Tributes paid to tragic college student Ellen

Ellen Higginbottom

Ellen Higginbottom

Tributes have been paid on social media to the college student whose body was found at Orrell Water Park.

Messages on Facebook are being left in memory of Ellen Higginbottom, who went to Winstanley College and whose disappearance on Friday evening sparked a major search.

Police found the body of the 18-year-old, who died from multiple wounds to her neck, on the edge of a field at the popular green space at around 2.30am on Saturday.

Police and residents joined the effort to locate Ellen, who was last seen at Winstanley College at around 1pm on Friday.

Scores of messages were posted on social media as anxious friends encouraged residents to look out for her.

Close friends and relatives also took to the streets to ask people if they had spotted her.

In a statement a Winstanley College spokesman said: "We are deeply shocked and mourning the loss of a wonderful young woman, Ellen Higginbottom. Our thoughts are with her family at this dreadful time.

"We will be supporting our students, many of whom are Ellen's friends and her Winstanley family, in every way we can as we come to terms with something no one should ever have to come to terms with."

In a tribute on Facebook posted on Sunday morning Lisa Wasilewski spoke of Ellen's love of equestrian and offered sympathy to her grieving family.

She wrote: "Seriously saddened by the loss of the lovely Ellen Higginbottom. My thoughts are with her family right now. I will always remember you for your love of horses and your bubbly personality. You will be missed ."

Ellen's friend Chloe Williams, who had urged people to join the search for her on Twitter, posted that she had "never felt as sick and upset and heartbroken in my entire life" after news of the police investigation into the young woman's death broke.

She also thanked everyone who had helped to look for Ellen, saying: "We're aware of the recent news".

Police have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of Ellen's body at the water park and urged anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to get in touch with officers.

The force also confirmed Ellen's family are being supported by specially-trained officers.

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 7103 or 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.