Man faces sentencing for sexually motivated murder of 18-year-old

Mark Buckley is to be sentenced for Ellen's murder
Mark Buckley is to be sentenced for Ellen's murder

A man is to be sentenced for the sexually motivated murder of a teenage student.

Mark Buckley, 51, attacked 18-year-old Ellen Higginbottom, before taking her laptop and mobile phone and then leaving her for dead near a wheat field close to Orrell Water Park in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

READ MORE: Preston man due in court over death of Wigan student Ellen Higginbottom

Miss Higginbottom was reported missing after failing to return home from Winstanley College in Orrell on June 16.

Her body was found the next day and a post-mortem examination showed she died from multiple wounds to the neck.

Last week, Buckley, of New Hall Lane, Preston, pleaded guilty to her murder when he appeared at Manchester Crown Court.

The facts of the case were not given in court but Neil Fryman, prosecuting, told the hearing: "There was a sexual motivation for this offence and also it was pre-meditated."

After her death, Miss Higginbottom's family paid tribute to the psychology student, who loved animals and enjoyed cooking and "messing on her phone".

In a statement they said: "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.

"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.

"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."

Sentencing takes place from 10am.