Group International team who also served in the military
In 1998 Mr Faulding went to the US to conduct research on using ‘side scan sonar’ and ‘ground penetrating radar’ to help locate missing people and remains.
He pioneered the use of this technology in missing persons searches and has become a world leader in underwater search techniques.
He is a registered expert with the National Crime Agency – Specialist Operations Centre and helped train some of the UK’s search teams.
He has also presented to specialist teams with the US.
Additionally, Mr Faulding is a qualified commercial diver, helicopter and fixed-wing pilot and holds a pilot’s licence in both the US and UK.
Today Mr Faulding and his team are searching for Ms Bulley who disappeared while walking her dog in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire more than a week ago.
Mr Faulding told The Mirror this morning: ‘If Nicola is in there, we will find her. If she’s there, our sonar will pick her up straight away. I will see a body on the bottom. We are dealing with about ten drownings every summer. We always locate within the hour. It’s that quick, it’s that good.’
He said he thinks Ms Bulley, 45, would not have gone far if she did fall in due to the shallow depth, but the shock of the cold water could have ‘taken her breath away’.
However, he believes she could have been able to get herself out and that she would not be dragged down.
‘Normally people would scream out and I don’t know if there was other people in the area but you’d scream out, you’d flap around and the dog would normally maybe stay with the owner. There’s something, in my opinion, not quite right here,’ he added.
Nicola Bulley, 45, was last seen over a week ago walking next to the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire
Independent underwater rescue team Specialist Group International use sonar equipment onboard a RIB boat today in the search for missing Nicola Bulley
Members of the Specialist Group International continue to search River Wyre for Nicola Bulley who is currently missing in Lancashire