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Lindsay Birbeck: Murder accused 'could be easily led'

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionLindsay Birbeck was reported missing after failing to return home
A 17-year-old boy accused of murdering a teaching assistant in Lancashire was described in court as "easily led".
Lindsay Birbeck, 47, was found dead in Accrington Cemetery 12 days after she went missing on 12 August 2019.
Preston Crown Court was told the teenager, who cannot be named due to his age, denies the murder and manslaughter of the mother-of-two.
But he admits moving her body in a bin and burying it for a stranger who promised him "a lot of money".
The defendant's former teacher told the court how the teenager was "very quiet" and "pretty much non-verbal".
He struggled to communicate with others due to autism, the witness added .
The court heard he was not aggressive and "quite mild mannered" but "could be quite easily led".
"If he was told to take something somewhere, he probably would do and not ask questions about why he was doing it", the teacher said.
"My initial thoughts were, "Has somebody asked him to move the wheelie bin?""

'Open to exploitation'

Jurors heard 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 wooded area and put her body in a blue wheelie bin, which he dragged across to the cemetery five days later.
Preston Crown Court also heard from the teenager's former head teacher.
She described the defendant as "one of the quietest people I've met in my life", adding he had never displayed any behavioural problems.
"[He] never caused us any issues, which is why this has come as a shock.
"My main concerns would be with his vulnerabilities and being open to exploitation."
She said the defendant would not question or challenge simple instructions.
Neither of the two witnesses can be named for legal reasons. The trial continues.
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  • Accrington

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