A 16-year-old boy is set to appear in the dock tomorrow afternoon accused of strangling a teaching assistant in a random attack.

The youth, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, will appear at Preston Crown Court charged with the murder of 47-year-old mother-of-two Lindsay Birbeck, whose body was found in Accrington Cemetery.

The teenager, from Accrington, will be arraigned and tell Judge Mark Brown, The Honorary Recorder of Preston, whether he intends to plead guilty or not guilty.

A trial date of February 25 has previously been fixed for the same court and it is expected to last two weeks.

Mrs Birbeck went missing from her home in Huncoat on Monday August 12, and her disappearance prompted wide-ranging searches by hundreds of members of the community.

Her body was found in Accrington Cemetery on August 24, and a murder inquiry was launched. A post-mortem examination showed she died as a result of compression of the neck.

Paying tribute, her two children Steven and Sarah described her as “a great mum and wife, much-loved daughter, loving aunty and sister-in-law and a great friend”.