A 17-year-old boy who brutally murdered a teaching assistant Lindsay Birkbeck before burying her in a shallow grave has been jailed for life for murder.

Rocky Marciano Price, who was unnamed previously due to reporting restrictions, was found guilty of murder on Wednesday before being sentenced today at Preston crown court.

He must serve a minimum of 16 years in custody.

Jurors took less than three hours to unanimously find the 17-year-old intended to kill or severely injure the mum-of-two in the woods in Accrington, Lancashire.

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The court heard how Price attacked Mrs Birbeck, 47, in woods close to her home before he later moved her body in the bin to Accrington Cemetery where he buried her in a shallow grave.

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His victim was discovered wrapped in two plastic bags on August 24 last year – 12 days after she went missing, which prompted a huge search by police and members of the community.

When the verdict was announced, Price showed no emotion as he appeared via video link, nor did his parents in Preston Crown Court.

Mrs Birkbeck had gone for an evening walk to a nearby wooded area known as the Coppice. She had invited her daughter, Sarah, and her boyfriend for tea, but when she didn’t return home they started raising alarm bells.

She was later found

Price, who has autism and learning difficulties, admitted dragging the bin from the Coppice on August 17, with Mrs Birbeck inside, across Burnley Road to the cemetery.

But he claimed he was not involved in her death and that a mystery man had approached him in the area with the promise of a large cash reward if he disposed of the body.

Footage was released to the media on August 27 showing the teenager on Burnley Road pulling the wheelie bin.

He was identified by ‘shocked’ school teachers and later the same day voluntarily attended Greenbank Police Station with his family where he was arrested.

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