Teenager charged with murder of teaching assistant
A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of a teaching assistant found strangled at a cemetery.
Mother-of-two Lindsay Birbeck, 47, went missing from her home in Huncoat, Accrington, on 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.
In a statement, Lancashire Police said: “Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service detectives have today charged a teenage boy with the murder of Lindsay Birbeck.
“The 16-year-old youth from Accrington, who cannot be named under the law, is due to appear before Blackburn Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning.
“Lindsay’s family have been told of this latest development.
“Our thoughts remain with Lindsay’s family and friends.”
On Thursday Mrs Birbeck’s children, Steven, 19, and Sarah, 16, paid a heartfelt tribute to “a great mum and wife, much-loved daughter, loving aunty and sister-in-law and a great friend too”.
They added: “It saddens us deeply that someone has cruelly taken our mum away from us and now she will never see us get married, have children and set up homes of our own, which she would have loved.
“Our mum was very loved by all that met her including all of the pupils that she has taught over the years.
“We have not only lost our mum but we’ve lost our best friend too.”
Kate Marney, headteacher at Ightenhill Primary School in Burnley, said Mrs Birbeck was “a highly valued and respected member of staff who was popular with both pupils and colleagues”.
She said: “We will miss her enormously at school. All our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.”