By using this service and related content, you agree to the use of cookies for analytics, personalised content and ads.
You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Student's killer jailed for at least 31 years

Sky News logo Sky News 5 days ago
Mark Buckley has been jailed for the 'brutal' murder of Ellen Higginbottom © Sky News Screen Grab Mark Buckley has been jailed for the 'brutal' murder of Ellen Higginbottom

A man who murdered a college student in a "sexually motivated premeditated" attack that was "as cowardly and callous as it was brutal" has been jailed for a minimum of 31 years.

Mark Buckley, 52, killed 18-year-old Ellen Higginbottom, then stole her laptop and mobile phone before leaving her for dead at Orrell Water Park in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

Judge David Stockdale QC, told Buckley he subjected Miss Higginbottom to "a savage and brutal attack".

"You inflicted many wounds in cutting her throat and killing her. It was as cowardly and callous as it was brutal," he said.

The entrance to Orrell Water Park, where an 18-year-old woman has been found murdered. Credit: Google Maps © Sky News Screen Grab The entrance to Orrell Water Park, where an 18-year-old woman has been found murdered. Credit: Google Maps

"She would have had no idea it was coming. She would have been caught entirely off her guard.

"You were armed with a knife. She simply did not stand a chance. What must have been going through her mind is beyond imagining."

The A-level student from Wigan was reported missing by her family when she failed to return home from Winstanley College in Orrell on 16 June.

Friends said she was last seen near Orrell Water Park, where there are two reservoirs surrounded by woodland.

Greater Manchester Police have launched a murder investigation into Ellen's death © Other Greater Manchester Police have launched a murder investigation into Ellen's death

Just over six hours after the student was reporting missing, police found her body there.

A post-mortem examination showed she died from multiple wounds to the neck.

Sentencing Buckley for the "frankly chilling" murder, the judge said: "You Mark Buckley had entered the park intending, as I find, upon attacking and sexually assaulting a female.

"You were carrying a bag later seen to contain items for sexual activity, together with a length of rope and cord. You were carrying a knife," he added.

The student, who was slightly-built was not able to physically offer much resistance, said the judge.

Buckley targeted Miss Higginbottom, who was hoping to become a vet, as she was walking home alone through the park after revising at the college.

She was planning to return and meet up with friends who were sitting exams.

Buckley planned to bury her body after dark, but when he returned to the park and moved her body, a police helicopter with heat-seeking equipment hovered overhead and he made off.

Buckley was later arrested and admitted killing Miss Higginbottom, but could offer no explanation for his actions.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Sky News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon