The family of murdered student Ellen Higginbottom have released an incredibly personal statement paying tribute to the teenager’s “beauty and love and kindness”.
The 18-year-old Wigan student was found dead in Orrell Water Park in the early hours of Saturday morning after she failed to return home from college on Friday evening.
A Home Office post-mortem found that Higginbottom had died from multiple stab wounds to the neck.
Preston man Mark Steven Buckley, 51, of New Hall Lane, has been charged with her murder and is expected to appear at Wigan Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Three other people have also been arrested in connection with the case.
In a statement released by the “remarkable” teen’s family last night, they suggested she would not want to see any of the accused “strung up”.
“People have called them animals but Ellen loved animals and the psychology student in her would tell you it takes the complexity of a human mind to conjure such exquisite evil,” they said.
“People have also called for them to be strung up but we’ve thrown enough stones in rivers while camping for her to tell you that ripples reach the shore.
“Innocent people love, or at least loved, these monsters too, and I promise you, she’d also tell you that nobody deserves the pain we feel right now. What’s the world coming to?
“Well, if a legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see, then thanks to people like our remarkable Ellen it’s coming to beauty and love and kindness.”
Higginbottom’s family also revealed emotional memories about the college student.
“We’re supposed to start at the beginning but this is the news and we have neither space nor time,” the statement began.
“But equally, you can’t just flip to page 647 of a person’s life and know them.
“So, insights and anecdotes. It’s 4am and the birds are singing like they did on Saturday morning at Orrell. Ellen would have liked it. She’d have still been messing on her phone though.”
The statement continued: “We could tell you about how excited she was when we tentatively suggested she might want a kitchen mixer for her 18th birthday.
“Not clothes and make-up and jewellery for Ellen – not really her thing. Any top tips on how to preserve home-made flapjacks forever by the way?
“We could tell you how she had astonishingly reinvigorated her love of learning over the last few months after some difficult times.
“We could tell you that the last time we ‘had words’ was in 2001 when she jumped in a puddle after being told not to.
“But none of this makes sense because they’re just yellow stripes highlighting the book of her life and you haven’t read the rest of it.”
Yesterday, Higginbottom’s boyfriend Ryan Warren also paid tribute to his “beautiful girl”, calling her “bubbly, happy and flamboyant”.
“I have made so many amazing memories with you that I will forever cherish and will remain in my heart,” he wrote.