A miscarriage of justice

On 28th October 2011, at Bristol Crown Court, Dr. Vincent Tabak was found guilty of murdering landscape architect Joanna Yeates on 17th December 2010 and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum tariff of 20 years. The evidence proving that he was made the scapegoat in a cruel and deliberate miscarriage of justice to protect the real killer is summarized point-by-point in “Guilty until proven Innocent”. The British and international news media and even the Leveson Inquiry have been muzzled to prevent them from exposing this evil scandal.

The best friend and the parents

The statements made by Joanna’s parents are reproduced lower down in this post

Rebecca Scott

“It was ‘the real deal’ – Jo was besotted with her boyfriend, and he was with her”

Joanna Yeates’s best friend Rebecca Scott is a marine biologist and was studying for a Ph.D at Swansea University. Both grew up in Romsey, Hampshire, but they first met at college in Winchester, Hants., around 2001.

The circle of their friends (according to The Sun, 13th December 2011) included Emma Brooks (from London), plus Greg Reardon, Nick BrookeNick CronkMeg PardoeMark Henninger and Pete Gryaznevich. Some of these may have lived in a large terraced house at 18 Bellevue, Clifton. The first time Rebecca met Greg Reardon was when Joanna celebrated her birthday in April 2009.

On 22nd December 2010 Rebecca Scott told journalists: “I was the last person believed to have spoken to Jo. She rang me at 8.30 p.m on Friday as she walked back from the pub. We spoke for about 15 minutes – and she was totally normal.”

Joanna Yeates
“She seemed very happy and we were making plans for Christmas and New Year. She was due to come back home on Christmas Eve and we had agreed to meet up. Jo and Greg were spending Christmas at her parents. We were also finalising New Year’s Eve plans – we were going up to Edinburgh as a few of us wanted to go.”

“Then I had a message from the police on my phone on Sunday night saying Jo was missing.” It was 4.00 a.m. on Monday, 20th December 2010, and without thinking, she had immediately telephoned Joanna’s number. It was Greg who answered.”

“There doesn’t seem to be anything missing from the house at all – even her coat and keys are there. I know Jo, and she takes these kind of things with her. Everybody is worried sick about her and anybody that knows anything should come forward. All the police’s normal missing persons scenarios have come to a dead end.

Really? Only two days after Joanna had been reported missing? Rebecca Scott seems to have been acting as a spokesperson for the police, with their consent. She seems to have been loyal to Greg Reardon and friendly with him in his own right, so Joanna would not have confided to Rebecca if she were unfaithful to her boyfriend.

“She’s just not the sort of person to go missing. Jo is not one to hide her feelings – if there’s something bothering her, she will say. Jo is really outgoing. She was a very, very popular girl and she’s done very well for herself. Greg is with her family at the moment – he is distraught.”

According to Greg Reardon’s account of events, he himself had used Joanna’s phone to make inquiries about her unexpected absence from the people with whom he could see she had been in contact on the Friday night. Rebecca was one of these, so their accounts do not tally.

On 27th March 2012, DCI Phil Jones would tell the Leveson Inquiry: “Rebecca Scott, who was Joanna Yeates’s best friend, contacted us because she had received over 160 telephone calls and text messages from the media, and in fact the media were camped outside her home address and Hampshire Police had intervened because they were threatening to arrest some of the media for harassment.”

As the last person known to have spoken to Joanna Yeates on the phone before her death, Rebecca Scott should have been the police’s No. 2 suspect for the murder. She may have been Greg Reardon’s lover, and he may have deserted her for Joanna. That is the sort of thing that happens with best friends, and it would have given her a motive to harbour jealousy. Despite her high exposure to the news media after her friend’s disappearance, it is suspicious that Rebecca never supplied journalists with explanations for why Joanna, despite her seemingly empty engagement book, did not accompany her boyfriend to Sheffield that weekend, nor what Joanna may have had in mind with her texts to three different male friends after leaving her colleagues in the Ram early. She did not explain why the supposedly besotted couple had not spent Christmas together in 2008 nor 2009. Rebecca may also have developed stronger hands than most women, in the course of collecting limpets, barnacles and other marine biological specimens from the rocks to which they normally cling. She knew that Joanna was alone that weekend. That Joanna apparently was not raped makes it less improbable that her killer could have been a woman.

On 12th January 2011, A & S Constabulary released a video interview with Joanna Yeates’s best friend:

“Because she phoned me on the Friday. I travelled home for Christmas on the Sunday. It was about 4 o’clock in the morning. I woke up and saw there was a message on my phone from the police informing me that she had gone missing. Obviously they’d seen on the phone that she’d phoned me and obviously they wanted me to get in touch. I immediately sort of panicked and phoned Jo, and Greg answered the phone.”

“I knew that it was wrong – I think we all did. As soon as I found out her possessions were in the flat, you know, that was, I knew she hadn’t left the house of her own intention. Then it was just a case really of whether she was still alive – whether she was being kept alive by someone – or if she was dead really. And then I think we all were in denial about the situation as much as we could be but I think everybody – deep down everyone knew that something was wrong. It’s been hard to think about anything else since – particularly the first few weeks. I’ll be lucky if I can reflect at all really – const… constantly. As soon as her body was found, it was a relief to know that she was – that no more harm could come to her.”

She and Joanna had talked together on the telephone at 8.30 p.m. while Joanna Yeates was on her way home on the evening she died, arranging to meet on Christmas eve, but we only have the best friend's word for what they discussed. “She seemed very happy and we were making plans for Christmas and New Year. She was due to come back home on Christmas Eve and we had agreed to meet up [at Romsey, where both their parents lived]. ...We were also finalising New Year’s Eve plans – we were going up to Edinburgh as a few of us wanted to go.”

The call lasted between 7 and 15 minutes, but its exact duration was not revealed. Testifying in court on 17th October 2011, she claimed that Joanna’s reason for phoning had been to invite herself to visit her best friend that very evening. Rebecca told the court that she had dissuaded Joanna from travelling to Swansea by telling her that trains and buses had been cancelled owing to the bad weather. Could it be that Joanna was afraid of her boyfriend? Was this allegation an invention, perhaps suggested to Rebecca by the police, intended to banish any public suspicion that Joanna had planned to cheat on him that weekend?

“Then I had a message from the police on my phone on Sunday saying Jo was missing.” If Joanna’s boyfriend had check the log on her mobile telephone to find out who had been the last person to be rung up from it, he certainly did not call her best friend himself to learn what she knew about Joanna’s disappearance.

Rebecca said: “Jo was very excited to be bringing Greg back to her parents’ for their first Christmas together. It was tradition that we’d meet in our local area. She was trying to persuade me to spend New Year in Edinburgh with her. I couldn’t commit but our plans for Christmas Eve were set. She was at a very happy point in her life. Everyone who knew Jo absolutely loved her. She was just full of life and energy. She was really bubbly. She just had this incredible warmth about her. She was an instantly likeable, ambitious young woman who’d done very well for herself. She was a very creative person who loved the outdoors life and was really into gardening. Landscape architecture was the perfect career for her.”

Joanna Yeates and Greg Reardon had just celebrated their 2nd anniversary, so why was this to be only the first Christmas they would spend together? Why did Rebecca not explain the reason Joanna, despite having spoken of no other engagements for the weekend, did not accompany her boyfriend to Sheffield to see the twins? Why didn’t Rebecca explain what Joanna might have had in her mind, leaving her colleagues at the Bristol Ram at 8.02 p.m. but then attempting to find other male company? Her failure to provide any explanations suggests that they would not be innocent ones, and that she knew more than she was telling.

After Joanna’s disappearance, the best friend was very keen to insist that Miss Yeates and her boyfriend were a loving couple, and that Miss Yeates did not have a lover. Her manner in the video, however, was somewhat dark and disturbing. Vincent Tabak’s defence QC failed to cross-examine Rebecca Scott in court to elicit whether she knew more than she was telling, whether she was covering for someone, or whether she was naive.

According to The Daily Express, 5th January 2011, “Detectives are scouring her emails and text messages and going over conversations with friends as they try to piece together exactly who knew her movements”. If A & S Constabulary scrutinized Joanna’s telephone and text records before and after her last walk home, no officer testified about these in court to refute or confirm suspicions of contacts that might illuminate the possible motive of her killer.

Three weeks after Joanna had first been reported missing, the best friend spoke to the media again. She said Joanna Yeates had been ‘very happy’ with her career and her relationship with her boyfriend, which she described as ‘the real deal’. Asked about suggestions of an affair, she said: ‘I was not aware of anyone else on the scene. Jo was besotted with her boyfriend, and he was with her. She’d been with him for over two years and they were perfect for each other.’ She also said that it was not unusual for Joanna Yeates to go for a couple of days without returning phone calls or text messages, as was the case over the weekend before he reported her missing, as she was ‘useless with her phone’.

Violence can occur even between a couple who are besotted with each other. Shakespeare’s Othello was besotted with Desdemona but he smothered her because the flimsiest of evidence of a handkerchief planted by the treacherous Iago convinced him that she was unfaithful. Joanna Yeates’s bad headaches could have been a result of domestic violence. The day’s sick leave she took on the Thursday before her disappearance could have been due to her need to recover from a fight the previous evening. Some of the 43 injuries determined during the post-mortem examinations could have been incurred up to several days prior to the attack that resulted in her death.

In court on 17th October 2011, Rebecca Scott told the jury that Joanna Yeates and Greg Reardon were the “perfect couple” and “in it for the long term”. She said she and Joanna had been planning to meet up in their home town of Romsey in Hampshire on Christmas Eve. Joanna Yeates and Greg Reardon had been looking forward to spending New Year in Edinburgh. Rebecca Scott said she was pleased her friend had fallen in love. She told the jury: “I was just happy for her. When she said she was getting a new cat, I knew it was the real deal with her and Greg. They were in it for the long term.”

Counsel for the Defence William Clegg QC failed to cross-question Rebecca Scott in court about the men Joanna had texted on her way home, whether Joanna was romantically interested in any other men, why she thought Joanna might have left her workmates so early in the evening yet had been so anxious to find further male company, why Joanna had not accompanied her boyfriend to Sheffield to see the new twin babies despite having no other commitments for the weekend, or whether the witness had any knowledge of how the victim might have come by any of her 43 injuries.

“The best we can hope for him is that he spends the rest of his life incarcerated where his life is a living hell, being the recipient of all evils, deprivations and degradations that his situation can provide...”

- said of Vincent Tabak, 28th October 2011

Joanna’s parents making their first video
appeal, flanked by her boyfriend
Greg Reardon (left) and her brother
Chris (right). Photo: The Times
Joanna’s parents

Joanna’s parents are David B. Yeates, 63, and Teresa M. Yeates (née Troake), 58. Her godfather was her uncle, Peter Yeates, 48, a Detective Sergeant with Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT). The public was not aware of this connection to the police until it emerged in 2013, when he was convicted of stealing mobile phones from his employer and selling them for £10,671.35.

At 12.36 a.m. on Monday 20th December 2010 Joanna’s parents were at home in Ampfield when they received a phone call from Greg Reardon to tell them that Joanna was missing. Mr. & Mrs. Yeates told him to contact the police, and said they would drive to Clifton straightaway. She could have had all sorts of innocent reasons for being elsewhere without her phone and cash, such as a falling-out with Greg, boredom, an unforeseen party invitation, drunkenness, even infidelity. What did her parents know that caused them so much anxiety?

Had one of Joanna’s parents roused her godfather, DS Peter Yeates, to get him out of his bed and ask him to use his influence to impress on his Bristol colleagues that his goddaughter’s disappearance was serious?

The journey took Mr. & Mrs. Yeates two hours. When they arrived, they found WPC Anneliese Jackson, a young officer from Avon & Somerset Constabulary, already at 44 Canynge Road with Greg. After going away to contact local hospitals and satisfying herself that none of them had treated Joanna, WPC Jackson and an unidentified colleague returned at about 4.00 a.m. to interview Mr. & Mrs. Yeates.

Meanwhile, Teresa Yeates had been going through Joanna’s purse and had found the receipts for the cider that she had bought in Bargain Booze and for the pizza that she had bought in Tesco Express. The pizza was not in the freezer, however, nor, according to the DCI Gareth Bevan (who would make a special TV appeal for information about it) was its box ever found anywhere else. She also found a recipe for mince pies that her daughter had printed out from the internet and tucked into her diary. What, if anything, the police learnt from the diary has never been disclosed. It could have yielded clues about Joanna’s plans for the weekend and the identities of the persons seen by the landlord.

The jury at Vincent Tabak’s trial never heard either of the statements made by Joanna’s parents. Counsel for the Defence failed to cross-examine Joanna’s parents with a view to discrediting her boyfriend’s testimony and the discrepancies in his account of the state in which he found the flat on his return from Sheffield.

Detective Superintendant
Mark Saunders
From the outset, the investigation into Joanna’s disappearance was designated “Operation Braid”, after a video game about a man searching for a princess who has been snatched by a horrible and evil monster. This shows that the police never concealed their conviction that she had been abducted. Detective Superintendant Mark Saunders, who took part in the first TV appeal, was a member of Avon & Somerset Constabularyʼs Major Crime Investigation Team, so her parents could be in no doubt that the police already believed she had been the victim of a serious crime. Had Joanna’s assailant left a “calling card” that only an insider would link to the unsolved murder of Melanie Hall or the unresolved disappearance of Claudia Lawrence?

The godfather, Peter Yeates.
Detective Sergeant in Dorset
Police’s Major Crime
Investigation Team
(Photo: The Mail)
21st December 2010: Joanna’s parents, brother Chris, and boyfriend Greg Reardon, took part in an emotional press conference to appeal publicly for her safe return. Her father, David Yeates, said of her disappearance, “Jo is a vibrant young woman and this is completely out of character for her. We need your help to find her. Jo, whatever the reason that you have not been in touch over the last few days, we want you to know that we love you dearly, and are desparate to know that you are safe and well. Please get in touch as soon as possible, either to the police or anyone who can confirm you are OK.”

It was probably only now that her parents learnt the full extent of the scene of disorder in the flat that her boyfriend alleged he had found and tidied up. If Joanna were unfaithful to Greg Reardon, especially with a married man, it is unlikely that she would have confided the secret to her parents. She would certainly not have told them if she had been earning money as an escort.

Joanna’s landlord
Christopher Jefferies
The Winter Solstice in 2010 fell on 22nd December. Was she ritually sacrificed on this day? Immediately after breakfast, a detective called on Christopher Jefferies, Joanna’s landlord, to take the 2nd witness statement that he had volunteered on the telephone the evening before, after he had watched the first appeal from Joanna’s family on TV. He told the detective that he had seen two or three persons on Joanna’s front path just after 9.00 p.m. One of these persons might have been Joanna.

That evening, police released a second video of David and Teresa Yeates, of Ampfield, Hampshire, who gave a renewed emotional appeal for the return of their “Little Jo”. The public knew nothing of the landlord’s new evidence, but it evidently influenced what Mr. & Mrs. Yeates now believed had happened to their daughter. David Yeates said: “I think she was abducted after getting home to her flat. We have no idea of circumstances of the abduction, because of what was left behind. She would not have gone out after leaving these things behind. I think she was taken away somewhere, but I don’t know by whom. She’s a sensible girl and professional lady. She wanted to be in that night and all weekend. Greg and Jo were a lovely couple – he is now going through hell.”

Teresa Yeates said that her daughter had been busily preparing for Christmas and had been planning to make mince pies at the weekend, printing out a recipe from the internet and tucking it into her diary. She added: “She had a new flat and new things and wanted it to be special. She wanted to finish her Christmas shopping and do some baking for when friends were due to come around for a party at the flat on Tuesday.”

Asked to talk directly to those who may have harmed Joanna, she said: “If you’ve got her – give her back. I miss not being able to hold her, cuddle her and say everything is all right. I just want her back. My little Jo come back. Whoever’s got her, don’t keep her - give her back to us. Nobody can feel the pain we feel.” Mrs. Yeates did not appeal specifically to the persons seen by Mr. Jefferies to come forward.

David Yeates said: “If she chose to go away, she would have taken some of the things with her. Like a phone, a purse, etc. I don’t think for a second she would ever leave of her own volition. Greg has been away before and he’s come back, and any time he’s come back, Jo’s been there. Jo does her own thing during the weekend, and always keeps in touch with Greg, and this time there was no answer when he rang, and we actually rang as well. She did not always answer her phone in a timely manner, so her not answering wasn’t totally out of character.”

26th December 2010: David Yeates, 63, an IT specialist, told The Sunday Telegraph: “We knew what the flat was like. We know what it’s normally like. We know what she does and doesn’t do. We were 100 per cent convinced within 30 minutes of arriving at the flat that she had been abducted.” He added that there were “other factors, other reasons that we’ve been asked by the police not to go into”, that left him convinced she had been abducted.

Joanna’s father changed his story. At the first press conference, in which Greg Reardon participated, the family still seemed to believe that Joanna could have left the flat of her own volition. The jury never heard what Joanna did and didn’t do. It seems probable that it her parents were well aware that the pizza and its packaging were missing. The factors that the police asked her parents not to reveal were probably:
  • the reason, if they knew it, why Joanna had not gone to Sheffield with her boyfriend, despite her apparent absence of engagements for that weekend
  • the bottles of cider Joanna bought
  • the contents of the black bag she was carrying
  • the reason why the police didn’t even want to allow the public to consider the probability that the pizza had been eaten by Joanna as soon as she could get it heated up
  • the alleged signs of a struggle in the flat
  • if they knew about it, the landlord’s claim to have seen Joanna with two other people
  • if they knew about these, the bruises on Joanna’s body
  • if they knew about it, the missing ski sock

Chris Yeates with his parents at Longwood Lane.
Behind them, right, is police liaison officer Emma Davies
Detective Sergeant Mike Rourke was overseeing the crime scene at Longwood Lane on 27th December 2010 when Joanna’s family and boyfriend came to visit it and lay flowers. They were accompanied by officers Emma Davies and Russ Jones, from the police’s Family Liaison Service. Journalists and photographers were kept at a respectful distance. The air temperature must have been above freezing, because their breath was not visible. As the place where she was reported to have been dumped was still a crime scene, the flowers were laid beside a wire fence 200 yards away along the lane, and on the opposite side of the lane. Joanna’s parents and brother were obviously overcome with grief and displayed little interest in their surroundings.

28th December 2010: David Yeates said he was “relieved” to be reunited with Joanna’s body and is now hoping her killer will be brought to justice. He told the Solent News and Photo Agency: “I fear that whoever has done this will never hand themselves in, but we live in hope that the police will catch who is responsible. We are sure the police know more about what happened than they are telling us, but at the moment we are not questioning them because we feel they are doing their best.” He said that hearing that his daughter had been murdered was no surprise because the family had been told to prepare for the worst. The past week had been the worst of their lives and they were trying to rationalise what had happened, he said. Viewing her body had made things a little easier, he said, adding: “It was a relief to see her again - we just said: ‘Welcome back’.”

Detective Chief Inspector
Phil Jones
28th December 2010: Announcing to the press that Joannas death was now a murder inquiry and that he would be leading it, DCI Phil Jones added: “I met Joanna’s family yesterday, and we have informed them of all the very latest developments and findings. I do of course offer them my heartfelt condolences at this tragic time. As you know, they were in the Bristol area yesterday, where they formally identified their daughter’s body, and also visited the scene where she was found.”

Joanna’s boyfriend
Greg Reardon
DCI Jones emphasised that Greg Reardon was not a suspect, and was being treated as a witness. The inescaptable conclusions that the general public could draw from this were either that detectives had checked the boyfriend’s alibi, or that they were incompetent, or that the police already knew who had killed Joanna. The public knew nothing of Christopher Jefferies’s 2nd witness statement, whereas David Yeates may even have spoken to the landlord himself, and may have heard about the persons seen on Joanna’s front path. By telling the press he was so sure that the police knew more than they were telling, her father dispelled some of the public’s lack of confidence in Avon & Somerset Constabulary and some of the public’s suspicions of her boyfriend.

The Coroner’s Court at Flax Bourton
29th December 2010: It has not been revealed whether any members of Joanna’s family attended the Coroner’s Inquest that was opened and then adjourned. Both the news media and the family must have had instructions not to report this, and Teresa, David and Peter Yeates must have speculated about the motives for such secrecy.

After Vincent Tabak’s trial, David Yeates would tell the BBC that Joanna’s family had not been aware of her body’s 43 injuries until they had learnt about them in court. It is scarely credible that the Home Office pathologist’s report, containing his description of these 43 injuries, would not have been revealed to Joanna’s parents as soon as it had been written, or that they would not have asked for a copy. This suggests that most of these injuries may actually have been incurred during the difficult task of recovering her body from wherever it had really been dumped, using pumping tenders and a heavy crane. It suggests that the pathologist’s initial report may have made light of these injuries, and that their attribution to Joanna’s assailant was made subsequently, for the purpose of blackening the case against Vincent Tabak.

David Yeates may also have been referring to the missing ski sock when he said that the police knew more than they were revealing to the parents.

11th January 2010: Jo’s mother Teresa Yeates, 58, has spoken of her daughter’s loyalty to Greg, who she had been dating for two years. She said: “Jo always played things straight. She never had two boyfriends at the same time. She had a moral conscience.” – The Mirror

17th January 2010: A video appeal was reproduced by the media, in which Mrs. Teresa Yeates read out a prepared statement, while her husband sat beside her.

“Firstly, we would like to say that we feel we are part of the police investigation, just as much as the investigating officers. We spend much of our time – as I imagine most of the country does – thinking of scenarios which took Jo, alive in her flat, to being found dead by the side of a country lane. These scenarios change as events unfold, and new facts are made available. All our thoughts are passed back to the police. Although we invariably do not have all the facts known by the police, we do know Jo. We know what Jo would do, and how she would react in different situations. This, we believe, is our major contribution. Whatever we do or say, we do not want to frustrate or compromise the police investigation. For over three weeks there has been extensive media coverage of Jo’s disappearance and murder. The last few weeks have encompassed an extensive festive period. Many people will have probably been socialising and spending extra time with family and friends. Nearly the whole country has been moved by the tragic events surrounding Jo’s murder. Many of us are ‘armchair detectives’, but if this activity triggers anything, please come forward. If you do know something and you do not come forward you are consciously hampering the apprehension of Jo’s killer(s) and the perpetrator(s) is still free. You will also be prolonging the torment of Jo’s family and friends. Do you know anyone that hasn’t been shocked or disturbed? Has anyone you know had an unusual or inexplicable reaction? Was their behaviour unusual on the weekend of 17/18/19th December, or throughout the past three weeks? Do you know someone who has been behaving out of character either by actions, or what is said – or not said? Do you know someone who has inexplicably become reclusive, quiet or vocal? As mentioned above, scenarios abound regarding Jo. Has someone tried to impress on you a scenario which has been inconsistent with the information released by the police at that time – and refused to change it? It would appear that the nation is shocked and appalled by what has happened to our daughter. Do you know someone who has been, somehow, justifying her being killed? Please help us identify the killer. Jo was probably acquainted with her killer. We are sure the killer will be brought to justice. When this happens, please think how you will feel, if you knew the killer, and you had questions in your mind which you consciously refused to act on.”

On 20th January 2011, after hearing the news that an arrest had been made, Joanna Yeates’s father said: “We are pleased that the investigation is moving forward. We know as much as you do. We were told at 6 a.m. that someone was arrested on suspicion of Jo’s murder, and we were told their age.” Later, when approached further by journalists, he added: “I have never heard of Vincent Tabak, nor had Jo ever mentioned him. I have never met anyone who lives in flat two of Jo’s block.

“JO Yeates murder hunt cops arrested her Dutch neighbour after a tip-off from a sobbing girl, The Sun can reveal. She rang after this week’s emotional Crimewatch appeal for information by Jo’s parents. News of the dramatic anonymous telephone call emerged as detectives were granted more time yesterday to quiz Vincent Tabak, 32...” – The Sun, 21st January 2011.

In The London Evening Standard,  21st January 2011, journalist Peter Dominiczak alleged that neighbours in Canynge Road, whom he did not name, were claiming that Vincent Tabak’s girlfriend Tanja Morson had dumped him several months previously. These allegations were disputed by his family and were subsequently contradicted by witness statements made by some of her friends and read out in court.

The Mail, 22nd January 2011, wrote: “Vincent Tabak, 32, was taken into custody this week after Avon and Somerset Police received an emotional phone-call from a woman moved by the television appeal by Ms Yeates’ parents. As officers were given an extra 30 hours to quiz the Dutchman, it was suggested police had spoken to his girlfriend Tanja Morson, though detectives have refused to confirm if she implicated her boyfriend... The Dutch architect arrested on suspicion of the murder of Joanna Yeates recently split up with his girlfriend, it was claimed yesterday.”

On 23rd January 2011, Mr Yeates told The Mail on Sunday: “There has been a suggestion that the police put together what Teresa and I read out on television. Firstly, I want to make it clear it was done under our instigation and, secondly, we wrote all the words and put it together. I don’t want to give the impression that police are manipulating us. It wasn’t the case – we asked for it to be done.”

Be that as it may, witnesses at the subsequent trial would leave the jury convinced that it had been at the interview three weeks earlier with British police sent to Schiphol that Vincent Tabak had first been made a suspect. The press was not told about this interview at all until the detective testified in court at his trial. On the other hand, the alleged tip-off from a “sobbing girl” was never mentioned during the trial, where, on the contrary, it was implied that the other basis for his arrest was a “major breakthrough” in the time-consuming enhancement of DNA found on Joanna’s body and matched to a saliva swab that he had submitted in Schiphol. That both Christopher Jefferies and Vincent Tabak were arrested on a Thursday reinforces the proposition that both arrests were planned well in advance and that their timing had little to do with the process of collecting actual evidence. The timing of both the appeal by Joanna’s parents and the “major breakthrough” announced in The Sun two days latter also fitted into this plan. This suggests that the Yeates family and the news media were manipulated in a complicated timetable to deceive the lawyers representing Vincent Tabak after he was arrested, Crossman & Co and Albion Chambers.

Friday, 11th February 2011 was the day of Joanna Yeates’s funeral. The Reverend Peter Gilks conducted the service at St. Mark’s Church, Ampfield, Hampshire, where she had spent her childhood. Police kept the news media on a tight reign, but the few pictures that emerged of the mourners entering and leaving the church showed Joanna’s family barely able to contain their grief.

On 27th February 2011 The Mail on Sunday reported that Joanna Yeates had left an estate worth £47,000, which included a small insurance payout on her death. Its editor must have been surprised how wealthy the newly qualified landscape architect had become at the time of her murder, particularly as her mother told the newspaper, “Jo was a sensible girl. She had a lot of savings and a small inheritance from her grandfather. That large amount of money would have been used to buy a home”.

It seems as if neither Joanna’s parents, nor any journalists, attended the inquest that was concluded on 28th March 2011. If Mr. & Mrs. Yeates received a copy of its findings, it must have been a censored version, since they apparently knew nothing about the extent of her injuries until the trial started. The inquest may have been closed without any conclusions, leaving these to the trial of Vincent Tabak that would be held at Bristol Crown Court. It may be that the pathologist had played down the 43 injuries in his report, believing that they may have been incurred during the recovery of Joanna’s body.

David & Teresa Yeates arriving at the Old Bailey,
London, in the company of a family liaison officer
believed to be Detective Constable Emma Davies
(frame captured from Channel 4 news video)
5th May 2011: Miss Yeates’s father, speaking outside his home in Ampfield after Vincent Tabak’s plea and case-management hearing via video-link to Court Two at the Old Bailey, said: ‘What has happened today has come as no surprise. We expected for him to plead guilty to manslaughter.’ By contrast, it came as a complete surprise to the representative of Vincent Tabak’s family in the Netherlands. This reinforces the suspicion that the plea itself was staged and, therefore, unsound. How else could Joanna’s parents have known in advance how he would plead? Each of them had given a witness statement to police officer Anneleise Jackson shortly after their arrival at the flat, and each of them might be called to testify at the trial, so why were they even invited to attend the plea hearing at all? Why was the hearing for a murder charge with neither terror nor national security implications held in a high-security court normally reserved for defendants accused of terrorist offences?

At the trial

Joanna’s parents were in court on the first day. The defendant had obviously been advised to avoid making eye contact with them or anyone else, except a member of his own family or a person who was addressing him. His brother, Marcel Tabak, was also in court.

On the second day of the trial (11th October 2011), Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC told the court that he would be outlining the forensic case against the defendant for the murder of Joanna Yeates. Her parents were not in court.

Shortly after 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 12th October 2011, the jurors were conducted on a field tour to Longwood Lane. Their coach then deposited them outside the Hophouse Pub in Clifton village, and they set out to walk to 44 Canynge Road, Clifton, together with the judge and journalists.

Joanna’s parents were in court while Junior barrister Nicholas Rowland conducted the prosecution’s proceedings on the 4th day of the trial, 13th October 2011.

Home Office pathologist Dr. Russell Delaney made his first appearance in court to testify on the fifth day of the trial, Friday 14th October 2011. Joanna’s parents were not in court when a further succession of photographs of Joanna’s body was displayed.

Joanna’s parents came into the court on 17th October 2011, to hear their daughter’s best friend testify. Greg Reardon testified both before and after lunch on the sixth day of the trial, 17th October 2011.

Forensic archaeologist
Dr. Karl Harrison
On the morning of the 7th day of the trial, 18th October 2011, a statement was read to the court from Dr. Karl Harrison, now Lecturer in Forensic Archaeology at Cranfield University, and formerly Lead Scientist within the Ecology Team of LGC Forensics (a member of the LGC Group). Joanna’s parents and boyfriend were in court.

The next witness to testify in person on the 8th day of the trial, Wednesday 19th October 2011, was Lyndsey Farmery of Avon & Somerset Constabulary. Joanna Yeates’s parents were in court.

Shortly before lunch on the 8th day of the trial, 19th October 2011 William Clegg QC opened the case for the Defence, unworthy of the name though it was to prove. Joanna Yeates’s parents were in court to hear him.

The court was packed when Vincent Tabak went into the witness box on the morning of the trial’s 9th day, 20th October 2011. He took the oath, before being cross-examined by Counsel for the Defence. Joanna’s parents, brother and boyfriend were in the public gallery. Ilse, Cora and Marcel Tabak were also in court.

Joanna Yeates’s mother and brother stayed away from court for Vincent Tabak’s second day in the witness box, 21st October 2011.

On the 11th day of the trial, Monday 24th October 2011, Joanna Yeates’s parents and boyfriend were in court to hear the conclusion of the Defence’s case.

Joanna Yeates’s parents were not in court on Friday 28th October 2011 to hear the foreman of the jury deliver the result of their deliberations, which had lasted just under 14 hours. Other members of her family were in court for the verdict, however, and so was Greg Reardon.

Russ Jones
28th October 2011: In a statement read out by Family liaison officer Russ Jones after the verdict, Joanna Yeates’s family said of Vincent Tabak: “We attended the trial of Jo’s murderer not to see justice handed out to him but to find out as much as we could about what really happened from the time Jo disappeared to when Jo’s murderer was arrested. We never considered this trial as a process of justice for Jo. The last four weeks have been more stressful and intense than we ever imagined. Although we’ve been made aware of the nature of much of the evidence against Jo’s killer, some of the details which came out were a surprise. There was never any doubt in our minds that Jo had been murdered and that we fully expected him to lie when he went into the witness box. We came here with little hope or expectation of hearing what happened on 17th December but needed to see him and to hear what he had to say first-hand. We saw no emotion or remorse or regret for what he did to Jo. We felt all emotion expressed by him was false. All we heard were words of self pity. For us it is with regret that capital punishment is not a possible option for his sentence. The best we can hope for him is that he spends the rest of his life incarcerated where his life is a living hell, being the recipient of all evils, deprivations and degradations that his situation can provide...”

Has Amanda Hirst (DCC at A&S Constabulary) had a hand in formulating these characteristically brutal words? The general public was not aware at the time that David Yeates’s younger brother was a detective sergeant in a neighbouring police force.

David Yeates, 1st November 2011, to BBC Points West:
“We didn’t expect the trial in itself to take the turns that it did, and we were warned to a certain extent by some comments made by the barrister prior to the trial. But we didn’t really understand the import of what he was saying, and so when Tabak’s sexual bits came out, it was – and the potential impact – it was quite a shock. We didn’t have any forewarning. It was something which we didn’t expect – and the other thing was the number of injuries on Jo. Although none of them was individually serious, it indicated an extended, significant struggle that she had with Tabak before she was eventually murdered – and that was a tremendous shock to us. So it certainly wasn’t as we expected at all. We didn’t know what to expect – we didn’t expect that.”

From Bristol 24, 19th December 2011:
The parents of Miss Yeates spoke this weekend of their memories of their frantic search a year ago. David, 64, and Teresa, 59, told how her killer chillingly looked on in silence – as his worried girlfriend offered to help look for her. They said they were approached by Tabak, 33, and his girlfriend Tanja Morson as they searched for their daughter. Dyson worker Tanja asked “is there anything I can do” – but Tabak took a step back and did not say anything to the couple.

Mr and Mrs Yeates first told of the encounter for the first time in documentary Murder at Christmas, which is on the Sky Crime and Investigations Network on Thursday [22nd December 2011]. They said they knocked on all of their neighbour’s doors to ask for any clue that could help find their missing daughter. It was then that they were approached by Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson. David said: “As I was going to the flat, they stopped and Tanja asked if she could help. But the man stood well back and didn’t say anything. Tanja was very kind and said ‘is there anything I can do’”, Teresa added. ”But he definitely took a step back.”

The couple told the program how they searched the streets surrounding Jo’s flat in Clifton. Supermarket cashier Teresa recalled their desperate searches for Jo, who was last seen buying bottles of cider and a pizza as she walked home alone on December 17. She said: “I was frantically looking for bits of evidence, in pockets and diaries. We walked around the block looking over walls to see the pizza, or something of Jo’s or some of her clothes. I remember banging on the boots of cars, in case she had been abducted and locked inside. I knew there was no hope because it was so cold but I didn’t know what else to do.”

No credance can be given to their alleged ignorance about Vincent Tabak’s “sexual bits” and Joanna’s 43 injuries. As next-of-kin they would certainly have been given a copy of the pathologist’s report long before the trial, and they would have heard the so-called “evidence” of bad character when they attended the plea and case management hearing. The allegation that they had met Vincent Tabak and his girlfriend while searching for their daughter was also a fabrication, since Mr. Yeates had denied all knowledge of Joanna’s neighbour at the time of the latter’s arrest.

13th February 2012, The Mail: Joanna Yeates’s parents spoke of their anger last night as it emerged that the legal bill for their daughter’s killer could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Yesterday Miss Yeates’s parents said they were ‘outraged’ by the revelation...

‘It’s ridiculous he should get that level of legal aid,’ her father David, 63, said yesterday. ‘He comes from a wealthy background and he showed contempt to the court, to us, to his girlfriend and her family. ‘He should never have received taxpayers’ money to defend himself.’ Mr Yeates added that Tabak could have saved the family additional heartache, as well as reducing the costs of his trial, by admitting murder earlier on. ‘He prolonged the case by lying to the police and lying during his trial,’ he said. ‘To this day, he has never acknowledged outside court that he killed Jo. We feel he should now be held to account in every way possible.’

Didn’t the Crown get what it paid for, after his defence lawyers had head-hunted him to Long Lartin prison? This is a man whose son was educated at a private school where the annual day fees are £12,135 and whose daughter was educated at a private school where the annual day fees are £13,800. Vincent Tabak, by contrast, was educated at a grant maintained Catholic grammar school. Although his father Gerald Tabak had a good job, he also had five children, and no one except David Yeates has ever described the family’s background as “wealthy”.

The increasingly unrestrained tone of David & Teresa Yeates’s commentaries suggests that they may well know whose baby their daughter may have been carrying and are bitter about having to take part in the cover-up.

Closer online (Bauer London Lifestyle), 23rd October 2012:
Teresa Yeates explains: “We have no contact with Greg.”
But, surprisingly, Jo’s parents have been in contact with Vincent Tabak’s ex-girlfriend Tanja Morson. Teresa Yeates says: “I feel sorry for Tanja. Her life has been ruined, too, and I think she still has counselling.”
Teresa Yeates: “He never once said he was sorry for killing Jo.”
David Yeates says: “He should never be freed, but he will be. When he’s served his time, he’ll be deported to Holland. It’s hard to accept he’ll just carry on with his life.”

Teresa Yeates adds: “The sooner he dies, the better.”

Teresa says she’s haunted at times that the police didn’t find Vincent Tabak sooner. Tearfully, she says: “That painful wait, not knowing whether she was dead or alive, could have been over sooner. Police should have caught him earlier.” Since Jo’s murder, the couple have cared for her pet cat, Bernard. Teresa Yeates has also kept her precious diaries, but cannot bring herself to read them. She says: “I want to look at them, but now’s not the time.”

Joanna’s diaries were mentioned only once in connection with her disappearance, the search for her killer, and the trial of Vincent Tabak - as the repository for a recipe for mince pies. They would seem an obvious place for the police to have looked for clues, just like her mobile telephone.

If Greg Reardon were still besotted with Joanna, why was it not he who kept their cat?