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Teenager arrested on suspicion of murdering teaching assistant

The body of Lindsay Birbeck, 47, was found in a cemetery in Lancashire on Saturday.

Lancashire Constabulary officers on duty (Dave Thompson/PA)
Lancashire Constabulary officers on duty (Dave Thompson/PA)

By Jess Glass, PA

A 16-year-old youth has been arrested in relation to the murder of Lindsay Birbeck after her body was found in a cemetery in Lancashire.

A murder inquiry was launched on Monday after the 47-year-old teaching assistant’s body was found in Accrington Cemetery by a member of the public on Saturday.

Lancashire Police confirmed on Tuesday evening they had made an arrest after officially confirming her identity earlier the same day.

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Lindsay Birbeck went missing on August 12 (Lancashire Constabulary/PA)

The teenager is being held in custody.

Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin, of the force’s major investigation team, said: “The response to our earlier appeal has been absolutely overwhelming and I would like to thank everyone who has come forward with information.

“While we have made an arrest our inquiries are very much continuing and I would continue to appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

“However, I would urge people not to speculate and to be mindful of the comments they make, especially on social media, as this causes distress to the family and could impact on our investigation.”

A post-mortem examination showed the teaching assistant, from Huncoat, near Accrington, died as a result of compression of the neck, also known as strangulation.

Ms Birbeck went missing shortly after 4pm on August 12 and her disappearance prompted wide ranging searches by hundreds of members of the public.

Earlier on Tuesday, police released CCTV images of a suspect walking along Burnley Road towards Accrington with a blue wheelie bin at about 2.30pm on August 17.

A bin similar to the one in the footage was found near the scene where Ms Birbeck was discovered, police said.

A large team of detectives have been working on the case since Saturday.

Police are continuing to urge anyone with information to submit it through the major crime web portal at www.mipp.police.uk/operation/0401020119E06-PO1.

PA

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