Who is Cody Ackland? Why did he kill Bobbi-Anne McLeod?

Devon & Cornwall Police /PA Wire

Cody Ackland pleaded guilty to Bobbi-Anne McLeod’s murder, drawing gasps from the crowd. Ackland’s murder of 18-year-old McLeod has baffled people: Ackland showed no previous indication of such grotesque levels of violence before he committed the offense. McLeod disappeared in late 2021 after Cody forced her inside his car. 

Ackland struck her repeatedly with a blunt instrument. He then drove to Bosivand Beach, where he dumped her body. Three days into the search for McLeod, Ackland presented himself to police and told them where they would find McLeod’s body.

This piece looks at Cody Ackland’s life as we join the masses in trying to figure out why he killed Bobbi-Anne McLeod. 

Cody was born in Germany and lived with his mom at the time of the murder 

Cody Ackland was born in early June 1997 in Paderborn, Germany, where his father, David Ackland, was stationed as a Lance Corporal. David and Cody’s mom, Helen, married in 1990. They have separated and reside in Plymouth. 

Ackland lived with his mom in the Southway area of Plymouth, about three miles from McLeod’s residence. 

Cody and McLeod attended Tor Bridge high school, but it was unlikely to have known each other given their six-year age gap. 

Ackland went to Estover Community College in Plymouth while doing various jobs. He gravitated to music and became the songwriter and lead guitarist of Plymouth indie band Rakuda. 

When Cody first appeared before the court in January 2022, he blamed an ‘abnormality of the mind’ as the reason for the attack. Psychiatrists examined him and ruled out mental illness as a possible defense in the case. 

Friends trying to give insight into Cody’s mental state said Ackland had contact with children’s mental health services. However, he wasn’t known to have psychiatric issues as an adult. 

Ackland’s band Rakuda disbanded before announcing their scheduled return in Spring 2022 

Cody and his bandmates picked the name Rakuda from a bar in Plymouth. They cited their influences as Oasis and Kasabian and had released several songs and a popular EP. 

After Cody was charged, his bandmates stated they were shocked and ‘in complete disbelief’ by the tragic event. Josh, Ross, Josh, and Mike said they’d decided to dissolve the band. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bobbi-Anne McLeod’s family and friends who must be devastated at their loss,” their statement read. “As a mark of respect, we have decided that we shall not be going forward as a band and will be disbanding with immediate effect.”

John Greenless, a singer in Rakuda, told the Daily Mail that he learned about the murder after police searched Cody’s house. “He’s a big part of our band and it’s all a bit shocking,” Josh said

In Mid-December 2021, Rakuda reversed its disbandment, writing on social media that the band had received positive responses from people. The band stated that they planned to resume operations in spring 2022. The statement read:

“Naturally, our thoughts and sentiments stay with Bobbi-Anne’s family and friends at this distressing time. The four former members of Rakuda; Josh, Ross, Josh and Mike have now decided to take a short hiatus from the music scene with a view of reforming in the spring of 2022.”

Ackland faces life imprisonment, but the Judge is yet to set the minimum sentence 

During Cody’s recent court appearance, Judge Robert Linford urged the public in court to remain silent. Ackland, wearing a grey sweatshirt and blue jeans, rose to confirm his identity and birth date and pleaded guilty to murdering Bobbi-Anne McLeod. 

The prosecutor, Richard Posner, stated that Cody’s guilty plea negated the need to pursue a kidnapping charge. Ray Tully, Cody’s attorney, said the defense would provide a psychiatric report on Ackland.

“You have pleaded guilty to murder for which the sentence is fixed by law. I shall sentence you on May 19. The sentence will be a sentence of imprisonment for life,” Judge Linford told an emotionless Cody.

“The only issue will be the minimum term which I must impose pursuant to Schedule 21 of the Sentencing Act 2020. You will be remanded into custody until that date and you may go down.” 

“While there is no justice that can bring Bobbi-Anne back, I’m pleased this case will be concluded swiftly and I truly hope the family will get the answers they need to provide some closure on this terrible incident,” Alison Hernandez, the police commissioner, said

Cody’s imprisonment will provide a satisfactory conclusion in the justice system’s eyes, but questions remain about the motivations behind the murder. 

Cody’s profile doesn’t match the nature of the crime: Ackland had shown no history of violence, came from a stable family, had good friends, and had a talent for music. Furthermore, he had no connection to McLeod, making it difficult to understand the extreme viciousness of the murder.

Ackland hasn’t given a reason for the murders. Hopefully, by the time sentencing comes around in mid-May 2022, we’ll have gotten closer to figuring out the motives behind this confounding crime. 

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