The teenage murderer of mother-of-two Lindsay Birbeck can be named as Rocky Marciano Price after reporting restrictions were lifted at Preston Crown Court.
Price was convicted on Wednesday of murdering the 47-year-old teaching assistant, having claimed he had nothing to do with her death and was offered money by a stranger to move her body.
Her body was discovered on 24 August 2019 in a shallow ditch, wrapped in two plastic bags, in Accrington Cemetery in Accrington, Lancashire, 12 days after she went missing.
During the teenager’s trial, the court heard Birbeck went for a walk in woodland called The Coppice, where the prosecution believed she was killed.
On Thursday, Mrs Justice Yip ruled that the public interest in knowing Price’s identity outweighed concerns over his welfare.
The judge said: “This was a dreadful crime which understandably generated strong public interest.
“The public will naturally want to know who this person was as they come to terms with something that rocked the local community.”
Price, of Accrington, who was 16 at the time, was seen on CCTV in that area on the same afternoon and was also seen taking a blue wheelie bin to the woodland in the evening.
After Birbeck’s body was discovered, a post-mortem examination found she had died from neck injuries and severe compressive force appeared to have been used.
On 17 August, five days after Birbeck went missing, Price was seen moving a wheelie bin from the woods to the cemetery, which now appeared “heavy”, the court heard. The prosecution said this now contained the teaching assistant’s body.
In a statement, Price admitted moving the bin and burying the body but said he had no involvement in Birbeck’s death, instead claiming a stranger he encountered while walking promised “a lot of money” if he disposed of the body.
His defence claimed the DNA and scientific evidence suggested she might have been killed by someone she knew, not a stranger like Price.
But the prosecution rejected this, with David McLachlan QC describing Price’s claims of a stranger offering money to move the body as “a complete nonsense”, designed to “explain away his actions that day”.
Several of Price’s family members are buried at Accrington Cemetery.
The jury was told he had no previous convictions and lived with his family at a home near the cemetery.
He was described as a quiet teenager with learning difficulties but had a supportive family. He was diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Teachers described Price, who has a low IQ of 65, as “very quiet” and would usually shrug in response to conversation, but he had never shown signs of violence, the court heard.
He had a “limited understanding” of his own emotional wellbeing and little insight into the link between events and emotions.
Outside court, Birbeck’s daughter Sarah said: “As a family we are completely devastated that my mum has been taken from us so suddenly in such an appalling way.
“However, we do feel some sense of relief that the defendant has been found guilty of murdering my mum and that justice has now been served.
“My mum went for a walk on a sunny afternoon in August and never came home, it’s unthinkable that something as brutal as this could happen in our close community to someone that was loved so very dearly.
“Our lives have been utterly destroyed by the evil, cowardly behaviour of the defendant and the horrific manner in which she was murdered – it has left a huge void in our lives that will never be filled.”
Price is due to be sentenced on Friday.