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Nicola Bulley footage leads to arrest of barber who runs TikTok channel

Curtis Arnold has responded to news of his arrest by uploading a video to YouTube complaining about the decision to detain him - Tim Stewart News LimitedCurtis Arnold had to negotiate police patrols to collect his footage - Tim Stewart News Limited
Curtis Arnold has responded to news of his arrest by uploading a video to YouTube complaining about the decision to detain him - Tim Stewart News LimitedCurtis Arnold has responded to news of his arrest by uploading a video to YouTube complaining about the decision to detain him – Tim Stewart News Limited

A barber who runs a TikTok channel has revealed he was the man arrested for allegedly posting footage on social media of Nicola Bulley’s body being recovered from the River Wyre.

Curtis Arnold, 34, from Kidderminster, was detained by Lancashire police this week on suspicion of malicious communications and perverting the course of justice.

“It relates to footage being taken from inside a police cordon close to the River Wyre on Sunday, Feb 19, which was subsequently posted online,” said the force in a statement.

The eight-minute footage went viral on the social media platform as public obsession with the mother of two’s mysterious disappearance reached feverish levels last month. It attracted millions of views on TikTok.

Now Mr Arnold has responded to news of his arrest by uploading a video to YouTube complaining about the decision to detain him.

Curtis Arnold had to negotiate police patrols to collect his footage - Tim Stewart News LimitedCurtis Arnold had to negotiate police patrols to collect his footage – Tim Stewart News Limited

The video had the title “My arrest over… Lancashire police prove their point and ban me from Lancashire and… from uploading or speaking about her case”.

He begins by saying: “Even though I am talking about my case and my arrest over a video I have got to be very careful that I don’t talk about that case.”

Mr Arnold alleges in his video that officers were heavy-handed when they arrested him at 1.30am at his grandparents’ house. They then searched the property.

He said: “I still have marks on my hands now from the handcuffs. That’s how tight they put them on.

“My nan is now a nervous wreck. She hasn’t been sleeping over it. There was no need to arrest me like that. They could have just knocked on the door.

“They could have even just phoned me and I would have gone in for a voluntary interview, no problem.”

Ms Bulley, 45, vanished while walking her spaniel near the River Wyre, Lancs, on Jan 27. Her body was eventually recovered on Feb 19, around a mile downstream from where she was last seen.

Toxic spectacle

But the intervening weeks descended into a toxic spectacle as the case attracted growing interest from the public and theories about her fate began to circulate widely online.

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Armchair detectives became fixated on the idea Ms Bulley had been murdered or abducted, and TikTok users then descended on the sleepy village where she disappeared, St Michael’s on Wyre, to stage their own investigations for online followers.

The influx of self-styled social media sleuths at one stage became so substantial that police issued a 48-hour dispersal order allowing them to remove anyone found trying to make viral content.

The video of Ms Bulley’s body being recovered was filmed from behind the police cordon and was uploaded to TikTok.

In his video this week, Mr Arnold – who has repeatedly returned to the village to make videos about the case – said that a pair of Lancashire Police detectives interviewed him for two hours.

‘There’s no crime here’

Mr Arnold continued: “Essentially, guys, I didn’t post the video to cause harm or stress. I just posted it for my media channel as everybody knows.”

“I think everybody knows that there’s no crime [that has] been committed here and I think everybody is aware why the police have done this to me. They have basically made it so that I can’t go there and I can’t do videos on the case any more.

“That is what the locals wanted and that is what they have got. They have made an offence fit.

“My solicitor said it doesn’t fit but obviously they’ve made it fit and I’m on bail for three months and that is just the way it is.”

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesman said on Wednesday: “We wanted to let you know that we’ve arrested a man on suspicion of malicious communications offences and perverting the course of justice in connection with our investigation to find Nicola Bulley.

“A 34-year-old man from Kidderminster was arrested this morning, with assistance from our colleagues at West Mercia Police, on suspicion of malicious communications offences and perverting the course of justice.

“He has since been bailed with conditions.

“Our priority is, and has always been, to support Nicola’s family and the wider community in St Michael’s. We hope this arrest provides reassurance that we take concerns seriously and will act on them.”

A spokesman for TikTok said the video had been removed from its platform because it was in violation of its community guidelines.