Police name Ellen as park murder victim
The woman who was murdered in Orrell Water Park has been named by police as 18-year-old Ellen Higginbottom.
A post-mortem revealed it was Ellen's body that officers found on the edge of a field at the popular beauty spot at around 2.30am on Saturday.
She died from multiple wounds to the neck.
Police were called by Ellen's concerned family after the Winstanley College student failed to return home on Friday and a large search was launched.
The hunt for her concentrated on the water park after friends said that was where she had last been.
Police said support will be available for anyone affected by Ellen's tragic death and vowed to find those responsible for what senior investigators have described as a "brutal attack" of a kind "rarely seen in Greater Manchester."
Detective Superintendent (Det Supt) Howard Millington from GMP’s Major Incident Team said: “This is an absolute tragedy; my thoughts are with Ellen’s family and friends. What they must be going through is unimaginable. Our specially trained officers are with her family and will continue to support them through this difficult time.
“We are also working with Wigan Council and Winstanley College, where Ellen was a pupil, to ensure support is in place for anyone affected by this shocking incident.
“The post mortem has now taken place and we have a clearer picture of what may have happened to Ellen, but we are still piecing together her exact movements in the lead up to her death.
“We have a full investigative team working on this and a large scene is in place in the area around the Orrell Water Park area.
“We will be leaving no stone unturned in this investigation. Someone out there knows who did this, or they know it was them, and we will not stop until we find them and bring them to justice.
“If you saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area either on Friday or in the days prior, please get in touch with police. Don’t worry that you’ll be wasting my time, any bit of information, no matter how small could be vital in this fast moving investigation.
“I must thank the public for their overwhelming support during this investigation so far, we have had lots of people call us with information and we would like to encourage people to do this.
“Attacks of this severity are thankfully incredibly rare, but that in itself makes this all the more shocking.
“Our officers will be patrolling the streets in the area whilst we continue our investigation. Anyone with any concerns should come and speak to our officers.
“We know that things like this don’t happen in Orrell, and you will be extremely concerned but please let me assure you that your safety is paramount and we will not stop until we have found the person responsible.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 7103, ring 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.