Pictured: Stab victim who survived Birmingham knife rampage


A man who survived a knife rampage in Birmingham has today been pictured – as a suspect was remanded in custody accused of murder and attempting to kill seven others.

Zephaniah McLeod, 27, is accused of killing Jacob Billington, 23, during a two-hour spree of stabbings which left several injured in the early hours of Sunday. 

Mr Billington, of Liverpool, died as a result of a knife wound to the neck after being attacked on a night out while visiting a school friend studying in the city. 

Teacher Rhys Cummings, 24, was among those injured in the attack alongside his friend Shane Rowley. The pair had been out in the city centre ahead of the rampage.

Mr Cummings’ mother Hazel today said her son is ‘doing OK’ after his ordeal, explaining his recovery is likely to be ‘a long process’.

Teacher Rhys Cummings (pictured), 24, was among the victims of the attack alongside his friend Shane Rowley. The pair had been out in Birmingham city centre ahead of the rampage

She added: ‘It is not something you get over quickly.

‘The police have been very good and very supportive. We would like to thank them for all they are doing.’      

Mr Billington’s friend and bandmate Michael Callaghan, 23, was seriously injured in the violent attack on Irving Street and remains in a critical condition in hospital.

McLeod is also accused of attempting to murder Dimitar Bachvarov, Migle Dolobauskaite, Thomas Glassey and Ryan Bowers. 

A 22-year-old woman attacked in Hurst Street is critical but stable and another man, 30, remains in a serious condition in hospital. Four others have been discharged.

Today, McLeod appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court via videolink for a brief five minute hearing during which he was not required to enter a plea.

He was wearing a grey t-shirt and repeatedly rubbed his eyes, face and forehead but otherwise remained emotionless as the case was outlined against him. 

Zephaniah McLeod, 27, spoke to confirm his personal details during a five-minute appearance before two magistrates today. The defendant, who appeared from Birmingham's Perry Barry custody block, was remanded to appear by videolink at the city's Crown Court tomorrow

Zephaniah McLeod, 27, spoke to confirm his personal details during a five-minute appearance before two magistrates today. The defendant, who appeared from Birmingham’s Perry Barry custody block, was remanded to appear by videolink at the city’s Crown Court tomorrow

The force declared a major incident after Jacob Billington (pictured) was killed and seven others were stabbed during a rampage on Sunday spanning 90 minutes

The force declared a major incident after Jacob Billington (pictured) was killed and seven others were stabbed during a rampage on Sunday spanning 90 minutes 

Police had issued CCTV images of a man wanted in connection with a series of stabbings

Police had issued CCTV images of a man wanted in connection with a series of stabbings

He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth, with the court unable to hear his responses at first, before he was remanded in custody.

McLeod, of Nately Grove in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham, will next appear at the city’s Crown Court tomorrow.

Daniel Devine, prosecuting, said: ‘I wish to prosecute remotely and I make that application in the interest of justice.

‘I invite any prisoners to also be allowed to appear over link. There’s nothing for me to announce but custody time limits will be set until March.’    

Chair of the Magistrates David Warner: ‘We have no problem with that application is granted. 

‘You will be remanded in custody and appear over video link at Birmingham Crown Court tomorrow. 

West Midlands Police arrested a man at a house in Selly Oak, Birmingham in a dramatic dawn raid earlier this week

West Midlands Police arrested a man at a house in Selly Oak, Birmingham in a dramatic dawn raid earlier this week

Forensic officers cross a cordon on Hurst Walk, off Hurst Street, and near to the Arcadia Centre, where part of the attack took place

Forensic officers cross a cordon on Hurst Walk, off Hurst Street, and near to the Arcadia Centre, where part of the attack took place

‘You can go with the officers now, please. This court expresses its sympathy with all those affected by these tragic events.’

Mr Billington was attacked in Irving Street at 1.52am, nearly 90 minutes after police were called to the first of four attacks a mile away at Constitution Hill.

His family have since paid tribute to a ‘special person’ who ‘lit up every room’ with his energy and humour. 

They said: ‘Jacob was the light of our life and we have been devastated by his loss. He was a funny, caring and wonderful person who was loved by every single person he met.

‘He lit up every room with his boundless energy and witty humour and the loss of such a special person will be felt by all who knew him for years to come.’

Police had arrested McLeod in his pyjamas at 4am on Monday – 24 hours after a knifeman struck in the city centre.

On Tuesday, West Midlands Police said another 22-year-old woman, attacked on Hurst Street in the city’s Gay Village, remains in a critical but stable condition.

Birmingham Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said: ‘Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Jacob Billington’s family and friends, plus the other victims of this senseless attack who we wish a speedy recovery.

‘We are determined to get justice for Jacob and everyone else who has been impacted by these terrible acts.’

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