‘she made the world a better place with everything she said and did...’
THE parents of Ellen Higginbottom lived through an ordeal that no family should have to experience.
Ellen’s devastated dad Mike, a businessman, and schoolteacher mum Kay, had believed their daughter would return safely after she went out for a walk before meeting friends.
But instead they were forced to endure an agonising wait while police searched for their missing daughter – only to be told the worst possible news.
The Higginbottoms were not in court to hear the sentencing.
But in a statement released after the case, dad Mike paid an emotional tribute to his daughter.
He said: “There can never be anything even remotely approaching justice for what was done to Ellen, but what can be done has been done and both Kay and I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been involved in bringing about today’s achievement.
“We were tremendously lucky to have shared 18 years with her and everyone else who knew her will identify with that feeling. She made the world a better place with pretty much everything she said and everything she did.
“We all would have liked more though, and we would especially have liked for her to have had more. For her to have seen the results of all her hard work, for her to have seen her friends fly the nest as they went to uni, for her to have explored the world that she was just growing into.
“To have all that taken away from her in such a pointless and idiotic fashion fills us with an anger and resentment that does not represent who we want to be. But we wrestle it under control and learn to be better at being people. Because that’s what adults do.
“So if there’s anyone else out there thinking of doing anything even half this stupid, just take one piece of advice: Grow up.”
Earlier, the court also heard a victim impact statement from Ellen’s boyfriend, Ryan Warren, who spoke of his devastation over the brutal attack.
Ellen with boyfriend Ryan Warren
A family photo of Ellen