Cody James Ackland will be sentenced today for the murder of Leigham teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod. Ackland, aged 24, pleaded guilty on April 5 to the single charge of murder of the 18-year-old student and faces an automatic life sentence.
Bobbi-Anne went missing after leaving to catch a bus near her home on the night of November 20. She had left her home around 6pm on the Saturday and had walked the short distance to the bus stop at the junction of Bampton Road and Sheepstor Road . Her family and friends raised the alarm later that night after she did not arrive at her boyfriend’s as intended.
According to court documents he killed her sometime between between November 20 and November 23 last year. The guitarist had previously undergone a psychiatric report, the details of which are expected to be read out by his defense barrister during today’s hearing at Plymouth Crown Court.
Read next: Bobbi-Anne McLeod gave evidence in trial the day before she was killed
On the evening of November 23 police announced that they had arrested two men on suspicion of murder and that a body had been found in woodland at Bovisand. One of the men arrested was later released with no further action to be taken against them, as police were certain they had no involvement in the matter. The other, Ackland, was later charged with Bobbi-Anne’s murder.
Police have since confirmed that Ackland, of Radcliffe Close, Southway, entered Charles Cross police station on November 23, confessing to the abduction and murder of Bobbi-Anne, before informing them where he had placed her body.
Follow live updates from the courtroom here.
The murder of Bobbi-Anne sparked an outpouring of concern and grief throughout the city, as well as questions and demands about the safety of women and girls. Protests and vigils also followed, including a moving candlelit event held at Smeaton’s Tower on the Hoe and a minute’s silence at Home Park during a match between Plymouth Argyle and Wigan Athletic.
In addition, the Violence Against Women and Girls Commission, chaired by Plymouth City Councilor Rebecca Smith, was set up in January and brought together key partners and agencies from across Plymouth to review what was being done across the city to educate men and boys, prevent and deter these types of crimes and consider what support was available for victims.
It was revealed that former Chief Crown Prosecutor for NW England, Nazir Afzal OBE, would be working with the Commission as an independent advisor, bringing expertise from his 24 year career prosecuting the most high profile cases in the country and advising on many others. Ackland faces a mandatory life sentence for the crime of murder.
The sentencing will see prosecutors open the case, running through the events leading up to and after Bobbi-Anne’s murder along with the evidence gathered by investigators. It will be the first time the public will hear of the circumstances of her disappearance and untimely death.
His defense barrister Ray Tully QC is likely to offer mitigation but it will be for Judge Robert Linford to determine the minimum tariff Ackland should serve before he is considered for parole. As with the previous court hearings, a large number of media are expected to attend the hearing, along with a very large number of family, friends and supporters of Bobbie Anne.
The hearing will be held in Court 3 of Plymouth Crown Court. Due to the number of people who have requested to attend, court staff have also set aside Courtroom 4 for additional family and reporters to watch proceedings over a video link from the neighboring courtroom.
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