Bobbi-Anne McLeod: what happened to Plymouth teenager murdered by musician Cody Ackland?
Bobbi-Anne McLeod’s family say knowing what Cody Ackland subjected her to in her final hours ‘destroys us’
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A teenager murdered by a man obsessed with serial killer Ted Bundy has been laid to rest six months after her death.
The family of Bobbi-Anne McLeod paid tribute to the much-loved teenager as the man who brutally murdered her began a life sentence.
Cody Ackland, 24, had previously admitted the murder of Miss McLeod at a hearing last month.
Bobbi-Anne McLeod’s parents, Adrian and Donna, and brother Lee said they had been robbed of a “beautiful girl” and their lives would never be the same again.
Ackland was obsessed with serial killers, and in particular Ted Bundy.
What happened to Bobbi-Anne McLeod?
On 20 November Miss McLeod left her Leighham home around 5.45pm to see her boyfriend.
She told her father she loved him and headed to the nearby bus stop on Bampton Road. She was seen there between 6.05pm and 6.15pm, looking up the street, checking for the bus.
But Ackland was out in his car and about to pass through Leigham. Phone data put him in the same location as Miss McLeod around 6.55pm.
By 7.15pm her family had not heard from her and they were starting to worry.
Meanwhile, a man stumbled across Miss McLeod’s mobile phone and her AirPods case at the bus stop; he gave them to the bus driver who arrived at 7.23pm but it was thought someone had lost them.
At 9pm Miss McLeod’s boyfriend phoned the family home asking if she was still there. Her family called friends and went out looking for her. Concern began to spread on social media and the next day members of the community joined the search.
A schoolboy, who had seen Miss McLeod waiting for the bus the night before, found her AirPods on a path behind the bus stop on Sunday morning.
Her body was found three days later near the beach at Bovisand.
Police said there was “no known link” between Miss McLeod and Ackland.
A candlelit vigil was also held at the spot where the teenager was last seen alive.
Plymouth Crown Court heard Ackland attacked her as she waited for the bus.
He then loaded the semi-conscious teenager into the footwell of his Ford Fiesta and drove her 20 miles to the Bellever Forest car park on Dartmoor where, like Bundy, he killed her with a hammer.
In his confession to police, he claimed Ms McLeod could still walk, although he had to support her, when they arrived and had told him “I’m scared”.
He claimed he had replied: “So am I, I have never done this before”.
Ackland then struck her 12 times to the head and face with the hammer, before standing on her neck when he saw she was still breathing.
Ackland burnt her handbag and loaded her body into his boot and drove 30 miles back towards Plymouth to Bovisand where he stripped her naked and left her in undergrowth.
Three days later, Ackland turned himself in and confessed, telling detectives where he had dumped her body.
What have Bobbi-Anne’s family said?
The McLeod family said the student’s last hours alive were spent being tortured by Ted Bundy obsessive Cody Ackland.
“We want him to know that he has taken away our world,” they said.
“Our lives have changed forever. We have not been able to say goodbye to Bobbi-Anne and we can only imagine the things he did to her – the thoughts are continually going around in our minds.
“Why Bobbi-Anne? Why make her suffer? To know her final hours were spent being tortured destroys us inside.
“Bobbi-Anne was so loved and had so many life plans; he cruelly ripped that life away from her and us.
“We can’t even contemplate a future without her in it. There will never be anything the justice system can impose that will ever come close to what he deserves.”
They added: “Bobbi was a beautiful girl who lit up our lives and the lives of everyone she ever met. She was kind, funny, and loyal.
“She was the best daughter, the best sister, and the best friend to so many people. Everybody who knew Bobbi loved her.
“We have been robbed of our beautiful girl in the worst possible way and our lives will never be the same without her.
“We will never see her beautiful face or hear her laugh, see her get married or have the children she so wanted. So many everyday things have been taken away. Her not being here is still unimaginable.”
When was Bobbi-Anne’s funeral?
Hundreds of people paid tribute to the teenager at her funeral six months after her murder.
On Thursday (26 May) a horse-drawn carriage took the 18-year-old’s coffin from her home in Leigham, Plymouth, to St Andrew’s Church in Royal Parade.
Members of the public lined the streets in Leigham to say goodbye and hundreds of people filled the church for the 40-minute service, which was led by Rev Joe Dent.
Miss McLeod’s family had asked mourners to wear black trousers and T-shirts featuring rock bands, such as Queen, ACDC, Oasis and Pink Floyd, in honour of the popular student. Many also wore turquoise-coloured ribbons on their T-shirts.
Among the congregation were Lord Mayor of Plymouth Sue Dann, senior police officers and local Conservative MP Johnny Mercer.
The teenager’s turquoise coffin, which had “Bobbi” written on the side, was carried into the church by pallbearers, and her family, including her parents Adrian and Donna and brother Lee, followed behind.
A single red rose and personal tributes to Miss McLeod had been placed on top of the coffin.
As the hearse left the church, people outside broke out into a spontaneous round of applause.
What did the judge say?
Judge Robert Linford told Ackland as he handed him a life sentence with a minimum of at least 31 years: “On November 20 last year you subjected Bobbi-Anne McLeod to a prolonged, savage and merciless attack.”
He continued: “She was a young, popular and much-loved person, you caused outrage and fear in this part of the country and with good reason, it was utterly motiveless.”
Judge Lindford told Ackland that he would remain indefinitely a “highly dangerous person”, adding: “There is a strong possibility you may never be released from prison.”
Ackland looked at the judge throughout his remarks and nodded as his sentence was passed.
What have the police said?
Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said she hoped Cody Ackland was never released from prison for murdering Bobbi-Anne McLeod.
“This case illustrates the best and worst in humanity. The worst in a killer who showed such incredible cruelty to his victim and the best in the community in Plymouth who expressed an outpouring of grief and support for Bobbi-Anne’s family,” she said.
“I hope her loved ones and the community take some solace in the fact that that he is locked up and police have investigated this case with professionalism and compassion, even though nothing will ease the devastation of losing Bobbi-Anne, a much-loved young woman.
“This case has touched the hearts of people around the country. No reasonable person could ever fathom the actions of this murderer and I hope, for public safety and reassurance, that he’s never released.”