Online sleuth who filmed body of Nicola Bulley is convicted fraudster

A man who cruelly filmed Nicola Bulley’s body being pulled from the River Wyre after tricking police officers had previously frauded women into taking photos in leggings and has had several run-ins with police. Body-builder Curtis Arnold, 34, covertly filmed the moment the mum-of-two – who was the subject of a desperate three-week-long search – was found in the river in Lancashire.

Mr Arnold shared the harrowing footage across his social media, including TikTok and YouTube – the latter of which has over 6,000 followers. While he received significant backlash – including, he claimed, damage to his car and death threats – the video, which is monetised, achieved nearly a million views.

Mr Arnold has reportedly in the past used Nicola’s partner Paul Ansell for the profile image of his social media accounts, which he says offers “media and journalism done differently” to “help get justice for those who can’t.”

Now the Sun reports Mr Arnold is a “narcissistic” and “manipulative” conman with a litany of criminal convictions, with Curtis telling the outlet of his decision to film Nicola’s body: “Yeah perhaps it was a step too far, but I can’t take it back.”

His past convictions include burglary, fraud, drink-driving and perverting the course of justice. Most recently, he served jail time for a fraud charge in 2018 after he tricked women into sending him pictures of them wearing leggings.

He visited several gyms in London posing as a fitness modelling agent, telling people he was looking for models to promote a firm’s female leggings. But after taking a series of sexualised photos and videos of women, he then shared these on his own social media to sell his own products, without their permission.

He was convicted of fraud by false representation and served time at the infamous Wormwood Scrubs prison.

A source at the prison told the Sun: “He was a very narcissistic, manipulative individual and would regularly try to manipulate female staff, especially education staff. He was slimy and would tell them they were beautiful or he preferred them over another officer.

“He would say very inappropriate things and would ask for their mobile numbers and ask to see them outside of the prison. But when he started asking female staff to smuggle in phones and drugs for him, it all went down on his report.”

Curtis, who runs a barber shop in Kidderminster, made several six-hour round trips from Worcestershire to St Michael’s on Wyre in the span of 10 days to produce content about the harrowing search for Ms Bulley. His YouTube channel almost exclusively covers the search for Nicola.

In one video title, he suggests Nicola’s disappearance was linked to that of two others, while others feature an “analysis” of an early interview with Mr Ansell. One of these is titled “the moment Paul Ansell KNEW he messed up”.

Mr Ansell faced widespread harassment from online sleuths who wrongfully suggested he had anything to do with his partner’s disappearance.

In Mr Arnold’s most sickening video however, he tricks a male police officer blocking his path into letting him through, by claiming he needs to return to his parked car and incorrectly saying he is from Blackpool. He is later directed to leave the area by a female officer – but the video then cuts to Mr Arnold filming covertly as the body is removed.

Justifying the video, Mr Arnold told the Sun the idea that he tricked a police officer to access the scene was “misleading”, adding: “I got past there to find out what was going on, the video of the police going into the river was half an hour later on the other side of the river.”

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Asked whether he was profiting from the videos he’s posted, he said: “Not really, it cost me 80 quid fuel there and back and I’m not making much more than that on the videos. The views aren’t millions, are they, they’re only thousands.”

He added that while he believes his videos are “very helpful to people”, the one of Nicola’s body being removed was “perhaps a step too far,” adding: “at the time the main media were rushing over there to film it and I just presumed that, yeah, great I can just get what they’re getting because a lot of people want to watch.

“But in hindsight perhaps I shouldn’t have posted that video, I have removed it, but I can’t take it back.”

The video appears to still be available for viewing on Mr Arnold’s channel.

He also said he had his house, car and workplace “damaged”, had been “assaulted”, “had death threats” and “been assaulted” since his identity was revealed. He added his criminal convictions “have nothing to do” with the Nicola Bulley case and are “old news”.

“I’ve had my punishment,” he added while insisting “it wasn’t young women” he was taking snaps of in gyms.

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