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Second man arrested on suspicion of murdering Ellen Higginbottom

The Guardian logo The Guardian 19/06/2017 Frances Perraudin North of England reporter
Ellen Higginbottom, 18: A postmortem concluded that 18-year-old Ellen Higginbottom died of multiple neck wounds. © Facebook A postmortem concluded that 18-year-old Ellen Higginbottom died of multiple neck wounds.

Police have arrested a second man as part of the investigation into the death of an 18-year-old who was found in a Wigan park with multiple neck wounds.

Ellen Higginbottom’s concerned family contacted police at about 7.20pm on Friday when the student failed to return from college. Officers began a search, describing the teenager’s disappearance as “extremely out of character”.

Police found her body in the Orrell water park at about 2.30am on Saturday. A postmortem confirmed the body was that of Higginbottom and cause of her death was multiple wounds to the neck.

Following the arrest of a 47-year-old man on Sunday, a 51-year-old man was arrested at an address in Preston on Sunday night on suspicion of murder. The house is being searched and a large police presence remains in the area.

Speaking over the weekend, DS Howard Millington from Greater Manchester police’s major incident team said officers were not ruling out a sexual motive for the crime, and that they were looking into an earlier report of two women being followed in the area.

“It is unimaginable what Ellen’s family and friends must be going through right now, and my thoughts continue to be with them throughout all of this,” said Millington on Monday morning after the second arrest.

“Whilst we have now made two arrests, our investigation continues as we piece together the puzzle to find out what exactly happened to Ellen on Friday, and give her family the answers they deserve.”

Speaking at the weekend, Higginbottom’s grandfather Derek Goldstraw, 80, said: “I can’t stop crying. We’re all so heartbroken – our angel has been taken from us.

“She was such a happy and beautiful girl who lit up our lives. I used to take her for a walk in that park when she was a little girl. When I sit down and think of her now, the tears just come in floods.”

He added: “Whoever’s done this is an animal. They need catching and locked up for life.”

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