Bobbi-Anne McLeod: Hundreds line the streets of Plymouth for the funeral | Plymouth

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets of Plymouth for the funeral of murdered teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod as city leaders acknowledged more needed to be done to keep women and girls safe.

McLeod’s favorite music – alternative rock – was played at the service in the town center of St Andrew’s Church and many mourners wore band t-shirts and black jeans in tribute to the 18-year-old years.

The funeral took place six months after McLeod was abducted from a bus stop and murdered, and a week after her killer, Cody Ackland, 24, was jailed for at least 30 years.

Outside the church, Johnny Mercer, the MP for Plymouth Moor View, said the crime had devastated not just McLeod’s family, but the whole town. “Bobbi-Anne was clearly a very special person who touched the hearts of so many people,” he said.

Many mourners wore band t-shirts and black jeans. Photography: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

His murder in November 2021 came just three months after Jake Davison, a 22-year-old apprentice crane operator who held extreme misogynistic views, shot dead five people in the Keyham area of ​​Plymouth.

Mercer said: “Murders of strangers and mass shootings are two of the rarest crimes, but it doesn’t look like that in Plymouth at the moment. Women and girls are afraid and we have a job to do about it.

There were many poignant moments. People left flowers and balloons on a memorial bench opposite the bus stop in the Leigham area of ​​the city where McLeod was attacked and abducted.

McLeod’s coffin was taken by horse-drawn carriage from a pub car park near the bus stop down the hill to the church.

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At the door, mourners received blue ribbons, McLeod’s favorite color, and asked for donations for pink bands for charity that read, “My heart is with you forever Bobbi-Anne.” Inside, songs played included Iris from American alternative rock band Goo Goo Dolls and a track by Puff Daddy.

Bobbi-Anne McLeod
Bobbi-Anne McLeod was abducted and murdered in November 2021. Photograph: Devon and Cornwall Police/PA

Bands McLeod loved — Pink Floyd, Nirvana, AC/DC, Queen and Eminem — featured prominently on the mourners’ T-shirts. People complied with the family’s request not to wear ripped jeans, an item of clothing McLeod was wearing when she was abducted.

Ackland, a guitarist for a local rock band, attacked McLeod with a claw hammer before abducting him and carrying out a prolonged assault in a forest, causing “catastrophic” injuries to his head and face.

He then drove 28 miles, stripped McLeod and dumped her body near a beach. The following days, he went out with friends and rehearsed with his band, appearing more cheerful and affectionate than usual.

Three days later he turned himself in and detectives were shocked to find a cache of 3,000 graphic images on his phone revealing his obsession with serial killer Ted Bundy.

Crimes against women have increased in Devon and Cornwall over the past year. Recorded crime as a whole increased by 11%, but rape increased by 19% and other sexual offenses by 29%. Women and girls say they are afraid to go out alone.

Plymouth City Council is set to release a report from a commission on violence against women and girls set up after McLeod’s murder. The commission is expected to include 15 recommendations ranging from finding practical ways to make the city safer to trying to change fundamental negative attitudes towards women and girls.

Rebecca Smith, Council Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, said: ‘We have listened and are 100 per cent aware of the fear and uncertainty. We recognize that one of the big issues is education and how we change the culture. We want to live in a city where people cry sexism.

Sally Haydon, Labor Policing and Crime spokesperson in Plymouth, said: ‘A young woman with her whole future ahead of her should have been able to wait at a bus stop without losing her life. Urgent action needs to be taken both nationally and locally to address the issues that mean we are seeing these terrible events happening at an alarming level.

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