Wigan student murdered
Friends have paid tributes to Ellen Higginbottom Facebook

A Wigan student who died after being attacked near her college has been named as Ellen Higginbottom.

Police confirm a 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering the sixth-form student .

The man from the Billinge area of Wigan is being held in custody on suspicion of murder.

The 18-year-old was reported missing by her family when she failed to return home from college on Saturday (17 June).

Six hours later her body was discovered at Orrell Water Park close to two reservoirs that are surrounded by woodland. She had suffered injuries to her head and neck in a brutal attack.

Detective Superintendent Howard Millington, from Greater Manchester Police'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.

"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."

Friends of the teenager who attended Winstanley College have described her as a "lovely and caring young girl" who was "taken far too young".

Katie Hatton wrote on Facebook: "Absolutely heartbreaking that this horror had to happen to such a lovely and caring young girl, always smiling and making me laugh in psychology.

"You were taken far too young - my love and thoughts are with friends and family. R.I.P. Ellen."

Lisa Wasilewski wrote: "Seriously saddened by the loss of the lovely Ellen Higginbottom. My thoughts are with her family right now.

"I will always remember you for your love of horses and your bubbly personality."

Winstanley College released a statement saying the community was "shocked and mourning the loss of a wonderful young woman".

It said it was helping affected students "come to terms with something no one should ever have to come to terms with."

The headteacher of nearby Lathom High School, Jane Galbraith, tweeted: "All of us @LathomHS are thinking of you all at this terrible time."