Musician who murdered 18-year-old student kept stash of pictures of mutilated bodies

·Freelance Writer
·4-min read
Cody Ackland has been jailed for the murder of Bobbi-Anne McLeod. (PA)
Cody Ackland has been jailed for the murder of Bobbi-Anne McLeod. (PA)

WARNING: This article contains distressing content

A musician secretly obsessed with "death, murder and murderers" such as serial killer Ted Bundy has been jailed for life for murdering 18-year-old Bobbi-Anne McLeod.

Cody Ackland, 24, who was a guitarist with local indie band Rakuda, must serve a minimum of 31 years before being eligible for parole, a judge told him today.

Ackland was leading a double life and had a secret morbid fascination with serial killers and was unknown to the police when he bludgeoned Ms McLeod with a claw hammer as she waited for a bus in Leigham, Plymouth, in November last year.

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 he killed her with a hammer.

Ackland pleaded guilty at a hearing last month to snatching Ms McLeod from a bus stop and murdering her but the full, shocking details of the crime were made public at Plymouth Crown Court today.

Bobbi-Anne McLeod was bludgeoned with a claw hammer by Cody Ackland before he snatched and murdered her. (PA)
Bobbi-Anne McLeod was bludgeoned with a claw hammer by Cody Ackland before he snatched and murdered her. (PA)

The court heard that police found a trove of over 3,000 dark and disturbing images on Ackland’s phone.

Many of them were of the mutilated bodies of murder victims, as well as murder weapons, soiled and bloodied clothing, and the sites where victims were found.

Ackland’s attack on Ms McLeod bore a striking resemblance to 1970s American serial killer Ted Bundy’s modus operandi, in that he approached her from behind and struck her with the hammer before kidnapping her.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, said Ackland had conducted extensive searches about serial killers and “their crimes, the aftermath of such crimes, and the bodies left behind in days leading up to Bobbi-Anne (McLeod’s) death”.

He said he had also been searching the web pages of DIY stores for “hammers, crowbars and cutting tools”.

PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Police carry out a fingertip search of the hill behind Sheepstor Road bus stop on November 25, 2021 in Plymouth, England. Bobbi-Anne McLeod went missing after leaving her home in Leigham in Plymouth at around 6 pm on Saturday. A murder investigation was launched after a body was found near Bovisand in South Hams on the south coast of Devon by police who had been searching for the missing 18-year-old woman. Two men are currently in police custody, arrested on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Police carry out a fingertip search of the hill behind Sheepstor Road bus stop days after Bobbi-Anne McLeod's body was found. (Finnbarr Webster/Getty)

Posner added: “His interest in the macabre presents as deep-rooted; a fascination with death, murder and murderers and the means to commit murder.”

Ms McLeod was found later on the afternoon of 23 November, naked and face down about 15ft down a steep wooded embankment near the coastal beauty spot of Bovisand, a few miles up the coast of Plymouth.

She had died from multiple injuries to her head and face, which could only have been inflicted “during a prolonged and frenzied attack”.

Ackland told police he had panicked when a still conscious Ms McLeod caught his eye when she fell to the floor.

He told officers Ms McLeod sat up and tried to scream, prompting him to put her in the car to “get rid of the problem”.

PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Family, friends and members of the public gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod on November 25, 2021 in Plymouth, England. Bobbi-Anne McLeod went missing after leaving her home in Leigham in Plymouth at around 6 pm on Saturday. A murder investigation was launched after a body was found near Bovisand in South Hams on the south coast of Devon by police who had been searching for the missing 18-year-old woman. Two men are currently in police custody, arrested on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Family, friends and members of the public gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod on 25 November, 2021. (Finnbarr Webster/Getty)

Having driven Ms McLeod 19 miles to Bellever Forest car park on Dartmoor, Ackland said he supported her as they walked towards woodland, where she told him: “I am scared.”

He described striking her 12 times to the head with a hammer to the head and face, but she was still breathing.

He added that he had also trodden on her neck to suffocate her.

After killing Ms McLeod, Ackland said he put her in the boot of his car, stripped her of all her clothes and jewellery and drove her another 30 miles to the coastal beauty spot of Bovisand where he dumped her body down a wooded embankment.

He then returned home and went to bed, and said he spent the rest of the day at home asking himself if what he did “actually happened”.

Plymouth, England - Sep 12, 2018: Right Side View of Entrance to Crown and County Courts in Plymouth, Plymouth Combined Court, Shallow Depth of Field
Cody Ackland was jailed for life at Plymouth Crown Court. (Getty)

Ackland later handed himself in to Devon and Cornwall Police, confessing to Ms McLeod’s murder and directing detectives to her body.

Crime scene investigators located the clothes at the allotments and his blood-stained trainers were found in his wardrobe. Ms McLeod’s blood was found in and around his car.

In a statement released by Devon and Cornwall Police after the sentencing, the family of Ms McLeod 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."

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