Ellen’s family pay loving tribute

A photo of Ellen Higginbottom issued to the media by her family

A photo of Ellen Higginbottom issued to the media by her family

The heartbroken family of Ellen Higginbottom have tonight paid a loving tribute to her.

Ellen, 18, a student at Winstanley College, was found killed at Orrell Water Park in the early hours of Saturday morning. One man has been charged with murder and three others are being quizzed by police.

In a statement issued through Greater Manchester Police, her family said: “We’re supposed to start at the beginning but this is the news and we have neither space nor time. 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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

A Preston man will tomorrow appear before magistrates charged with Ellen’s murder.

Detectives today charged 51-year-old Mark Steven Buckley following a search at a property on New Hall Lane, Preston. He was remanded in custody to appear at Wigan Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

Three other people remain in custody for questioning. A 47-year-old man from Billinge was arrested on suspicion of murder and a man and a woman, both aged 30, from Wigan who were detained on suspicion of assisting an offender.