Birmingham stabbings: Defendant admits manslaughter after eight people attacked

28 June 2021, 11:48 | Updated: 28 June 2021, 13:24

McLeod will be sentenced in September
McLeod will be sentenced in September. Picture: West Midlands Police

By Will Taylor

A 28-year-old man has admitted the manslaughter of a university worker in connection with a series of knife attacks in the centre of Birmingham.

Zephaniah McLeod also pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted murder and three of wounding with intent to cause GBH in connection with the incident early on September 6 last year.

The city centre was packed with revellers at the time.

McLeod, of Selly Oak, has been in custody since the attack in which eight people were stabbed in the space of 90 minutes.

Jacob Billington was fatally stabbed last year
Jacob Billington was fatally stabbed last year. Picture: PA/West Midlands Police

Jacob Billington, 23, a Sheffield Hallam University graduate intern and drummer, was fatally stabbed in the neck.

His mother was in court to see the admissions.

West Midlands Police's Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro said: "It's not unusual for us to receive several reports of assaults, some involving weapons, on a busy weekend evening, so the incidents were not automatically linked.

"Our CCTV operators immediately began exploring footage around the scenes that had been reported to us and later that day we identified a potential suspect linked to each attack, so we began tracking his movements."

Police said McLeod dumped his knife in a drain and took a taxi home before re-arming himself and returning back to the city centre.

DCI Munro added: "McLeod has never given an explanation for his actions that night which leaves no closure for his victims or their families and friends, although I am pleased that the admission of his crimes has spared those involved the ordeal of a trial.

"In accepting his pleas of wounding, attempted murder and particularly manslaughter for the deeply distressing death of Jacob, we have consulted all those involved fully and they understand why this decision has been reached."

Appearing via video link from Ashworth Hospital, McLeod entered his pleas on Monday. The court heard he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

McLeod pleaded guilty to a string of charges on Monday
McLeod pleaded guilty to a string of charges on Monday. Picture: PA

Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting, told the court he accepted the pleas.

"The psychiatrists instructed by both the Crown and the defence concluded in agreement with one another that the defendant clearly suffered from a condition of paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the material events," he said.

"It was unquestionably a condition which affected his ability to understand all that was going on."

The Recorder of Birmingham Judge Melbourne Inman QC said of the stabbings: "There are many people touched and affected by the case.

"The hearing this morning may appear to be disproportionately short given the very grave seriousness of the case.

"But it's quite clear that the Crown and the defence have given very careful expert consideration of the evidence."

McLeod will be sentenced on September 27 and 28.