May 24, 2022
On Saturday November 20, 2021, eighteen-year-old Bobbi-Anne McLeod left her home in Leigham, Plymouth in the UK and made her way to the local bus stop. It was around 5:45pm and the teenager had plans to spend the evening with her boyfriend. Bobbi-Anne was last spotted by an eyewitness around 6:15pm waiting at the bus stop on Bampton Road, the last time anyone, besides her killer, would see her alive. As the teenager stood waiting for the next bus, a sinister figure crept up from behind her in the winter darkness and hit her across the back of the head with a claw hammer.
As she fell to the ground, Bobbi-Anne made eye contact with her attacker- 24-year-old Cody Ackland. Bobbi-Anne had never met Cody Ackland before, he was a stranger to her, and she to him.
Ackland was surprised when his teenage victim did not die from the blows, and recognising that she was still alive, he dragged her to his vehicle, a Ford Fiesta, and shoved her into the footwell.
Ackland then drove Bobbi-Anne 20 miles to Dartmoor, where they arrived at around 7:45pm.
He then beat her to death with the hammer before burning her handbag along with other incriminating items.
After brutally bludgeoning the girl, he put her body in the trunk of his car and drove to Bovisand, a nearby beach area. There he stripped her naked and discarded her body on a bank, concealing it under some bushes alongside a lane.
He then returned to his home and went to sleep.
Bobbi-Anne was quickly missed and was soon reported missing by concerned loved ones who went out to search for her.
Ackland, who played in a local indie band, Rakuda, was scheduled to meet up with friends the next evening and disposed of the evidence before meeting up with them.
He threw the victims clothing in an allotment in the nearby village of Tamerton Foliot and tossed the murder weapon into a stream connected to the River Tamar. The killer then casually met up with his friends for band practice and drinks, continuing with his night as though nothing had happened.
On November 23, at 1:30pm, for reasons unknown, Cody Ackland walked into Charles Cross Police Station, asking to speak to someone. When asked what he wanted to speak to someone about, he responded: “The Leigham misper”- misper being police speak for missing person.
Ackland was soon face to face with a detective, to whom he promptly confessed.
Ackland had left his job as a valet at around noon that day and had sent a series of out-of-character messages to friends and family before handing himself in to police. He told his bandmates that he loved them and sent his mother a similar message, causing her to worry.
After his confession, Ackland was led to a room at the police station where he was questioned about the whereabouts of the victim’s body. He pointed out the location of the body on a map, telling detectives that they would find Bobbi-Anne near a lane leading to a cafe on the beach.
Police followed his directions hoping that Bobbi-Anne, by some miracle, could still be alive. They soon discovered her lifeless, bludgeoned, and naked body, face-down in the dirt, beneath the undergrowth. Despite the victim’s state of undress, Ackland insisted there was “nothing sexual” about the crime. The victim had injuries to her head and face and reports described the injuries as a “frenzied and prolonged attack.”
Ackland was arrested on suspicion of murder.
When asked about his motivation for the attack and murder, the killer was unable to answer.
According to an article in the Independent (UK), Ackland told police during his interview that Bobbi-Anne looked similar to his ex-girlfriend. When asked what happened that night he told detectives: “I got myself wound up and needed to go out. I needed to get out and do something.”
He also described delivering at least twelve blows to the teenage girls face and head, saying:
“It’s not funny but she started to make a noise and I thought ‘fucking hell, wow, I mean hats off to her’.”
When asked why he confessed to the murder, he claimed he wanted to “help the police and victims’ family.”
Police later stated that they were confident, regardless of Cody Ackland’s confession, that they would have eventually found the victim’s body and identified Ackland as her killer, due to large quantity of blood and forensic evidence in the killer’s vehicle and cell phone data placing him at the scene of the kidnapping, murder, and disposal.
Investigators would later discover that the 24-year-old killer had a secret obsession with serial killers and missing people from around the world. He was specifically fascinated with Infamous American serial killer, Ted Bundy, who raped and murdered girls and women across several states in the 1970s. Bundy’s modus operandi was to render his victim’s unconscious in public and kidnap them, before transporting them elsewhere to kill them. Bundy also often returned to the site of disposal to commit acts of necrophilia.
Ackland, who had no prior criminal record, had hundreds of morbid images saved to his phone, including images of serial killers, murder weapons, decapitated victims, and crime scenes. There were reportedly 3,216 disturbing images in total.
He had also looked up the area of Dartmoor during the days leading up to the crime- specifically secluded areas, much like the spot where he dumped Bobbi-Anne’s body.
On May 19, 2022, Cody Ackland was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 31 years. The judge described Bobbi-Anne’s murder as “a prolonged, savage and merciless attack.”
The judge also added: “The mental and physical suffering inflicted on McLeod, who faced four murder attempts: when Ackland hit her with a hammer at the bus stop, strangled her in the car, struck her repeatedly with a hammer on a moor, and finally stood on her throat. This was a prolonged and awful ordeal for this poor person.”
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