A teenager who murdered a mother-of-two found buried in a shallow grave has been jailed for life with a minimum of 16 years in custody.

Rocky Marciano Price, 17, attacked Lindsay Birbeck, 47, in woods close to her home and dumped her body in a wheelie bin.

He later moved her body in the bin to Accrington Cemetery where he buried her in a shallow grave.

Price's 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.

She was found by a dog walker whose dog ran off and led him to "what looked like a leg".

At the sentencing hearing, a statement was read out from her devastated daughter Sarah who said "Little did I know that day, when I said goodbye to her, it would be the last time I saw her alive."

The heartbreaking statement, reported by Lancashire Live said: "This wasn’t supposed to happen like this. We are going to grow up without her by our side.

"We will both have to get married without her there, have children and live the rest of our lives without her love and guidance."

Sarah said "the fact that he has made us come to court and listen to every graphic detail of my mum's murder when he could have saved us this pain by pleading guilty is unforgivable."

Rocky Marciano Price, 17, who can be named after reporting restrictions were lifted at Preston Crown Court
Lindsay Birbeck was found by a dog walker

Her Honour Mrs Justice Yip told the court today: "There is only one sentence for a murder and that is a sentence of life imprisonment."

Speaking about Price, she said: “He lay in wait on the Coppice near to Lindsay’s home. The only conclusion I can draw is he was looking for a woman to kill.

“I don’t know what was on his mind at the time. No evidence he had a weapon or equipped to kill.

“I am sure he had formed a murderous intent.”

“Lindsay was loved dearly by her friends and family, particularly her daughter Sarah and son Steven," police said
Lindsay's family photos were released by police

She said: “Why the defendant chose to kill Lindsay only he knows.

“The evidence of the other woman demonstrates beyond doubt she was not targeted for any reason other that being a lone woman.

“This was the entirely random killing of a stranger. Such killings are rare."

The judge said: “The defendant’s mental disorder cannot in any way excuse or explain his actions

“I have no doubt he knew what he was doing and knew it was terribly wrong.

“The stalking of the other woman also demonstrates this did not arise out of a sudden loss of control or heat of the moment. He persisted with his plan to target a lone woman.

“It shows he had the capacity to plan and reason.

“The teachers said he was far better at practical tasks and he used that to set about concealing body.”

Rocky Marciano Price has been named as the killer of Lindsay Birbeck
Police released CCTV images of Lindsay in a bid to find her
Police had released CCTV images of Lindsay in a bid to find her

The judge said Lindsay lived a “normal, full life”. She worked as a high level teaching assistant and was much loved by her children, her family and friends.

Price, of Accrington, was found guilty of Mrs Birbeck's murder on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Price was named as the killer for the first time after a judge lifted reporting restrictions at Preston Crown Court.

A judge said the public were likely to want to know his identity to make sense of how such "a young person could do something so dreadful".

Mrs Justice Yip said there is a strong public interest in the case and continuing reporting restrictions would restrict the freedom of the press.

Price was jailed on Friday and will only be released after a parole board decides he is not a danger.

CCTV suggests Lindsay's body was moved in a blue wheelie bin
Lindsay’s shoes were found during a search of a skip from the cemetery

Mrs Birbeck left her home in Accrington for a late afternoon walk to a nearby wooded area known as the Coppice.

She had invited her daughter, Sarah, 17, and Sarah's boyfriend for tea at 6pm, but when she did not return as planned her family raised the alarm.

Price, who was 16 at the time, had been on the prowl in the woods for lone females and is thought to have killed Mrs Birbeck shortly after she entered the Coppice.

His parents took him to a police station several days after Mrs Birbeck was found, when police released a CCTV clip of a young male pulling a blue wheelie bin behind him.

The soles of Lindsay's shoes had been cut off
The 47-year-old was killed in some woodland
The 47-year-old was killed in woodland

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

Mrs Birbeck was identified through dental records and a post-mortem examination concluded the cause of death was neck injuries.

Lindsay’s disappearance sparked a major investigation to find her

Her naked body was heavily decomposed and no evidence of a sexual assault could be found.

Severe compressive force appeared to have been used, according to a Home Office pathologist, which could have been done in several ways including through stamping or kicking, or kneeling on the front of the neck.

An attempt had also been made to cut off a leg, possibly with a saw.

Defence barrister Mark Fenhalls QC said today: "He has an IQ of only 65 and has the learning and communication difficulties that he does.

“Prior to this incident you heard evidence from the teachers that he had never given a shred of concern about a tenancy towards violence or harming anybody else.

“All of that is reflective of a very different child from the one facing sentence for the conviction he received.

“He will be 18 next year. Incarceration for him will be very significantly more challenging for him than the vast majority of others.

“Nothing that will happen to Rocky Price will plug the hole Lindsay’s family now feel.

“The minimum term can be kept and the public can be reassured that the system is involved in assessing and reviewing safeguards in the future.”