THE family of murdered teaching assistant Lindsay Birbeck said their lives have been 'utterly destroyed by the evil, cowardly behaviour' of the teenager convicted of her killing. 

This afternoon, a 17-year-old boy has been found guilty of murdering the mother-of-two. 

Lindsay, 47, left her house on Burnley Road in Accrington on 12 August 2019 to go for a walk but never returned home.

Lindsay’s family have paid the following tribute to her: “As a family we are completely devastated that Lindsay has been taken from us so suddenly in such an appalling way.

“However, we do feel some sense of relief that the defendant has been found guilty of murdering Lindsay and that justice has now been served.

“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.

“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.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The blue wheelie bin found in the cemetery 

“We would like to thank everybody in the community that searched for Lindsay, generously giving up their own time; we can never repay that kindness and we will never forget the compassion that they showed our family at such a difficult time.

“We would also like to thank the police that have worked tirelessly throughout this investigation, the legal team that have supported us and the family liaison officers that have been by our side since Lindsay first went missing.

“Our family now need time to reflect and grieve for Lindsay and try to rebuild our shattered lives.”

Lindsay’s disappearance sparked a major investigation to find her, with multiple agencies and members of the public searching tirelessly for 12 days.

The search was concluded on 24 August 2019 when Lindsay’s body was sadly found concealed in Accrington Cemetery, leading police to declare a murder investigation and a subsequent manhunt for her killer.

Lancashire Telegraph:

A post mortem examination revealed Lindsay died as a result of severe neck injuries and we believe she was killed within minutes of leaving her home. The scene of Lindsay’s murder has never been identified, but police believe it happened on an area known locally as the Coppice.

CCTV suggests Lindsay’s body was moved to the cemetery in a blue wheelie bin on Saturday 17th August.

Following a CCTV appeal for information, a 16-year-old male was identified, arrested and charged in connection with Lindsay’s murder.

Lindsay’s shoes were found during a search of a skip from the cemetery. The soles had been cut off and the defendant’s DNA was found on them.

The defendant, now 17, who cannot be named under the law, was convicted of murder today following the trial at Preston Crown Court.

He had always denied murder, but admitted to moving Lindsay’s body.

The defendant will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Friday (August 14).