United Kingdom

Ted Bundy fanatic jailed for life for murdering teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Cody Ackland attacked Bobbi-Anne McLeod in Plymouth in November last year (Pictures: PA)

The musician who brutally bludgeoned 18-year-old Bobbi-Anne McLeod with a claw hammer while acting out his morbid fascination with serial killers like Ted Bundy has been jailed for life.

Cody Ackland, 24, a guitarist with local indie band Rakuda, attacked the teenager as she waited for a bus in Plymouth in November last year.

Ms McLeod’s family listened to the harrowing details of her final moments being outlined in public for the first time as Ackland was sentenced at the city’s crown court on Thursday.

After assaulting her at the bus stop, Ackland 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, like Bundy, he killed her with a hammer.

Ackland burnt Ms McLeod’s handbag and loaded her blooded body into his boot and drove 30 miles back towards Plymouth to Bovisand where he stripped her naked and left her in undergrowth.

He later threw away her clothes in an allotment before spending the next 48 hours socialising with friends.

Bobbi-Anne McLeod was last seen waiting at a bus stop in Plymouth on the evening of Saturday November 20 last year (Picture: PA)

Three days later, Ackland turned himself in and confessed, telling detectives where he had dumped her body.

Ms McLeod was found on the afternoon of Tuesday November 23, naked and face down about 15ft down a steep wooded embankment.

The teenager died from multiple injuries to her head and face, which could only have been inflicted ‘during a prolonged and frenzied attack’.

A forensic investigation of Ackland’s car found extensive blood staining throughout the vehicle, including in the footwell of the passenger seat, where he forced Ms McLeod when he first snatched her from the bus stop.

In a police interview after handing himself in, Ackland described catching the teenager’s eye as she fell and then stuffing her in his car as she sat up and tried to scream.

He told officers he had to prop Ms McLeod up as he guided her towards the wooded area where he would murder her, saying she told him: ‘I’m scared.’

After recounting how the teenager was still breathing despite suffering 12 blows to the head and face, Ackland chillingly remarked: ‘It’s not funny but she started to make a noise and I thought “f****** hell, wow, I mean hats off to her”.’

He then said he finally choked the life out of her by treading on her neck.

Ackland, from Southway, Plymouth, pleaded guilty to murder and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 31 years.

The judge told Ackland he may never be released (Picture: SWNS)

Judge Robert Linford said it had been a ‘prolonged, savage and merciless attack’.

He told Ackland ‘there were effectively four attempts by you to kill her’, adding: ‘The first was at the bus stop and you beat her over the head with a hammer.

‘The second was when you tried to strangle her in the car. The third was when you struck her repeatedly with a hammer on the moor in truly terrible circumstances, with her knowing what you were intent upon doing to her.

‘The fourth was when you stood on her throat. This was a prolonged and awful ordeal for this poor person.’

Judge Linford went on: ‘[Ms McLeod] was a young, popular and much-loved person, you caused outrage and fear in this part of the country and with good reason, it was utterly motiveless.’

He said Ackland would remain indefinitely a ‘highly dangerous person’, adding: ‘There is a strong possibility you may never be released from prison.’

As he left the dock, Ms McLeod’s brother Lee shouted: ‘You’re a dead man.’

Her mother Donna wept throughout the hearing.

The harrowing details of Ms McLeod’s final moments were outlined in court (Picture: Devon and Cornwall Police)

Family robbed of ‘beautiful girl who lit up our lives’

The family of Bobbi-Anne McLeod paid tribute to the much-loved teenager, with parents Adrian and Donna, and brother Lee saying they have been robbed of a ‘beautiful girl’ and their lives will never be the same again.

The McLeod family said the student’s last hours alive were spent being tortured by Ted Bundy obsessive Cody Ackland.

‘We want him to know that he has taken away our world,’ they said.

‘Our lives have changed forever. We have not been able to say goodbye to Bobbi-Anne and we can only imagine the things he did to her – the thoughts are continually going around in our minds.

‘Why Bobbi-Anne? Why make her suffer? To know her final hours were spent being tortured destroys us inside.

‘Bobbi-Anne was so loved and had so many life plans; he cruelly ripped that life away from her and us.

‘We can’t even contemplate a future without her in it. There will never be anything the justice system can impose that will ever come close to what he deserves.’

Family, friends and members of the public gather for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod on November 25 last year (Picture: Getty)

They 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.

‘We will never see her beautiful face or hear her laugh, see her get married or have the children she so wanted. So many everyday things have been taken away. Her not being here is still unimaginable.’

The family also thanked relatives, friends and members of the local community for their help in trying to find Miss McLeod.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, said Ackland was leading ‘a double life’ and harboured an obsession with serial killers in the UK, Australia, US and Russia.

Mr Posner said Ackland had conducted extensive searches about ‘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 trawling the web pages of DIY stores for ‘hammers, crowbars and cutting tools’.

‘Cody Ackland led a double life. When he left home on November 20 and drove through Leigham in Plymouth towards the bus stop where Bobbi-Anne was,’ the prosecutor said.

‘He held such an unhealthy fascination and desire to imitate serial killers. His fascination was to become an unimaneagable wicked reality for Bobbi-Anne.’

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

Cody Ackland pleaded guilty to the murder of 18-year-old student Bobbi-Anne McLeod (Picture: PA)

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

Investigators found from August to November last year, Ackland had looked for information about several murderers, including Ted Bundy, Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo Jr, Andrei Chikatilo, Ivan Milat, Fred West and Tommy Sells.

Murderer was inspired by US serial killer Ted Bundy

Cody Ackland had an obsession with murder and serial killers, and one in particular – Ted Bundy.

The musician snatched Miss McLeod from a bus stop in Leigham, Plymouth in November last year, striking her twice to the head with a claw hammer before bundling her into his car.

He would later bludgeon her to death in a remote car park on Dartmoor.

Three days after the killing Ackland handed himself in, and investigators would find more than three thousand images of the bodies of murder victims, murder weapons and bloodstained clothing.

Ackland had pored over the lives of famous serial killers, but his decision to attack Miss McLeod with a hammer bore a striking resemblance to American murderer Bundy’s modus operandi.

Court artist sketch of Ackland in the dock at Plymouth Crown Court (Picture: PA)

Bundy was executed after confessing to the murders of 30 women (Picture: Bettmann Archive)

Bundy confessed to the murders of 30 women in the across the states of Oregon, Utah, Florida, Colorado, and Idaho, beginning in the 1970s.

The true figure might be much higher.

He would target young women who were usually living independently either in the early stages of their career or as college students.

Bundy would typically approach them in public places and fake a disability in order to get them to assist him with a task, such as lifting something out of his car.

He would batter them unconscious with a hammer or other blunt weapon before moving them to a secret location where he would rape and strangle them.

Often he would return to their bodies, sometimes washing them, putting make-up on them and sexually assaulting their corpses.

In some instances he decapitated the dead bodies and stored the heads in his apartment.

He twice managed to escape jail, and was finally recaptured in February 1978.

Bundy’s case captured the imagination of the US public (Picture: Bettmann Archive)

Bundy’s case captured the imagination of the US public, and his trial was one of the first to be broadcast live on television.

After a lengthy legal fight and numerous stays, Bundy was finally executed by electric chair in January 1989.

Ann Rule, one of Bundy’s many biographers, described him as: ‘A sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human’s pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death and even after.’

Like Bundy, despite turning himself in and confessing his crime, detectives working on the case say Ackland has never shown a shred of remorse for killing Miss McLeod.

In the week before killing Bobbi-Anne McLeod, Ackland carried out further searches for Ted Bundy, Fred West and ‘Fred West’s house’.

Two days the murder, he also looked up Richard Chase, the Vampire of Sacramento, and ‘Richard Chase bodies’.

The day before handing himself into police, Ackland also searched for serial killer Ed Kemper.

Mr Posner said: ‘His interest in the macabre presents as deep-rooted; a fascination with death, murder and murderers and the means to commit murder.’

Rakuda, who released their first EP in August last year, announced in November they would disband ‘with immediate effect’, but weeks later said they would be taking a ‘short hiatus from the music scene’ with a view to reforming in the spring of 2022.

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