24-year-old Cody Ackland has admitted to the murder of 18-year-old Bobbi-Anne McLeod in November 2021.
Updated 6 April: 24-year-old Cody Ackland has admitted to the murder of Bobbi-Anne McLeod, 18, who disappeared from a bus stop in Devon in November last year.
The pair were not known to each other and the motive for the attack remains unclear. No details of what happened were given in court but it is believed Ackland used violence to get her into his vehicle and then beat her repeatedly.
Ackland is reported to have grabbed McLeod off the street near her home in Plymouth, driving her away and carrying out a prolonged attack on her with a blunt instrument before hiding her body in woods on a lane down to a beach.
Following searches for her, Ackland walked into a police station three days after the attack and told police what he had done and where to find
In court, Ackland spoke only to confirm his identity, date of birth and to plead guilty to murder, showing no emotion as he heard he would be sentenced on 19 May and jailed for life.
McLeod’s killing sparked marches, candlelit vigils and calls for urgent measures to make the streets of Plymouth safer for women, alongside a commission to examine violence against women and girls.
As reported on 26 November 2021: A 24-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 18-year-old Bobbi-Anne McLeod, who was reported missing from Plymouth on Saturday.
Cody Ackland, from the Southway area of the city, is due to appear at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Police said the family of Ms McLeod, 18, have been informed and continue to be supported by specialist officers.
Ackland and another man, aged 26, had been questioned on suspicion of murder, but the 26-year-old was later released from police custody having been eliminated from the inquiry.
Police investigating the killing also confirmed that there is no known link between McLeod and Ackland.
Officers searching for McLeod said they found a woman’s body at Bovisand, six miles south of Plymouth city centre, on Tuesday and Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed two men, both from the city, had been arrested on suspicion of murder.
McLeod had been due to catch a bus into Plymouth city centre to meet friends on Saturday evening but did not arrive.
As The Guardian reports, the body found was located near Bovisand in South Hams on the south coast of Devon, around six miles from Plymouth, after information was passed to the police.
Devon and Cornwall police said on Tuesday night that formal identification had yet to be carried out, but added that McLeod’s family had been informed of the development and were being supported by officers.
Police had been conducting searches and inquiries across Plymouth, supported by a helicopter. A Facebook page set up to help find McLeod attracted more than 13,000 members. Friends and local residents joined searches of woods near her home on Monday and Tuesday.
Responding to the news of the discovery, McLeod’s brother, Lee, paid tribute to his sister on social media, writing: “You didn’t deserve this.”
Sharing images of the two as children, he said: “Until we meet again sis. I love you.
“You didn’t deserve this, such a beautiful and talented girl and to have you as my little sister the adventure and journey we had been on will always be treasured.
“Now go rest easy.”
Reclaim These Streets, the activist group that organised vigils following the murder of Sarah Everard in March, wrote on Twitter: “Devastating news that another young woman’s life has been stolen. Our hearts are with the family and friends of Bobbi-Anne McLeod.”
Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard, said the discovery of a body was “devastating”.
He tweeted: “It is devastating news for our city that a body has been discovered in the search for missing Bobbi-Anne. My thoughts and love are with the family.
“We await news from the police but this is another dark day for our city.”
He later added: “There’s real anger and concern across Plymouth about Bobbi-Anne’s disappearance and the murder investigation that is now underway.”
Devon and Cornwall police said that enquiries remain ongoing in relation to this matter and asked anyone with information that may assist the ongoing investigation to contact police on 101 quoting log 706 22/11/21.
Victim Support is an independent charity that provides practical and emotional support to victims of all crimes, including sexual assault and harassment. For help and information you can contact the charity’s free 24/7 Support line number on 0808 16 89 111 or seek support via the website: victimsupport.org.uk.
To find out more about what Stylist is doing to help tackle violence against women and girls in the UK, you can check out our A Fearless Future campaign.
The family and friends of Bobbi-Anne McLeod have set up a fundraiser, which can be found here.
Image: family of Bobbi-Anne McLeod/ GoFundMe page