Joanna Yeates: Vincent Tabak’s 20 Seconds Of Madness
The front pages:
Daily Mirror: “HOW I KILLED HER”
Daily Express: “How I killed Joanna Yeates”
Daily Star: “I killed Joanna in 20 seconds”
The Sun: “Tabak’s version of how Jo died”
i: Joanna Yeates was strangled for 20 seconds”
Why is this front-page news in all the tabloids?
Vincent Tabak is at Bristol Crown Court. He says he “didn’t intend death or serious injury“.
Prosecutor Nigel Lickley QC reads aloud Vincent Tabak’s statement – with paraphrasing:
“The two were facing each other. He put one arm around her back, at the middle of her back. She screamed. He put his other hand over her mouth and noise of the screaming ceased. He removed his hand from her mouth and the screaming continued. He then put his hand around her throat, which had been the hand around her back. He held it there for around 20 seconds. He applied no more than moderate force, on a scale of one to three of light, moderate and severe. He didn’t intend serious injury. The action killed Miss Yeates. He accepts it was unlawful.”
Then opportunity struck:
Detective Constable Karen Thomas tells the court that Mr Tabak had reported that Mr Chris Jefferies’ car had been moved on the night of 17 December:
“Mr Tabak felt that was important information we should know about.”
The media was funning for Mr Jeffries. Tabak fed the beast.
“Mr Tabak said that having seen the footage he remembered seeing Mr Jefferies’ Volvo parked facing away from the road. The next morning, it was facing in the opposite direction, towards the road. The indication being that Mr Jefferies had moved his vehicle during the night.”
Det Con Thomas travelled to the Netherlands to get a witness statement.
The Express reports:
But the detective told jurors that Tabak seemed “overly interested” in the forensic examination of Joanna’s flat. DC Thomas told the court she also thought Miss Morson and Tabak’s sister Eileen were “over-fussy” towards him. She said: “I would describe the sister as a bit of a ‘mother hen’ and very concerned that he was tired. I just felt they fussed over him… a bit more than you would expect for a grown man.”
This is Bristol sees an expert arrive:
Home office pathologist Dr Russell Delaney said that, owing to injuries she sustained to her neck, it was his opinion Miss Yeates’ killer used two hands to strangle her, although he could not rule out the use of one hand…Referring to evidence of there being a scream, pause, scream and then noise he told the court: “I can’t determine at what point in that sequence of events that the neck compression was occurring.”
The Boyfriend’s Story:
GREG Reardon faced his girlfriend Joanna Yeates’s killer in the dock today as he described his “buzzing level of stress” at finding her missing. Mr Reardon said he gave Miss Yeates a cuddle and a kiss before setting off to see relatives in Sheffield on the night of her death. After failing to get hold of her all weekend, he said he “did not immediately think something was wrong” after returning to find their flat empty on Sunday night. Concern turned to panic after he found her mobile phone and then keys, he told Bristol Crown Court. “I kept saying to myself ‘She’s gone out for the evening and she has forgotten her coat’,” Mr Reardon told the jury.
As he talks:
Tabak, a 33-year-old Dutch engineer, later sat in the dock with his head in his hands as Yeates’s boyfriend, Greg Reardon, described his last moments with his girlfriend before he left to spend a weekend away and his rising concern when he came home to discover her missing.
The case is not a hard one to crack. Was it murder? Well, the jury will decide that. Meanwhile the tabloids are turning the innocent victims into celebrities. The killer is always called “Vincent Tabak” or “Tabak”. The victims are epitomised in the Daily Mirror’s caption:
Greg’s panic at missing Jo
The tabloids are setting about owning the story and the victims…