August 20, 2022

Cody Ackland was jailed for a minimum of 31 years at Plymouth Crown Court

After bashing Bobbi-Anne McLeod a dozen times with a claw hammer, Cody Ackland marvelled how the 18-year-old was still able to make a noise, later telling police he thought, “f***** hell, wow, I mean hats off to you.”

Ackland, an indie band guitarist who was fascinated with serial killers, in particular, Tedy Bundy, was on Thursday jailed for a minimum of 31 years for murdering Bobbi-Anne who he abducted from a bus stop in Leigham, Plymouth, after bludgeoning her with a hammer on 20 November 2021.

The 24-year-old had picked Bobbi-Anne at random because she reminded him of his past girlfriends. Plymouth Crown Court heard how he was “wound up and needed to get out of the house”, so drove around until he changed upon Bobbi-Anne.

After parking his car, he crept up on the 4ft 11in college student and struck her over the head with the hammer. As she fell to the ground their eyes met, Ackland told police, so he struck her again.

That was meant to “be it”, but when Ackland returned to his Ford Fiesta, he saw Bobbi-Anne moving, so bundled her into the footwell of his car. Stopping at a car park at Bellever Forest, on the fringes of Dartmoor, some 19 miles away, Ackland began a “prolonged, frenzied, sadistic attack” that caused  “multiple catastrophic injuries to her head and face”. Bobbi-Anne was later identified through dental records.

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The killer, the court was told, had been “acting out his fantasy” and as well as striking Bobbi-Anne with the hammer he had stamped on her throat.

Ackland had amassed over 3,000 grisly images of dead and dismembered people on his phone and was morbidly fascinated by Bundy – who was executed in 1989 after kidnapping, raping, and murdering at least 30 women and girls during the 1970s – and had searched the internet for Fred West and Ivan Milat in the weeks before committing murder, the court heard.

Ackland recalled how Bobbi-Anne had told him, “I’m scared” as he assisted her towards woodland, shortly before he took her life, stripped her naked, stole her jewellery, and dumped her body in undergrowth down a slope. He had replied to Bobbi-Anne, “So am I, I never done this, I’ve never seen this’, but I meant to say ‘I’ve never done this’,” Ackland told police.

After the murder, Ackland went out partying with friends. Witnesses later told how he was laughing, joking, and hugging people and went to a pub-lock-in before later ordering pizza. He also attended a practice session with his band.

Three days later, Ackland – a car valet – turned himself in to police, confessing to detectives where he had dumped Bobbi-Anne’s body.

In a victim impact statement Bobbi-Anne’s mother, Donna McLeod, said her daughter was a “beautiful girl who lit up our lives and the lives of everyone she ever met”.

“Everybody who knew Bobbi loved her,” she said, before telling Ackland that he had “taken away our world”.

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