Man charged with murder over teenager's water park death

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A man has been charged with murder after a teenager was found with neck injuries in a park. 

Mark Steven Buckley, 51, was arrested at an address in Preston, Lancashire, on Sunday evening and was charged on Tuesday, Greater Manchester Police said. 

The body of Ellen Higginbottom was discovered in Orrell Water Park in Wigan at about 2.30am on Saturday.

The 18-year-old's family raised the alarm on Friday evening after she failed to return from college.

A post-mortem examination revealed Miss Higginbottom died from multiple wounds to the neck.

Buckley will appear at Wigan Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, police said. 

A 47-year-old man from Billinge, Wigan, who was held earlier on Sunday on suspicion of murder is also being questioned by police.

In a statement released through police Miss Higginbottom's family said her legacy would be "beauty and love and kindness".

Providing some "insights and anecdotes" they described a teenager who loved animals and enjoyed cooking and "messing on her phone".

"We could tell you about how excited she was when we tentatively suggested she might want a kitchen mixer for her 18th birthday.

"Not clothes and make-up and jewellery for Ellen, not really her thing. 

"We could tell you how she had astonishingly reinvigorated her love of learning over the last few months after some difficult times.

"We could tell you that the last time we 'had words' was in 2001 when she jumped in a puddle after being told not to.

"But none of this makes sense because they're just yellow stripes highlighting the book of her life and you haven't read the rest of it."

Referring to whoever killed the 18-year-old, the family said: "People have called them animals but Ellen loved animals and the psychology student in her would tell you it takes the complexity of a human mind to conjure such exquisite evil.

"People have also called for them to be strung up but we've thrown enough stones in rivers while camping for her to tell you that ripples reach the shore. 

"Innocent people love, or at least loved, these monsters too, and I promise you, she'd also tell you that nobody deserves the pain we feel right now.

"Well, if a legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see, then thanks to people like our remarkable Ellen it's coming to beauty and love and kindness."