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Plymouth Musician Sentenced for Murder

Disclaimer: This contains information that readers may find disturbing and upsetting.

Cody Ackland, 25, of Radcliffe Close, Southway was sentenced yesterday for the brutal murder of Bobbi-Anne, 18, who resided in Leigham.

The former lead guitarist in the Plymouth-based indy band, Rakuda, was handed a life sentence, meaning he will have to serve a minimum term of 30 years and 190 days before he will be considered for parole. Robert Linford was the presiding Judge in this well-publicised court case and in speaking to Ackland said "This was determined savagery". Judge Robert Linford stated that Ackland may never be released and I am sure the whole of Plymouth is hoping that will be true.

Photo courtesy of Devon and Cornwall Police

Cody Ackland, during his confession, spoke about his life as a teen, feeling isolated, was bullied and had suicidal thoughts from as young as 9 years old. His defending QC, Mr Ray Tully declared that his client, Ackland had many difficulties in childhood and through his teens and this was still impacting on him as an adult. Ackland himself feels he never had help or support while growing up and feels this would have led to his actions. Mr Tully told the court that there are reports of his client having multiple issues including, Anxiety, ADHD and Depression for which he took medication for. Ackland commented that while growing up, he did not feel 'normal'. However, a Psychiatric assessment was performed and concluded that he did not have any kind of mental disorder at the time.

At 5:45pm on Saturday November 20th 2021, Bobbi-Anne left her home in Leigham and was running late as she could not find her shoes. She told her dad she loved him and walked out the door. She was on her way to catch the bus to meet her Boyfriend. Bobbi-Anne was spotted at the bus stop which is at the junction of Sheepstor Road and Bampton, by a witness around 6:15pm. Not long after, a local man found her mobile phone and AirPods case at the bus stop, he handed these to the driver of a bus that arrived at the stop at 7:23pm.

Photo Courtesy of Devon and Cornwall Police

Around 9pm, Bobbi-Annes Boyfriend, Louis Leach, called the McLeod family home to see if she was still there, worried as she had not arrived to meet him. After realising she was missing, Bobbi-Annes mum, Donna started calling friends to see if anyone had seen her. Bobbi-Annes brother, Lee went out looking for her. After hearing nothing and frantic with worry, Donna called the police.

The following day, Sunday November 21st, local search parties gathered to coordinate. That morning, a local schoolboy found Bobbi-Annes AirPods behind the bus stop she had been seen at. Search efforts were stepped up with many people from all over Plymouth wanting to help. I myself grew up in Leigham and remember what a tight community it was and clearly still is.

On Tuesday 23rd November 2021 at 1:30pm, Cody Ackland walked into Charles Cross Police station in the heart of the City and asked to speak to someone in Private regarding the missing teen. He was taken into a side room and declared "I did it".

Photo courtesy of Devon and Cornwall Police

So what happened to this beautiful, loving and popular young girl?

Cody Ackland described it in detail to the Police.

He had been at home watching TV when he felt himself becoming wound up and annoyed. He felt he needed to "Get out and do something". Whether that actually meant murder, we don't actually know.

Ackland was driving through Leigham when he spotted Bobbi-Anne who "Looked like his Ex girlfriend". He stopped the car, a red Ford Fiesta, and took a claw hammer out of the boot which he apparently kept there to remove dents from the cars panels. He walked up behind Bobbi-Anne and struck her on the head. She fell to the ground where he struck her again. He returned to his car to drive away and saw her moving, this is when he abducted her. Ackland then drove the 19 miles to the secluded area of Bellever Forest, which is geographically positioned between Princetown and Chagford, close to the village of Postbridge, arriving about 7:45pm.

Photo courtesy of Devon and Cornwall Police

He took her out of the car, walked her to the rear and repeatedly hit her with the hammer again, stating it was about 12 times. Miraculously, Bobbi-Anne was fighting and was still alive. Ackland is quoted to have said "It's not funny but she started to make a noise and I thought 'f*****g hell, wow, I mean, hats off to her'" After realising she was still alive, Ackland stood on her neck and suffocated her. Police believe this is the spot where he sealed her fate. After a savage and brutal attack, he had succeeded in killing her.

Ackland then drove back to Plymouth and onto Bovisand where he dumped her body 15ft down a bank into undergrowth. This is believed to be about 9:15pm. Here he stripped her of clothes and jewellery before disposing of her body.

He then went home to bed.

The following day, Sunday 21st Nov, Ackland began monitoring Social Media and reading any updates. He then drove to Tamerton Foliot and disposed of his bloodied clothes and Bobbi-Annes clothes in an allotment off of Coombe Lane. He threw the hammer into a tributary of the River Tamar. Ackland then met up with friends and carried on his day as if all was normal. Friends even commented how happy he seemed, more so than usual.

Ackland stated that he felt like the crime he had just committed wasn't real, like someone else had murdered her.

After walking into the Police station and confessing, the extent of his obsession for murder and death became very apparent. Ackland had over 3000 graphic and dark images on his phone of dismembered bodies, post-mortems, serial killers and weapons. In the months, weeks, days and even hours before the murder, Ackland had been searching online for serial killers, murder weapons, balaclavas, baseball bats and waterproof clothing. All signs that he had been planning to kill for a while. He was particularly interested in the well-known American serial killer, Ted Bundy, who murdered numerous girls and women in the 1970s. Ted Bundy was thought to have killed many more than he confessed to or was charged for. His Modus Operandi was blunt force trauma and strangulation. Acklands unhealthy fascination and morbid bloodlust for the macabre and disturbing scenes of murder undoubtedly contributed to his decision to murder. Judge Robert Linford described it as "A worrying and disturbing interest in murders and serial killers"

Prosecuter, Richard Posner said the murder was not sexually motivated and called the confession 'Harrowing and disturbing'

Would he have carried on killing more women if he hadn't of confessed? I'm sure it's a question many have asked.

Bobbi-Annes family are now left with a hole in all their hearts and an empty space at the dinner table that no-one can ever fill. During Bobbi-Annes mum impact statement, she said that Bobbi-Anne wanted to attend college and study interior design. She told the court that Bobbi-Anne has so many dreams and plans and had just applied for her driving licence.

To Ackland she said,

"We can't contemplate a future without Bobbi-Anne in it. Her room is still now as it was. It's hard to even open the door. Nothing the justice system can impose on you can ever come close to what you deserve".

They say that time is a healer but nothing will be able to heal what this loving family has been through or what Bobbi-Anne had to endure at the hands of what I can only call, a monster.

I am sure the next 30 years and 190 days will not be kind to him.

Candlelight vigil, Plymouth Hoe. Photo courtesy of Plymouth Live.

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