Inside Nicola Bulley dive expert’s career – MI6 spy, ‘SAS’ eviction and drunks

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    A specialist brought in to assist in the hunt for missing mum Nicola Bulley has had a remarkable career spanning British special forces, MI6 mysteries, serial killers and water-based tragedy.

    Peter Faulding, the founder of Specialist Group International (SGI), is “a world-leading confined space rescue and forensic search specialist” with a background in the Parachute Regiment, and is an expert in confined spaces and protest removal.

    Now, he’s headed to the river Wyre in Lancashire to assist in the hunt for missing dog walker Ms Bulley who went missing on January 27.

    READ MORE: 'Issue' with missing Nicola Bulley's dog may have led her to tragedy at river's edge

    Serving six years in the elite Parachute Regiment special forces unit, Peter became an expert in protest removal, pulling activists out of confined spaces, often saving lives.

    His career later took him to the USA where he researched side scan sonar, leading the charge on its forensic use, becoming “a world leader in underwater search techniques”.

    From here he has gone on to work in a variety of remarkable and complex cases – often in cases when there is “no-body” involved.

    One particularly perplexing and infamous 2012 case is that of MI6 agent Gareth Williams, who was found decomposing and naked zipped up inside a bag.

    Faulding and another specialist tried to fit himself in a similar bag more than 400 times.

    • Police's theory Nicola Bulley fell into river is rubbished by forensic expert

    Talking to the inquest at the time he said: “I couldn’t say it is impossible, but I think even Houdini would have struggled with this one.”

    He added: “Mr Williams was either placed in the bag unconscious, or he was dead before he was in the bag.”

    Peter is no stranger to challenging work searching bodies of water.

    In 2013, he was involved in efforts to save a “drunk” man who drowned in the Thames after he tried to swim across the river.

    A man in his 20s was reported by eyewitnesses to have missed the last ferry home and tried to swim across but was dragged under as he approached the far bank.

    The man tragically drowned despite the efforts of two 15-year-old boys who tried to save him.

    Within three hours of the incident, SGI had recovered the man’s body.

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    Speaking at the time, Peter said: “He entered the water with a rucksack on and got into difficulty as he tried to swim to the other side.

    “He was recovered in two metres of water.”

    In scenes similar to the famous SAS raid on the Iranian embassy in London in 1980, Peter was part of a remarkable squatter eviction project in the capital in 2022.

    Wearing black masks, members of SGI – which is based in Dorking, Surrey – abseiled down the side of Bloomsbury House to carry out a “respectful removal”.

    "We've always built a good relationship with protesters. In all the incidents we've dealt with we've never had an accident or aggression.

    "These people in this building were squatters, so it was a different approach, but despite it being a 'raid' we try to be kind and respectful. It probably looked a bit like the siege. But like anything military, it's all about safety."

    In another remarkable case, Peter searched the home of Scottish serial killer Peter Tobin, where he managed to recover the knife the monster used to kill 15-year-old Vicky Hamilton.

    In 2019 following the tragic death of six-year-old Lucas Dobson, who fell into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent while fishing with his family, Peter was part of a new campaign to boost river safety.

    He and Lucas’ dad Nathan Dobson met to launch a new range of lifejackets with the little lad’s face on.


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