A 17-year-old boy has been jailed for life for the murder of a teaching assistant Lindsay Birkbeck before burying her in a shallow grave at a Lancashire cemetery.
Rocky Marciano Price, 17, targeted mum-of-two Lindsay Birbeck as she went for a walk in woodland before killing her and hiding the body in a wheelie bin.
He stuffed her body in a wheelie bin and hid her at the back of a cemetery – before her body was found 12 days later wrapped in plastic bags.
On Wednesday, Price, from Accrington, was found guilty at Preston Crown Court of her murder, exactly a year on from when she disappeared.
As he was ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years behind bars, Linday’s heartbroken daughter slammed the killer for his ” unforgivable” actions and said “all our lives are completely ruined”.
She said: “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.
“To know now that he murdered her for absolutely no reason is heartbreaking and has not sunk in yet. Not within me or other members of my family.
“The fact that he has made us come to court and listen to every graphic detail of my mum’s murder when he could have saved us this pain by pleading guilty is unforgivable.
“All our lives are completely ruined and I don’t see how we will ever recover as a family as the void that has been left will never be filled.”
Mrs Birbeck left her home in Burnley Road, Accrington, for a late afternoon walk to a nearby wooded area known as the Coppice.
She had invited her daughter, Sarah, 17, and her boyfriend for tea at 6pm, but when she did not return as planned her family raised the alarm.
Her body was later found naked and heavily decomposed in the cemetery by a dog walker known as Morgan Parkinson.
According to the court documents, Morgan’s pet started ‘sniffing at the bushes’ and when he went closer he ‘stood on something soft and squishy’ and he ‘smelt a horrible smell’.
Police later identified the decomposed body as Mrs Birkbeck from her dental records.
Rocky Price, admitted to prosecutors that he dragged the bin carrying her lifeless body but claimed he was not involved in her death.
According to Price, a mystery man had approached him in the area with the promise of a large cash reward if he disposed of the body.
Later footage was released to the media on August 27 of 2019 showing the teenager pulling the waste bin. He was identified by ‘shocked’ school teachers and later arrested by police.
Trial judge Mrs Justice Yip told the court: ‘This was a dreadful crime which understandably generated strong public interest.
‘The public will naturally want to know who this person was as they come to terms with something that rocked the local community.’
According to a Home Office pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination, severe compressive force seemed to have been used on her neck, which could have been done in several ways including through stamping or kicking, or kneeling on the front of the neck.
The post-mortem examination concluded the cause of death was neck injuries.
When the verdict was announced, Price showed no emotion as he appeared via video link due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Even his parents did not show any emotion as he was sentenced to life imprisonment today at the hearing.
During the sentencing this morning, Judge Yip added: ‘I have no doubt the murder was significantly remediated. ‘He formed the intent to kill a woman. I find he was deliberately targeting lone women
‘The attack was swift and brutal. I’m sure the defendant lay in wait with the intent to kill a passing woman.”