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Nicola Bulley PA

Media watchdog writes to ITV and Sky after complaint from Nicola Bulley's family

Her family questioned the role of the media during the investigation.

UK MEDIA WATCHDOG Ofcom has said it is “extremely concerned” by comments from the family of Nicola Bulley about media behaviours and it has written to ITV and Sky “to ask them to explain their actions”.

The body of the 45-year-old was recovered from the River Wyre in Lancashire on Sunday after she was last seen on 27 January.

Yesterday, her family questioned the role of the media during the investigation, saying: “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,” the family said.

“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.

“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.”

A spokesperson for Ofcom said today: “We are extremely concerned to hear the comments made by the family of Nicola Bulley about two broadcast licensees.

“We have written to ITV and Sky to ask them to explain their actions. We will then assess whether any further action is required.”

It is understood Sky News had open two-way dialogue with Nicola Bulley’s family and the police since she was reported missing.

Lancashire Police has faced criticism over its investigation after the woman was reported missing, including why it took 23 days to find her body in the river, and for releasing some aspects of her private life into the public domain.

A public backlash and interventions from the Government and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper followed, with the force confirming a date had been set for an internal review into the investigation.

Downing Street said it expected Lancashire Police to be “transparent” about its internal investigation into the handling of the case.

Asked today whether British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak believed an independent, external review would be necessary, his official spokesperson said: “Our position is to allow the existing process to report back.

“We would expect them to detail their findings and then obviously we will consider the next steps as appropriate.”

Pressed on whether the internal process would see the force just “marking their own homework”, the spokesperson said: “These are long-established processes and we would expect the force to be transparent in their findings.

“That does not preclude further work at the end of that.”

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