THE reason why the first trial relating to the murder of Lindsay Birbeck had to be halted can be revealed today as reporting restrictions were lifted by Her Honour Amanda Justice Yip.

Following the opening and first week of evidence in the initial Lindsay Birbeck murder trial at Preston Crown Court back in March, the court was taken by surprise when an application was made by the defence barristers to discharge the jury.

Prosecuting barrister David McLachlan QC had already presented his case to jurors and was about to conclude, but on March 10 the trial was abandoned and the jury sent home, with a re-trial ordered for later in the year.

Mrs Justice Yip placed reporting restrictions under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 on the case, which prohibited the press from reporting what had happened in order to avoid any future risk of prejudice.

But after reporting restrictions were lifted on Thursday following the conclusion of the retrial and conviction of Rocky Price, we can now reveal the reason why the first trial had to be halted.

During the course of that trial in March, the court was made aware of the arrests of a 22-year-old man, a 23-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman, all from Accrington, on suspicion of the false imprisonment and assault of a 22-year-old man, on a matter unrelated to the trial of Rocky Price.

Detectives had been informed that a video clip found on the mobile phone of one of the persons detained in police custody purported to show a man discussing aspects of the Birbeck case and, in some parts, saying that he had been involved in the murder and the disposal of the body - in essence, a confession.

Although the content of the video was neither consistent with the facts of the case or with the defence put forward by the defendant, it was clearly something that had to be fully investigated to ensure the defendant could have a fair trial.

This was completed and the prosecution team were ready to proceed. 

The extensive nature of the enquiries, however, required proper consideration by the defence and this could not be done in a realistic time scale for the first trial to continue.

The investigation found the content of the video clip and the supposed confession to to be false.

READ > Lindsay Birbeck's teenage killer named as Rocky Marciano Price

The results of the enquiries into this were shared in full with the defendant and his legal team.

Any suggestion that the man in question could have been involved in Lindsay's murder was negated and the situation was not therefore raised by either the defence or the prosecution during the second trial as it was not relevant.

The further circumstances surrounding this video remain the subject of a separate criminal investigation although the people in question were released under investigation.