Lindsay BirbeckImage copyright
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Lindsay Birbeck’s body was found in a shallow grave at Accrington Cemetery, 12 days after she disappeared

A teenager who killed teaching assistant Lindsay Birbeck and buried her body in a cemetery has been jailed.

Rocky Marciano Price, 17, was captured on CCTV pulling a wheelie bin with Mrs Birbeck’s body inside it, before she was found dead in a shallow grave.

Price, who previously could not be named, was convicted of her murder on Wednesday.

Mrs Birbeck, 47, was missing for two weeks before her body was found at Accrington Cemetery, on 24 August 2019.

At Preston Crown Court the judge, Mrs Justice Yip, jailed Price for life, with a minimum tariff of 16 years in custody.

“The attack was swift and brutal. I am sure the defendant lay in wait with the intention of killing a passing woman,” said Mrs Justice Yip.

“Why he decided to kill her only he knows. If it had not been Lindsay Birbeck, it could have been someone else.

“This was the entirely random killing of a stranger.”

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Media captionBefore his arrest, police released CCTV footage of Price pulling a wheelie bin containing Lindsay Birbeck’s body

Price’s trial had heard how Mrs Birbeck left her home in Accrington for a walk to a nearby wooded area known as the Coppice.

The defendant, who was 16 at the time, had been prowling in the woods looking for lone females and is thought to have killed her shortly after she entered the Coppice.

His victim was discovered wrapped in two plastic bags in a makeshift grave, 12 days after she went missing.

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Lancashire Police

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Price, who was only named when court restrictions were lifted on Thursday, had previously been prowling in the Coppice looking for lone females, his trial heard

After police issued the CCTV clip of a young male pulling a blue wheelie bin behind him on Burnley Road, Price’s parents took him to a police station to be arrested.

The teenager, of Whinney Hall Road, Accrington, later admitted dragging the bin from the Coppice on August 17, with Mrs Birbeck inside, across Burnley Road to the cemetery.

He had claimed to police that he buried the body for a stranger, who had promised him “a lot of money”.

However, a jury unanimously rejected his account that a mystery man had offered him a large cash reward if he disposed of a body.

Jurors returned their verdict exactly one year on from when Mrs Birbeck, a mother-of-two, was last seen alive.

Mrs Birbeck’s daughter said it was “unforgivable” her killer had not admitted his guilt and spared her family the pain of a trial.

“My mum was a higher level teaching assistant and the irony is she would have taught boys like the defendant and would have tried her best to help him,” said Sarah, 17, in a statement read to the court.

“To know now that he murdered her for absolutely no reason is heart-breaking and has not sunk in yet.”

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