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Ted Bundy obsessive jailed for murdering teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Musician Cody Ackland, in the dock at Plymouth Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Musician Cody Ackland, in the dock at Plymouth Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

A musician obsessed with US serial killer Ted Bundy has been jailed for life after acting out his warped fantasies by brutally murdering a teenage girl, a court heard.

Cody Ackland, 24, who was a guitarist with local indie band Rakuda, was leading a double life and had a secret morbid fascination with serial killers – particularly Bundy, who murdered at least 20 women in the 1970s.

The car valet was unknown to the police when he bludgeoned 18-year-old Bobbi-Anne McLeod with a claw hammer.

Plymouth Crown Court heard Ackland attacked her as she waited for a bus in Plymouth in November last year.

He then 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 her 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.

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

At a previous hearing, Ackland, of Radcliffe Close, Southway, Plymouth pleaded guilty to murder.

On Thursday, he was handed a life sentence and ordered to spend at least 31 years in prison.

Cody Ackland has been jailed for life for murdering 18-year-old student Bobbi-Anne McLeod (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Cody Ackland has been jailed for life for murdering 18-year-old student Bobbi-Anne McLeod (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

In the days and weeks leading up to the student’s death, the obsessive searched the internet for information about serial killers’ crimes.

He kept over 3,000 grisly images on his phone, depicting dismembered or dead bodies, post-mortem examinations and murder scenes, the court heard.

Judge Robert Linford told Ackland: “On November 20 last year you subjected Bobbi-Anne McLeod to a prolonged, savage and merciless attack.”

He continued: “She 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.”

Judge Lindford told Ackland that he would remain indefinitely a “highly dangerous person”, adding: “There is a strong possibility you may never be released from prison.”

Ackland looked at the judge throughout his remarks and nodded as his sentence was passed.

As he left the dock, Miss McLeod’s brother Lee shouted: “You’re a dead man.”

Miss McLeod’s mother Donna wept throughout the hearing.

Plymouth student Bobbi-Anne McLeod was bludgeoned to death with a hammer by Cody Ackland (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Plymouth student Bobbi-Anne McLeod was bludgeoned to death with a hammer by Cody Ackland (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

Ackland searched online for remote locations on Dartmoor and for hammers, crowbars and cutting tools in the days before the murder.

At 5.45pm on November 20, Miss McLeod left her home in Leigham to meet her boyfriend and walked to the nearby bus stop on Bampton Road, where she was last seen alive at 6.15pm.

By 7.15pm, the teenager’s family were starting to worry and a member of the public found her abandoned mobile phone and Apple AirPod case in the bus stop.

The teenager’s boyfriend contacted her family at 9pm asking where she was, and they immediately went out looking for her and appealing on social media.

Devon and Cornwall Police launched a missing person inquiry.

The next day Ackland threw the hammer into the River Tamar and a carrier bag containing his and her blood-stained clothing into nearby allotments.

Later, he carried on as normal going for pizza with a friend, attended band practice, got a takeaway and drank into the early hours at a pub lock-in.

The teenager's body was found near a beach cafe at Bovisand after being told where to search by Ackland (Ben Birchall/PA)
The teenager’s body was found near a beach cafe at Bovisand after being told where to search by Ackland (Ben Birchall/PA)

Friends recall him being “happier than usual”. On the Monday, Ackland went to the cinema to watch Dune.

On Tuesday at lunchtime, he left work to walk to a police station to confess to murdering Miss McLeod.

He asked for a map and directed detectives to Bovisand – where police found her body hours later.

Forensic evidence and phone data corroborated Ackland’s story, the court heard.

Crime scene investigators located the clothes at the allotments and his blood-stained trainers were found in his wardrobe. Miss McLeod’s blood was found in and around his car.

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.