A teenager has been found guilty of murdering a teaching assistant after he claimed no involvement in her death, saying he was instead offered money to move the body.
Mother-of-two Lindsay Birbeck, 47, was found dead wrapped in two plastic bags in a shallow ditch by a dog walker in Accrington Cemetery in Lancashire on August 24 last year.
Police said she had died as a result of severe neck injuries. An attempt had also been made to cut off a leg, possibly with a saw.
The 17-year-old male defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied her murder but was convicted on Wednesday.
CCTV footage obtained by police had captured the teen repeatedly pulling a wheelie bin around the streets. He was seen taking the wheelie bin into the woods and from the woods to the cemetery. David McLachlan QC, prosecuting said the bin at the cemetery appeared “heavy”.
Lancashire Police said the eerie CCTV footage, which shows the boy hauling the bin along pavement to the cemetery using both his arms, suggested Ms Birbeck’s body had been moved in a blue bin to a cemetery on August 17, 2019.
Police said in a statement her body was found in the cemetery and her shoes discovered in a skip bin. The soles had been cut off and the defendant’s DNA was found.
Defendant says stranger paid him to move Lindsay Birbeck’s body
The defendant, who has autism, said in a statement he admitted moving the bin and burying the body but said he had no involvement in Birbeck’s death.
He said he was walking alone in the area when a stranger said he would give the teenager “a lot of money” if he disposed of the body.
The teenager admitted assisting an offender but that plea was not accepted by prosecutors.
Mr McLachlan said: “Far from it being a case of (the youth) assisting and helping a mystery man, the prosecution case is he is in fact the mystery man and he is guilty of murder.”
McLachlan told the jury: “It’s a complete nonsense that someone who had killed Mrs Birbeck then entrusted the help of a random passer-by to get rid of a body.”
Lancashire Police said in a statement they hoped the guilty verdict would help the family with their grief.
“This is a despicable crime in which a complete stranger, who for reasons known only to himself, attacked and killed Lindsay. He then set about covering his tracks and attempting to conceal Lindsay’s body,” Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin said.
“Our subsequent CCTV enquiries show that the defendant made several trips between an area close to the Coppice and the cemetery in the subsequent days and it is our belief that he even did a dry run to see if he could successfully move Lindsay’s body without being caught.
“Throughout the trial, the defendant weaved a tale of lies and tried to pass the blame onto an ‘unknown man’, who in reality did not exist. He has shown no remorse whatsoever for his offending and the devastation caused to the lives of Lindsay’s family and friends.”
Family’s heartbreak over ‘evil’ tragedy
Ms Birbeck’s family said in the police statement they felt a sense of relief as the teen was found guilty.
“Lindsay went for a walk on a sunny afternoon in August and never came home, it’s unthinkable that something as brutal as this could happen in our close community to someone that was loved so very dearly,” her family said.
“Our lives have been utterly destroyed by the evil, cowardly behaviour of the defendant and the horrific manner in which she was murdered – it has left a huge void in our lives that will never be filled.
“This callous act has destroyed our lives forever.”
The 17-year-old is due to be sentenced on Friday.
With Yahoo UK
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