Man accused over stabbings spree denies murder but admits manslaughter

Matthew Cooper, PA
·1-min read

A 27-year-old man accused of committing a series of stabbings in Birmingham has denied murdering a university worker but admitted his manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

Zephaniah McLeod pleaded not guilty to a single count of murder via video-link to Birmingham Crown Court, and was not asked to enter pleas to seven counts of attempted murder.

McLeod, of Nately Grove, Selly Oak, Birmingham, told the court clerk he is “not guilty, but guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility” in respect of a charge alleging he murdered Jacob Billington last September.

Birmingham stabbings
Sheffield Hallam University graduate intern Jacob Billington (West Midlands Police/PA)

Mr Billington, 23, from Crosby, Merseyside, was fatally stabbed and seven other people were injured at various locations in Birmingham city centre during a 90-minute period in the early hours of Sunday September 6.

Adjourning the case on Thursday, the Recorder of Birmingham, Judge Melbourne Inman QC, told the court: “The next hearing, Mr McLeod, will be on the 30th of April in the form of a pre-trial review.”

McLeod was also told a trial date in the case has been set for June 28.

Mr Billington was a 2018 Sheffield Hallam University graduate and worked in its library as a graduate intern.