How expert diver leading search for Nicola Bulley lives on farm with family, alpacas and emus
An expert diver dubbed the ‘Human Mole’ who is leading the desperate search for missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley lives on a farm with his family, alpacas and emus and released a new book last week.
Peter Faulding, a forensic expert and founder of Specialist Group International, was brought in to assist Lancashire Police on Monday but has yet to find any evidence that Ms Bulley slipped or fell into the River Wyre on January 27.
His specialist team today carried out searches around the bench where Ms Bulley’s phone was found and travelled around a kilometre upstream using specialist sonar equipment.
He has said that if his team cannot locate the 45-year-old in the river, then he will believe she is not in the water and would therefore be unable rule out ‘third-party involvement’ in her disappearance.
Mr Faulding, a father-of-three, has become a world-renowned expert after working on a number of high-profile cases including 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, a forensic expert and founder of Specialist Group International, was brought into assist Lancashire Police on Monday
His specialist team today carried out searches around the bench where Ms Bulley’s (pictured) phone was found and travelled around a kilometre upstream using specialist sonar equipment
He was also involved in the investigation into the disappearance of Nicola Payne, a young mother who went missing while walking across wasteland in Coventry in 1991.
Mr Faulding, who calls himself a ‘human mole’, has worked with police on hundreds of cases in the south east, where his team is based, and is regularly brought in to help with cold cases.
He has successfully located human remains – most of which were found in remote locations or underwater – that had gone undetected for years.
The diving expert has also 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.
Mr Faulding lives on a farm in West Sussex and regularly takes to social media to post pictures of his Garman Shepherd dog, as well as his llamas and ‘Eddie the Emu’.
He is married to Adele, who also regularly uploads pictures of the family’s various pets and animals on the farm.
Mr Faulding also this week released a new book, What Lies Beneath, in which he details his daily job of ‘recovering bodies, finding discarded remains, identifying unmarked graves and saving people from locations and situations too dangerous for the normal emergency services’.
The 304-page memoir also recalls Mr Faulding’s involvement in some of the UK’s most infamous murder cases – including serial killer Peter Tobin and the Helen McCourt murder.
The book was launched at an event with family and friends in Dorking on Friday, with comedian Alan Carr in attendance.
It will also tell of how his 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.
Mr Faulding (pictured with comedian Alan Carr) also this week released a new book, What Lies Beneath, in which he details his daily job of search and rescue operations
Mr Faulding lives on a farm in West Sussex and regularly takes to social media to post pictures of his Garman Shepherd dog, as well as his llamas and ‘Eddie the Emu’
He is married to Adele, who also regularly uploads pictures of the family’s various pets and animals on the farm
Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, had already captured the public’s imagination and gained notoriety as a mastermind behind complex and fortified tunnels.
Writing for the Mail on Sunday last month, Mr Faulding told of how his first encounter with the protester subsequently blossomed into an unlikely bond.
He wrote: ‘We examined the entrance of a tunnel called Big Momma. There were four people inside, including Swampy (real name Daniel Hooper) and Muppet Dave (he had a dog called Muppet).
‘Over the following days, Swampy and I spoke many times as I worked my way along the tunnel. Every morning I would find he had moved further away, behind a door or some other obstacle. We chatted about regular things and it was always good-humoured. I built up trust with him.’
He added: ‘When we finally shored to the bottom of the shaft, I peered into the 12in ‘worm’ tunnel where Swampy had wedged himself, but couldn’t see a thing.
‘”Your time’s up,” I told Swampy. “Have a cup of tea and let’s get out of here before we both get buried.” Swampy was calm and reasonable. He’d been underground for nine days, surviving on water, cold baked beans and Frosties.
‘We shook hands, and Swampy emerged from Big Momma on January 30, 1997, to an explosion of flashing cameras.’
Mr Faulding’s 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
Specialist Group International (pictured) works with police, fire and other government agencies to help with rescue and missing persons missions
Pictured: Members of the Specialist Group International team who also served in the military
Mr Faulding (pictured) pioneered the use of this technology in missing persons searches and has become a world leader in underwater search techniques
His interest in confined spaces began as a child, where he would regularly explore disused mines and caves in Merstham, Surrey, with his father John.
Mr Faulding was initially called into help firefighters and specialist rescue teams with collapsed structure shoring techniques, before going through Parachute Regiment selection in the British Army – where he served for six years.
By 1998, he travelled to the United States 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.
In the search for Ms Bulley, Mr Faulding says his team is using a high-spec sonar worth £55,000 ‘which can see every stick and stone lying on the riverbed’ and is ‘more superior’ than the sonar equipment officers have at their disposal.
The high-frequency device is towed beside an inflatable dingy that carries a small team of staff.
It uses multiple physical sensors – called transducer arrays – at the bottom of the moving vessel that sends and receives sound pulses.
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
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
As the vessel moves along its path, these sensors send out signals on both of its sides, sweeping the seafloor like the fan-shaped beam of a flashlight.
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.
He also regularly appears on television, radio and podcasts – including the BBC’s Shallow Graves-Unearthing a Serial Killer that aired in November.
Mr Faulding also works with schools and, in July 2021, flew to three schools in Cheshire to deliver lifejackets.
Similarly, he flew by helicopter to Bovington Academy in Dorset to deliver the lifesaving equipment.
Specialist Group International now has a plethora of cutting-edge equipment