A man has admitted the manslaughter of a university worker after carrying out a series of knife attacks in Birmingham city centre.

Zephaniah McLeod also pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted murder following the spate of stabbings in the early hours of Sunday 6 September last year.

McLeod pleaded not guilty to three other counts of attempted murder, but instead admitted three charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Jacob Billington, a Sheffield Hallam University graduate intern and drummer, was fatally stabbed in the neck during the series of attacks which lasted around 90 minutes.

The 23-year-old, from Crosby, Merseyside, was among eight people stabbed during the spree which triggered a major emergency services response.

https://west-midlands.police.uk/news/loving-tribute-birmingham-stab-victim
Image: Jacob Billington died after being stabbed in the neck

Mr Billington’s mother was in court and his father dialled in to the video-link to hear the pleas, while family members from a number of the other victims also listened in to the proceedings.

Among those injured was Mr Billington’s old school friend and bandmate Michael Callaghan.

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McLeod, 28, of Nately Grove, Selly Oak, had been in custody since being charged with committing the attacks.

The court heard he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the stabbings.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC told the court the guilty and not guilty pleas were acceptable to the prosecution.

The barrister told the brief hearing: “Those pleas were entered as anticipated… they are pleas which the Crown accepts in this case.”

Explaining the decision, Mr Khalil added: “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.

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

Police say the 'linked' attacks took place across three locations
Image: The attacks took place across various parts of Birmingham

Mr Khalil said consultations had taken place prior to the decision, with victims and their parents in the case of Mr Billington.

After the pleas were entered and accepted, 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.”

The judge added that it was important that the psychiatrists involved in assessing McLeod were now given time to help the court determine the proper sentence on him.

McLeod will be sentenced on September 27 and 28.

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