The ‘Human Mole’ forensics expert who could hold key to Nicola Bulley’s disappearance
The mystery of a missing mother-of-two who disappeared while walking her dog has captured the nation’s attention, with no hint of an answer in sight.
Nicola Bulley vanished on a riverside path in Lancashire nearly two weeks ago, and now a man dubbed the ’Human Mole’ is hoping to help find out what happened.
Forensics expert Peter Faulding joined the search for Ms Bulley this week, after raising concerns about the police theory she slipped and fell into the River Wyre.
The founder and CEO of Specialist Group International has not been shy in his criticism, describing the probe as “a mess” and claiming details in the case “don’t add up”.
But what do we know about him, and how qualified is he to make such assessments? Below we look at his experience with high-profile crimes and missing persons investigations.
Mr Faulding began his interest in exploration aged five, when he would take trips to disused mines and caves with his father John.
His career 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 removed notorious anti-roads protester Swampy from tunnels under the proposed route of the A30 Honiton Bypass before joining the Home Office’s ‘Policing of Environmental Protest’ group as an adviser.
He has trained members of the military and police search advisers in the UK and acted as a guest instructor with the US Secret Service, FBI and American military. He also served in the Parachute Regiment for the British Army for six years.
Now a confined space rescue and forensic search specialist, he has worked on high-profile crimes including the ‘Spy in the Bag’ case of MI6 agent Gareth Williams, whose naked dead body was found in a padlocked holdall in a bath in his flat in 2010.
One of the biggest missing persons appeals Mr Faulding has worked on is the hunt for five-year-old April Jones, who was abducted and killed in 2012.
Hundreds of people participated in the hunt for the five-year-old but her body was never found, and only bone fragments were recovered. Mark Bridger was arrested and eventually convicted of her abduction and murder.
Mr Faulding also assisted with the case of Scottish serial killer Peter Tobin, sentenced a whole life order at HM Prison Edinburgh for three murders committed between 1991 and 2006.
He has now become involved in the search for Ms Bulley due to his experience with underwater searches.
His first experience with sonar technology was in 1998, when he travelled to the US to conduct research on using side scan sonar and ground penetrating radar to help locate missing people and remains.
Since then, he has pioneered the use of the technology to search remote locations and underwater to locate human remains.
He is often brought in to assist on cold cases and complex ‘no-body’ murder investigations but outside of his professional work he lives in the country on a farm with his family.
A published author, he makes regular appearances on TV, radio and podcasts to talk about missing person cases and has helped to launch a water safety campaign with the father of six year-old Lucas Dobson who drowned in the River Stour in 2019.
As well a forensics expert, he is also a qualified commercial diver, helicopter and fixed-wing pilot and holds both UK and United States FAA pilot’s license.
Away from his often grizzly day job, Mr Faulding posts pictures of his German Shepherd dog and his pet llamas and emus on social media.
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