Wed. Jul 6th, 2022

Senior police have said they are sure that even if Bobbi-Anne’s murderer had not given himself up three days after she went missing, they would have found him and recovered her body – but they could not say for sure why he suddenly went from a man of previous good character to a sickening killer, nor why he gave himself up.

That day, November 23, he went to work at a car valeting firm set within a Plymouth garage but around noon he left, never to return. He sent a series of what police called “strange” messages to family and friends. On his Facebook group, which included members of the band he regularly play with, he wrote “love you guys”. He texted his mother and others writing “I love you and I love the children”.

Plymouth Crown Court heard from prosecutor Richard Posner who said that Ackland’s message to his mother was “concerned her”. At 1.17pm he walked into the front office of Charles Cross police station, asking if there was anyone to talk to.

Read next: Cody Ackland led secret life fascinated with serial killers like Ted Bundy

When he was asked by the police staff member what it was about, he said “it’s the Leigham misper”. Police often use the term “misper” as a shortened version – it’s something police and crime reporters know well, but the public may not have heard the phrase as often.

However, for someone like Ackland, who was repeatedly described in court as having a morbid fascination with serial killers, who ate up stories about missing people in the US, Australia, England and Russia, who saved images of “missing persons posters” along with pictures of serial killers, the word “misper” would easily be part of his vocabulary



The moment Cody Ackland, 24, walked into Charles Cross police station in Plymouth and confessed to murdering Bobbi-Anne McLeod.

Asked if he had any information, he said that he did and a detective was called down to speak with him while he waited in a small side room. Plymouth Crown Court heard how the detective found Ackland to be “nervous, passive” and she took him to another, more secure, room in the station. She later revealed how he fiddled with his hands and “seemed very pale”.

“I did it”, he told police, and according to the police who sat with him, his eyes “welled up”. “I was responsible for it … I will not be any trouble.”

He underwent what police described as an “urgent interview” which saw him give some details as to where Bobbi-Anne was left. Police were understandably gravely concerned for Bobbi-Anne’s welfare and held out hope, however slim, that she may have still been alive and that they could reach her in time.

Two detectives, an inspector and a sergeant, raced out to the spot Ackland pointed to on a map. They clambered through the dense undergrowth and there, tragically, they found her, face down in the dirt, naked, clearly deceased. Ackland’s car was littered with forensic evidence linking it to Bobbi-Anne. Blood stains and blood spatters were found throughout.

At his next interview, Ackland got the duty solicitor to read out a statement, saying: “I’m solely responsible for the death of Bobbi-Anne.” He said he had never met her before Saturday night, did not know her name. He confirmed that he had taken her from the bus stop and had left her body in woodland at Bovisand.

He then said that he had “decided this morning to tell police and try and help the police and family”. He insisted that no-one else was involved or had any knowledge of the incident before saying he would make no further comment.

However, he then insisted that there was “nothing sexual about this attack”, emphasizing that he “did not touch Bobbi-Anne in a sexual way”.

Twelve hours later he was interviewed again, after police had made a number of inquiries. The interview was 90 minutes long and while police said they found evidence which strongly suggested what Ackland had done, as he claimed during the confession, it did not explain “what motivated him to do it”. Mr Posner told the court that it was “a harrowing and disturbing confession”.



Devon and Cornwall Police release a mugshot of convicted murderer Cody Ackland.
Devon and Cornwall Police release a mugshot of convicted murderer Cody Ackland.

It was undoubtedly more than harrowing and disturbing for Bobbi-Anne’s family to hear the details of his confession in court, and what police were able to determine through actual evidence – rather than just the words of their daughter’s killer.

Criminologists and police talk about the escalation of offending – about how a person can move from minor, seemingly small crimes, to larger and more heinous offenses. Violent criminals will invariably start off, perhaps in their younger years, getting involved in fights, assaults, beatings. Along the way there are steps and barriers – the steps can lead the offender up and down the scale of violence, while the barriers may halt their progress, both up and down.

Those who are not dealt with by the courts, change their ways or fail to have their underlying reasons for such outbursts effectively ‘treated’, may continue to become increasingly violent, eventually reaching the point where they nearly take – or actually take – another person’s life. It is a gradual process, police have found, and there are hopefully opportunities along the way to stop the creep towards homicide.

However, in Ackland’s case, as has been pointed out by senior investigators in this inquiry, it is a rare thing to find someone who has gone from a man without any contact with police – no previous convictions, no arrests, absolutely nothing on the Police National Computer, not as an offender nor even as a victim of crime – to a killer who appeared to gain some form of gratification from their sadistic, savage and brutal murder of a petite 18-year-old girl.



Detective Superintendent Mike West said Cody Ackland "led a secret life"
Detective Superintendent Mike West said Cody Ackland “led a secret life”

Det Supt Mike West, who oversaw the inquiry, said while Ackland had provided a “level of explanation” but had refused to go into any detail as to his motivation, avoided questions about why he had murdered Bobbi-Anne or why he chose her. As a result he felt this lack – or refusal – of Ackland to fully explain his motivations added to the pain suffered by Bobbi-Anne’s family.

At some point in the near future Ackland may change his mind and be more forthcoming. Det Supt West said a prison visit to Ackland to seek a fuller explanation of his actions and motivations was “certainly something that is open to question” but he warned it was a decision which would be discussed with the Crown Prosecution Service and the prosecution team first .

However, even if Ackland did consent to such a prison interview in the weeks or months ahead, and finally lays out honestly and with clarity why he did what he did – and then why he decided to present himself to police, it is unlikely this will bring any comfort to the family of Bobbi-Anne McLeod to finally know why their daughter’s life was so cruelly and callously snuffed out.

Ackland, of Radcliffe Close, Southway, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 31 years. . A judge at Plymouth Crown Court described his actions as ‘determined savagery’ and said there was a chance that he would never be released from prison.

If you’ve been affected by anything in this news article, support is available. Please contact the police by email: 101@dc.police.uk or telephone 101.

Alternatively, advice and support are also offered by the police’s partner agencies:

Victim Care Unit (Devon and Cornwall) – 01392 475900

Victim Support – 0300 303 0554. For more information visit: Get help – Victim Support

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