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CPS statement following Zephaniah McLeod sentencing

|News, Violent crime

A man who stabbed eight people in Birmingham city centre, killing one and injuring seven others, has been given a life sentence and will be detained in a high-security hospital.

Zephaniah McLeod, 27, of Nately Grove, Selly Oak, Birmingham, killed 23-year-old Jacob Billington and stabbed seven others in the early hours of 6 September 2020. None of the victims were known to McLeod.

The attacks began shortly after midnight, when three people were attacked in the street in the financial district of Birmingham, with the attacker fleeing the scene. He then reappeared around 1:50am when he launched more random attacks in a different part of the city centre before fleeing once more.

The attacker was identified as McLeod after an extensive police operation, and he was arrested the next day. The Crown Prosecution Service was involved early on in the investigation to provide urgent advice and the charging authority. A large amount of CCTV footage from across the city was reviewed, together with scientific submissions and witness testimony in order to identify the individual responsible.

In June 2021, McLeod pleaded guilty to manslaughter in respect of the death of Jacob Billington on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Birmingham Crown Court. This plea was accepted by the CPS following review of detailed psychiatric assessments. He also pleaded guilty to four charges of attempted murder and three charges of wounding with intent involving the other victims.

He was sentenced today (18 November 2021) at Birmingham Crown Court to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years. He will be sent to a high-security hospital until he is deemed well enough to be moved to prison.

Hannah Sidaway, of the CPS, said: "These were horrific and totally unprovoked attacks on members of the public going about their daily lives. Jacob Billington tragically lost his life and others sustained life-changing injuries. Zephaniah McLeod will be detained in hospital until it is determined that he is safe to leave.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to Jacob Billington's family for the senseless tragedy and irreplaceable loss they have suffered. I want to also thank the other victims for their courage and support during this extremely traumatic time for them."

Notes to editors

  • Hannah Sidaway is a Specialist Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands.

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