Murderer who attacked teenager at bus stop sentenced to life

Cody Ackland leaves Plymouth Magistrates Court in November

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Cody Ackland, 24, showed “determined savagery” when he encountered Bobbi-Anne McLeod, 18, at a bus stop and attacked her. A court heard he then tried to strangle her in a car, attacked her on grassland with a hammer and then stood on the teenager’s throat.

The shameless killer spent the following couple of days drinking with friends, going to the cinema and attending band practice.

But he was finally snagged and today appeared at Plymouth Crown Court for sentencing to Ms McLeod’s murder.

He was caged for life with a minimum of 31 years, Plymouth Live reports.

Sentencing the thug, Judge Robert Linford said: “You were quite clearly planning murder and did murder. There were effectively four attempts to kill her.

“This was a prolonged, savage and merciless attack. It caused outrage and fear in this part of country and rightly so. Utterly motiveless.”

Ackland attacked Ms McLeod at a bus stop in Leigham, Plymouth, on November 20 last year.

The judge said Ackland “put her into the car unconscious and bleeding heavily”, tried to strangle the woman, and took her to remote moorland at Dartmoor National Park, where he continued the attack.

She lived for one hour and a half after the initial blow.

Evidence showed Ackland had “a worrying and disturbing interest in serial killers”. He spoke of images on his phone including pictures of bodies, post mortems, serial killers.

“I am satisfied your interest in this material went beyond morbid fascination,” the judge continued.

Paying tribute to Ms McLeod, her devastated family, of Plymouth, described her as “a beautiful girl who lit up our lives and the lives of everyone she ever met.”

The relatives also thanked those who have offered support and the police who brought the killer to justice.

The emotional statement, which was read in court, said: “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.

“I want Cody Ackland to know that he has taken away our world. 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.

“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.

“We do want to say thank you to everyone. There is no piece of paper, bulletin board, flyer, or anything big enough out there on which we can say thank you.

“The help and support from everyone, not just friends and family but everyone, everywhere, who helped with all of the posters, posts and messages to bring our baby, our Bobbi, home – thank you.

“To everyone in the police, the investigation team and all of the services, we thank you for everything you have done and for finally getting justice for Bobbi-Anne.”

Ackland, who was not known to the police, pleaded guilty to murder.

He had depression and anxiety from a young age, the court was told, and he was bullied at school.

Ray Tully QC, defending, conceded nothing he can say can make life better for the family of Bobbi-Anne and they will rightfully hold utter hatred for the man he represents in their head and heart.

But the lawyer added: “He (Ackland) grew up feeling something other – something different – feeling excluded in a number of ways. He felt a loner.

“He views what he has done as a culmination of everything that has gone on in his life and his childhood. We’re dealing with the aftershocks of things that have been rumbling on undetected.”

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