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A freelance musician has pleaded guilty to the murder of 18-year-old student Bobbi-Anne McLeod, who disappeared while waiting for a bus in Plymouth.
Cody Ackland, 24, pleaded guilty during a plea and trial preparation hearing at Plymouth Crown Court on Tuesday.
He appeared in the dock dressed in jeans and a gray sweater, speaking only to confirm his name, date of birth and plead guilty to murdering the teen on a date between November 19 and 23, 2021.
Richard Posner, the prosecutor, asked for sentencing to be delayed while he awaited more evidence from a neuropathologist’s report that he expected to serve in court before the end of the month.
He said that when he had received it, he would be ready to present a full sentencing note detailing the facts of the murder.
Ray Tully QC of Ackland said he would provide the court with a psychiatric report on the defendant before the sentencing hearing.
Judge Robert Linford warned Ackland that he would receive a statutory life sentence when he listed the case for sentencing on May 19, adding: “The only problem will be the minimum term.”
Ms. McLeod’s mother, father and brother were sitting in the public gallery while the victim’s friends and extended family watched the proceedings in a separate courtroom via video link.
The victim’s mother, Donna McLeod, was in tears during the brief hearing.
The judge sent Ackland, of Radcliffe Close, Southway, Plymouth, into custody to appear in court for sentencing next month.
He also thanked the public for the “commendable way he has behaved once again during the process.”
Mrs McLeod was last seen waiting at a bus stop on Bampton Road, near her home in the Plymouth suburb of Leigham, on the evening of Saturday 20 November 2021, as she headed into town to meet friends.
Her body was discovered three days later near a beach in Bovisand, South Hams, some seven miles away.
Police said there was “no known link” between Ms McLeod and Ackland.
Bobbi-Anne was last seen waiting at a bus stop near her home in Leigham, Plymouth, on her way to meet friends.
Cause of Death
The cause of the teenager’s death was not disclosed during the opening of the investigation carried out last year.
Ms McLeod’s distraught mother thanked the Leigham community for her support as hundreds attended a candlelight vigil at the location where the student was last seen alive in November.
“Thank you for going out of your way to try to find her and bring our baby home,” she said.
Her older brother Lee, who begged people to help him search for his sister whom he was convinced had been kidnapped, paid an emotional tribute after police found a body three days later. of her disappearance.
Sharing a photo of the brothers in elementary school uniform on Facebook, he wrote, “Until we meet again sister. Love you.
“You did not deserve this beautiful and talented girl and having you as my little sister, the adventure and journey we have been on will always be treasured. Now go rest easy.
Crime scene investigators on Sheepstor Road in Plymouth, near the bus stop where Bobbi-Anne McLeod disappeared
Ackland was the lead guitarist for Plymouth-based indie band Rakuda, who released their first EP in August last year.
The other members of Rakuda announced in November that they would be disbanding “effective immediately,” but weeks later said they would take a “brief hiatus from the music scene” with a view to reforming in spring 2022.
Speaking after the court hearing on Tuesday, Alison Hernandez, Commissioner of Police and Crime for Devon and Cornwall, said: “I can’t even begin to imagine the pain Bobbi-Anne McLeod’s family and friends have been through. in recent months.
“While there is no justice that can bring Bobbi-Anne back, I am pleased that this case is being concluded quickly and I truly hope the family gets the answers they need to bring closure to this terrible incident.
“I would like to thank the police for their hard work in bringing Cody Ackland to justice.
“I would also like to thank the Plymouth community who have shown incredible courage, empathy and support during this dark time for the city.”
Nikki Leaper, Assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, added: “Our thoughts remain with the McLeod family and those close to Bobbi-Anne who have had a daughter, a sister and a friend so cruelly taken from them.” .