Life sentence for man who killed one and injured seven in Birmingham knife attack

18 November 2021, 12:23 | Updated: 18 November 2021, 13:53

By James Morris

Zephaniah McLeod has been sentenced to life for killing a university worker and stabbing seven other people during a spate of knife attacks in Birmingham.

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At Birmingham Crown Court today, he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 21 years – to be served initially at a high-security hospital.

McLeod, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2012, had previously admitted the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of Jacob Billington during a spate of apparent random and motiveless attacks in the city in the early hours of 6 September last year.

He also admitted four counts of attempted murder and three counts of wounding with intent, in relation to the seven other people he slashed and stabbed in the city centre that night.

Ordering the 28-year-old's detention, initially at Ashworth Hospital, Mr Justice Pepperall said: "Your victims were variously enjoying a night out or returning home from work.

"They gave you no offence and they were chosen at random.

"Wherever possible you aimed your knives at your victims' necks.

"In the course of your murderous rampage you killed one man, left another man and woman fighting for their lives and wounded five others."

He added: "I have no doubt whatsoever you are a very dangerous man and pose a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm."

The sentence imposed means McLeod would move to a prison to serve the remainder of his term, if his mental health improved sufficiently - but could be returned to a secure hospital if it worsened again.

The judge said: "Such a sentence ensures you first obtain treatment but means should you ever be assessed as fit to leave hospital you will be transferred to a prison and not simply released.

This page is being updated.

Zephaniah McLeod killed one man and knifed 7 other people in a stabbing rampage across Birmingham.
Zephaniah McLeod killed one man and knifed 7 other people in a stabbing rampage across Birmingham. Picture: West Midlands Police