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Inquest into death of teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod opened and adjourned

·4 min read

An inquest has been opened and adjourned into the death of teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod.

The 18-year-old was last seen waiting at a bus stop in Plymouth on the evening of Saturday November 20 as she set off to meet friends.

Her body was found three days later near the beach at Bovisand, about seven miles away from where she lived.

Musician Cody Ackland has appeared in court charged with the teenager’s murder and was remanded in custody to await trial.

The 24-year-old appeared before Truro Crown Court on Monday and is due in court again on January 24.

Ian Arrow, senior coroner for Plymouth, Torbay and South Devon, opened and adjourned the inquest pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Cody Ackland drawing
Cody Ackland (centre) appeared at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Detective Inspector Stephanie Blundell, the senior investigating officer, told the hearing at Plymouth Coroner’s Court: “I can report as part of the inquiries into the death of Bobbi-Anne McLeod a formal identification process was completed.

“Bobbi-Anne was found deceased in a wooded area off a lane between Fort Staddon and Bovisand, South Hams in Devon on November 23 2021.

“At the time Bobbi-Anne was single and a student by occupation.

“The circumstances of this death are that Bobbi-Anne had been reported missing by her family on the evening of Saturday November 20 and on Tuesday November 23 information was passed to the police which led to the discovery of a young female which matched the description of Bobbi-Anne.

“A male has now been charged with murder.”

Mr Arrow confirmed the student’s body would be retained for a “short while” before being released to her family.

“I understand it may be appropriate to retain her body for a short while and, in that case, I will direct that the body is retained for a short while,” he said.

“We can review that in due course. On the basis that a man has been charged I am formally opening the inquest, but I shall adjourn the inquest pending the result of any criminal proceedings.”

No cause of death was given during the short hearing.

Ms McLeod left her home in Leigham at about 6pm on November 20 and was last seen waiting at a nearby bus stop.

Hundreds of people gathered by the spot where she was last seen to hold a candlelit vigil in her memory.

Bobbi-Anne McLeod missing
A woman lays flowers in Sheepstor Road in Plymouth (Ben Birchall/PA)

A bank of flowers dotted with candles has been laid by local residents over the past few days.

Donna McLeod, the victim’s mother, was distressed during the vigil but was able to thank the crowd for all the love and support her family has received over the last few days.

“Thank you for doing everything to try and find her and bring our baby home,” she said.

Ackland was the lead guitarist in Plymouth-based indy band Rakuda, who released their first EP in August this year.

The other members announced last week they would be disbanding “with immediate effect”.

In a post on the band’s Facebook page, they wrote: “The remaining members of Rakuda … are all extremely shocked and in complete disbelief by the tragic event that has unfolded over the last several days.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bobbi-Anne McLeod’s family and friends who must be devastated at their loss.

“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. We will not be making any further comments at this time.”

Meanwhile, Plymouth City Council leader Nick Kelly has been suspended by his local Conservative Party over comments he made about community safety in the aftermath of Ms McLeod’s death.

In an interview with ITV West Country, Mr Kelly said he thinks “everybody has a responsibility to try to not put themselves in a compromising position”.

He later apologised to the teenager’s family.

“I want to start by wholeheartedly apologising, particularly to the family and friends of Bobbi-Anne McLeod, if reported statements made by me earlier this week have caused distress and upset,” he said.

“I want to emphasise that in no way, shape or form was I ever suggesting that Bobbi-Anne McLeod did anything wrong. She didn’t. This tragedy is in no way her fault. What has happened to her is solely at the hands of the person who took her life.”

A spokeswoman for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Conservative Association said in a statement: “Councillor Nick Kelly’s membership of the Conservative Party has been temporarily suspended pending an investigation following comments he was reported to have made in an ITV interview on November 25 2021.”

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