BBC News

Lindsay Birbeck: Murder accused 'was offered money to move body'

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionLindsay Birbeck was reported missing after failing to return home
A teenager accused of murdering a teaching assistant told police he was offered money by a stranger to move her body, a court has heard.
Preston Crown Court was told the body of Lindsay Birbeck, 47, was found in a shallow grave at the back of Accrington Cemetery on 24 August 2019.
The 17-year-old male defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, is accused of killing the mother of two and concealing her body.
He denies murder and manslaughter.
Mrs Birbeck left her home on 12 August for a walk to a nearby area of woodland known as The Coppice, the court heard.
It is alleged the defendant killed Mrs Birbeck shortly after she entered The Coppice and put her body in a blue wheelie bin, which he dragged across to the cemetery five days later.
The court heard how the boy, then aged 16, voluntarily attended a police station with family members following an appeal.

'Mystery man'

In a prepared statement, he admitted moving the bin and burying the body but said he was not involved in Mrs Birbeck's death.
He said he was walking alone in the area when he was approached by a stranger who promised him "a lot of money" if he disposed of a body.
The 17-year-old said: "I have not met this man before. I have not met him since, nor have I had any contact with him.
"He has not paid me any money. He told me that he would leave the money for me near where the body had been at first once everything was clear.
"I cannot describe the man other than to say he was white, male, spoke English."
The defendant has admitted assisting an offender, but prosecutors allege he "is in fact the mystery man and he is guilty of murder".

'Seriously concerned'

Zoe Braithwaite, who was also walking in The Coppice on 12 August, told the jury she had noticed a lone male "walking slowly" parallel to her, who "looked out of place in the wood".
She said she had been "instantly wary" as she normally only encountered "dog walkers and families" in the area.
Mrs Braithwaite said she had taken a different route to avoid meeting the male, but then spotted him about 160ft (50m) away from her.
"As I glanced over my shoulder it looked as if he had pulled up and had been running," she said.
"At that point I was seriously concerned."
She said she had not got close enough to see the person's face, but described him as being about 20 to 25 years old, about 6ft (1.83m) in height and wearing a grey hooded top and grey tracksuit trousers.
The trial continues.
Why not follow BBC North West on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? You can also send story ideas to

Related Topics

  • Accrington

More on this story

  • Lindsay Birbeck: Teen 'killed woman and moved body in wheelie bin'