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Protesters to attend ‘reclaim the streets’ vigil after abduction and murder of Bobbi-Anne McLeod


The family of Bobbi-Anne McLeod – the girl abducted and murdered in Plymouth – were tonight joined by hundreds of mourners as they walked from their home with candles to the bus stop where she disappeared last weekend.

Police said today there is ‘no known link’ between a 24-year-old murder suspect and the teenager, as they continued to search a house four miles from where she vanished.

He remains in custody for further questioning while another man, 26, has been released with no further action after also being arrested on suspicion of murder.

Bobbie-Anne, 18, was snatched while waiting for a bus to go and meet her boyfriend, before her devastated family were told her body had been found on Tuesday evening. 

Tonight, relatives walked from their home to the scene with candles and pictures of the teenager, where they were joined by crowds of other mourners from the local area. 

Bobbi-Anne’s mother, Donna, sobbed as she paid tribute to her daughter and thanked friends, family and the wider community for their support.

Surrounded by other family members, her voice trembled but she completed a prepared statement.

She said: ‘I would like to thank everyone for coming, on behalf of the family. It’s nice everyone is coming together in the circumstances.

‘Unfortunately, our beautiful Bobbi-Anne has been taken from us, but she will never be forgotten. I’d like everyone to hold their candles up. This is for Bobbi-Anne’.

This was followed by a moment of silence as the entire crowd held up their candles in unison.  

Family, friends and members of the public gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod

A candle light vigil was held near the bus stop where the teenager went missing over the weekend

A candle light vigil was held near the bus stop where the teenager went missing over the weekend

A man lights candles on the ground near where the teenager was snatched last weekend

A man lights candles on the ground near where the teenager was snatched last weekend

Family, friends and members of the public gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Family, friends and members of the public gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Bobbie-Anne, 18, was snatched while waiting for a bus to go and meet her boyfriend last weekend, before her devastated family were told her body had been found on Tuesday evening

Bobbie-Anne, 18, was snatched while waiting for a bus to go and meet her boyfriend last weekend, before her devastated family were told her body had been found on Tuesday evening

Earlier, Bobbi-Anne’s family including her parents, grandparents and siblings, left their home and walked the short distance to the bus stop – around a four-minute walk – flanked by dozens more supporters, carrying balloons.

The family group then held up their candles in unison before releasing around 40 balloons into the sky.

One onlooker said: ‘It was a really touching, emotional moment as Bobbi-Anne’s mother hugged her daughters and many of us started sobbing.’

The family also left a book for people to write loving memories about her as they looked on and embraced.

Laying flowers just before the vigil, close friends Ellie and Summer, both 18, said they felt ‘sick’ knowing what had happened.

Ellie said: ‘I feel awful, I was quite close with Bobbi, I went to school with her, and also really close with Lee (her brother) who I’ve been messaging this whole time.

‘I’ve not heard much from him though, but I just feel awful for him. She was just the nicest kid I’ve ever met in my life, it’s the nicest ones who are taken early, and it’s just horrible. Nobody deserves to be treated like that.

‘When you’re so local, and when you know Bobbi, it hits home so hard how vulnerable you can be. I just don’t know what to say about it – there are no words.

‘I was eating my tea when I heard about what happened, and I just dropped everything and started crying. It’s all just horrible – even getting off the bus I thought I just thought I couldn’t look’.

Summer said: ‘It’s just been such a shock for everyone. My Auntie’s house is just down the road, I could have been at that bus stop – anyone could have been at that bus stop.

‘It just makes me feel sick, how can anyone do this? Who wakes up in the morning and thinks they’re going to do that to a girl?

‘I think it’s time to recognise that us girls need to be allowed to have pepper sprays and weapons, because look at us girls – there are men out there and they’re stronger than us and think we’re all weak.

‘They just look at us and we do nothing wrong, and they think it’s okay to come and take us. Us girls need something for protection, we can scream and shout, but what’s that going to do? She probably screamed and shouted and that didn’t help her.’

Another local mother Julie Evans, who attended the vigil, said it was such a shock and said she worries for her own daughter,

She said: ‘I first heard on our Facebook group that she had been missing, but you don’t think anything untoward happened. But then it just kept going on and on.

‘Seeing all the police and forensic teams just makes it all more real. It is so scary to think someone can just be taken like that.

‘My daughter has always assumed I’m just being over protective, walking her to places and everything – but it’s just what you do as a mum to not frighten them but just keep them safe.

‘It makes you feel like you want to just hold them closer. You’d think there would be more cameras and security around here.’ 

Tonight's vigil (pictured) comes ahead of another 'reclaim the streets' event on Friday evening

Tonight’s vigil (pictured) comes ahead of another ‘reclaim the streets’ event on Friday evening

Family members gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Family members gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Pictures of the popular 18-year-old were used at the vigil, which drew crowds from across Plymouth

Pictures of the popular 18-year-old were used at the vigil, which drew crowds from across Plymouth

Visitors brought flowers and candles as they remembered the much-loved teenager

Visitors brought flowers and candles as they remembered the much-loved teenager

Family, friends and members of the public gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Family, friends and members of the public gather by Sheepstor Road bus stop for a candlelit vigil in tribute of Bobbi-Anne McLeod

A woman holds up a candle at the scene of Bobbi-Anne McLeod's disappearance in Plymouth

A woman holds up a candle at the scene of Bobbi-Anne McLeod’s disappearance in Plymouth

Locals lit candles where dozens of bouquets of flowers have been left in recent days

Locals lit candles where dozens of bouquets of flowers have been left in recent days 

Huge crowds gathered on Thursday night as the people of Plymouth went to pay their respects

Huge crowds gathered on Thursday night as the people of Plymouth went to pay their respects

Lauren Wallace, 22, added: ‘It’s just so shocking that it happened so close. When you live so nearby on your doorstep, and you see everything going on, it’s just a shock.

‘I definitely feel more nervous now to go out. You hear about women being followed around here, but until it happens just two bus stops down from us, she was literally just getting the bus – and it was on such a busy road too.

‘She’s probably done that trip thousands of times, it was just her normal routine’.

The entire area has now been covered in lit candles and a pile of flowers full of photos and tributes to the much-loved teen.

Tomorrow night, a large number of woman are expected to attend a more public vigil on Plymouth Hoe as part of the ‘reclaim the streets movement’ launched in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard.

Women across the city said they now fear going anywhere alone – especially at night.

Kathleen Frost, 81, who lives just next to one area that was searched yesterday for evidence, said today she felt less safe as a result of the killing.

She said: ‘I don’t normally keep my doors locked but they were last night.

‘I’ve only been here three years, so I’ve not really settled in properly, but it seemed like a nice community and it’s definitely a shock.

‘I didn’t hear anything on that night, but the day it happened I had to walk my dog in the dark. I was a little bit on edge that day anyway, so now I heard what happened to Bobbi I won’t be doing that anymore.

‘I didn’t sleep last night just thinking what that girl must have gone through’.

One local woman, Anne, said ‘its just devastating’ and supports the planned ‘reclaim the streets’ protest.

She said: ‘I’ve got my kids at home who are unwell but if I didn’t I would probably be protesting now. So I fully support the protest.

‘This should never happen, at the end of the day we should be able to walk the streets and feel safe.

‘I think there should be more security, there needs to be CCTV in bus stops. If it was there at least we could see what happened and there could have been some warning’. 

The killinhas also led to renewed calls for more action to be taken in the community and by authority figures to tackle male violence.

Charlotte Holloway, Labour council candidate, said there was ‘fresh anger’ after the disappearance of Bobbi-Anne.

She added: ‘Plymouth women can add getting a bus to the list of other things we can’t do without fear.

‘We fear drink spiking and needle spiking, we can’t jog through parks at night. We can’t live our lives as men do.’

Tomorrow night, a large number of woman are expected to attend a more public vigil on Plymouth Hoe as part of the reclaim the streets movement launched in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard. Pictured: A demonstration in London in March

Tomorrow night, a large number of woman are expected to attend a more public vigil on Plymouth Hoe as part of the reclaim the streets movement launched in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard. Pictured: A demonstration in London in March

Officers cordoned off a property in Southway today with residents reporting their arrival from 8am. Photos taken in the area show police tape draped across hedges leading to one of the properties

Officers cordoned off a property in Southway today with residents reporting their arrival from 8am. Photos taken in the area show police tape draped across hedges leading to one of the properties

Louie Leach, 17, the grieving boyfriend of Bobbi-Anne McLeod is being comforted by her family

Louie Leach, 17, the grieving boyfriend of Bobbi-Anne McLeod is being comforted by her family

Cllr Sally Haydon, Plymouth Labour’s police and crime spokesperson, added: ‘A young woman with her whole future ahead of her should have been able to wait at a bus stop without losing her life.

‘Women in Plymouth should be able to be out and about anywhere in our city without having to worry constantly about their safety and this terrible news just reminds us once again that this is not the case.

‘Urgent action needs to be taken both at a national and local level to address the issues which mean we are seeing these terrible events happening at an alarming level across the country.

‘I am asking for an urgent meeting with the police, partners and senior officers of the council, we all need to be working together to make women feel safe and bring an end to violence against women and girls.’

Cornwall’s Reclaim The Night, an annual event run by The Women’s Centre Cornwall, said it will honour Bobbi-Anne at the next event.

The group wrote on Facebook: ‘Another woman’s life taken in a senseless, despicable act of male violence. We will honour her next week at Reclaim The Night but we should not have to. Bobbi-Anne should still be here. Our thoughts are with her loved ones.’

The Smeaton’s Tower vigil will be held tomorrow from 6pm.



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