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 boyfriend and the pizza

A list of the evidence implicating her boyfriend in the death of Joanna Yeates is given at the end of this post.

“I started pacing round the flat. I had this increasing buzzing level of stress.”

- Greg Reardon testifying in court, 17th October 2011

Greg Reardon
Greg Reardon, born in 1983, was raised in Derby by his parents John and Lydia (whose maiden name was Ellidge), both 67 (in 2010), alongside his half-brother Francis, 33 (in 2010), from his mother’s previous marriage to Joseph Heaton. Greg attended Repton state primary school, and then John Port comprehensive school, which was built on the site of the manor of Etwall, owned by the Port family for centuries. He went on to study at the school of architecture at Manchester University, where he became captain of the ski and snowboard club. He graduated in 2004. His parents moved from Repton to Ilfracombe in the same year. Greg Reardon qualified as an architect in 2007. After qualifying he worked for three firms of architects.

18 Bellevue, Clifton
Joanna Yeates was his first serious girlfriend. He met her at the Bristol studios of Building Design Partnership, where she had started a new job in September 2008. Both had also worked for Hyland Edgar Driver in Winchester. Their circle (according to The Sun, 13th December 2011) included Joanna’s friends Emma Brooks and Becky (Rebecca) Scott, plus Nick Brooke, Nick Cronk, Meg Pardoe, Mark Henninger and Pete Gryaznevich.

Joanna Yeates
with Bernard the kitten
In November 2008 Greg Reardon was one of a group of six staff from BDP who took part in a weekend team-building competition for young professionals at Keele University. Among the teams with which they were competing was one composed of staff from the Bath headquarters of Buro Happold, where Vincent Tabak was employed as a consultant.

Greg Reardon and Joanna Yeates started dating on 11th December 2008. They started living together in 2009 and acquired a kitten, Bernard. At the time of her disappearance, he too was working at BDP in Bristol. Before they moved into the smaller ground-floor flat at 44 Canynge Road, Clifton, on 25th October 2010, they had lived together in the Bristol suburb of Westbury Park. On 9th November 2010, Joanna and Greg took a delivery of furniture they had ordered, driven to their flat for IKEA by James Crozier and James Alexander.

44 Canynge Rd
showing the entrance to the smaller ground-floor flat 
Bernard the cat had once got into the flat that Vincent Tabak shared with his girlfriend. Greg Reardon told the court that he had spoken to Tanja Morson when retrieving the cat, but had never encountered her boyfriend, nor realized that he was foreign.

During the week before the week of her death, Joanna Yeates had been suffering from really bad headaches. She had taken a day’s sick leave the day before she disappeared. Vincent Tabak was unable to offer any explanation in court for most of the 43 injuries sustained by the dead woman, yet his defence counsel William Clegg QC failed to cross-question Greg Reardon about Joanna’s ill health and about whether she had incurred any injuries prior to that evening.

Greg Reardon’s weekend in Sheffield

The Hope & Anchor
On Friday 17th December 2010, CCTV captured pictures showing Joanna Yeates and Greg Reardon setting off for work through the snow. They had lunch together in the Hope & Anchor pub in Jacob’s Wells Road, Clifton. Her lunch included cheesy chips and Cola. He kissed her goodbye in the lobby of the office where they worked before she went with colleagues from Building Design Partnership to the Bristol Ram Pub after work and he made his way to 44 Canynge Road. Even though the police were recommending avoidance of unnecessary journeys owing to the bad weather, he said that his plan was to drive to Sheffield to visit his half-brother Francis (known as Frank) and his wife Helen, put in some serious skiing in ideal weather conditions in the Peak District, and attend the christening of the couple’s three-month-old twins Beth and Alice.

The Bristol Ram pub, Park Street
Greg Reardon chose to travel for the christening of the babies of a half-brother to whom he was not that close. Counsel for the Defence William Clegg QC failed to cross-examine him about why Joanna did not travel with the him to take part in the family event, and about whether their relationship was intimate and happy or distant, fearful and unhappy. Had she told her boyfriend that, if he went off to Sheffield to visit his family in her car, leaving her all alone for the weekend, then it would be over her dead body, and he was not to show his face at the flat again? Joanna told her office manager Elizabeth Chandler that she was dreading being alone while he was away, and her only plans, according to her Irish colleague Darragh Bellew, were that she was going to bake some cakes and bread over the weekend. On her last, lonely walk from the Ram Pub to Clifton on Friday 17th December 2010, Joanna Yeates texted three men friends in the vain hope of further social activity that evening. However, Vincent Tabak’s defence counsel William Clegg QC failed to cross-question Greg Reardon about Joanna’s relationships to these and other men.

Christopher Jefferies
When he got back to 44 Canynge Road, he loaded his things for the weekend into the car he shared with Joanna – a Ford Ka registered in her name. He would also allege that he left a light switched on for Joanna before locking the door of the flat behind him. When he found that he could not start the car because its battery turned out to be flat, Greg Reardon asked the landlord Christopher Jefferies for help with starting it. As the landlord did not have any jump-leads of his own, he obligingly sought out a mechanically-minded neighbour in the next house, engineer Peter Stanley, who came out and helped to get the car started using one of the landlord’s cars as a source of current. Peter Stanley himself owned a Jeep. These two men were therefore able to confirm that Reardon had driven off to Sheffield before 7.00 p.m. Isn’t it surprising that a young professional woman like Joanna should have been driving a car with an inadequate electrical system? Greg Reardon sent a text at 6.48 p.m. to his half-brother to say he was on his way. Unlike the two cars belonging to Christopher Jefferies – which were not taken away until the press were assembled outside the house to report it – the neighbour Peter Stanley’s Jeep, and Tanja Morson’s Renault Megane, it has never been reported whether the car that Greg Reardon had used was ever forensically examined. The press has never shown any interest in the fate of Joanna’s Ford Ka, lending support to the proposition that it ended up in a pond in Durnford Quarry.

He had tried in vain to call Joanna on the phone-line in the flat after his alleged arrival, so he texted her at 10.30 p.m.: “Made it okay. Good traffic. Car wouldn’t start. Had to get neighbour to start it, okay now. Did you have a good time in the pub?” There was no reply. During his weekend away, he tried to ring Joanna numerous times, and sent her further text messages, but she did not respond. Nine months later, on 17th October 2011, at Vincent Tabak’s trial, he told the court: “I tried to contact her twice on the Saturday – at lunchtime and again in the evening. On Sunday, I rang her in the day and on the way home. I was worried, but didn’t really think there was a problem. I thought she might have gone away and was busy doing fun things and was not able to get hold of a phone.”

Counsel for the Defence William Clegg QC failed to cross-examine him about why he did not react at all to the absence of any response to his efforts to contact Joanna Yeates several times during the weekend when he was in Sheffield. The court can hardly fail to have been struck by the contrast between the Greg Reardon's apparent lack of concern about Joanna Yeates’s silence, and the touching closeness of the e-mail correspondence that took place during the following days between Vincent Tabak and his girlfriend that those attending the trial had heard read out.

According to a report in The Mirror (published between 26th December 2010 and 12th January 2011), one of the ­neighbours in Sheffield said they saw someone they thought was Greg – who police say is not a suspect – with skis in South ­Yorkshire on the Saturday and Sunday, while another said he spotted his car, which Frank had told him belonged to his brother. Former ­neighbour Sharon Burns, 35, said: “It’s highly likely when Greg came to visit before Christmas, it was the first time he had seen the twins.”

Greg Reardon’s return to Clifton

The path (left) and entrance (centre)
to the basement flat that Greg Reardon
shared with Joanna Yeates
at 44 Canynge Rd
Greg Reardon claimed that he got back to the flat at 44 Canynge Road after his weekend in the north at about 8.00 p.m. on Sunday 19th December 2010. (Joanna’s mother thought it had been 8.30 p.m.) Bernard the cat seemed very pleased to see him, but was quite desperate to go outside. “When I was settling down to have some food, he was being particularly affectionate. He seemed particularly hungry. When I went back to the car and came in again, I noticed the litter tray was full. I realised the faeces in the litter tray was very old. It was dried out on the top.”

He alleged that he ate an Asda pizza from the freezer and drank the contents of the open bottle of cider that he found in the flat. Why did he drink flat, lukewarm cider?

The boyfriend explained to the jury that he and Joanna had planned to watch the final of the BBC reality show “The Apprentice” together at 9.00 p.m. Asked by Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC what Joanna’s plans had been for the weekend, he replied that she had mentioned her plans to finish her Christmas shopping. He added that they had a get-together coming up, and she wanted to do some baking.

At about 8.55 p.m. he tried to telephone Joanna to let her know that the TV programme was about to start. He alleged that he heard her mobile telephone faintly ringing in the pocket of her white jacket, which he said was hanging up.

Joanna’s bag was on the table, and it contained all the stuff she would normally need to take with her, and also the multi-coloured striped top he had last seen her wearing. The outdoor clothes she had been wearing, and her bag, glasses, keys, mobile telephone and wallet were all inside the flat.

Greg Reardon would tell the Court: “I panicked. It was a realisation that something is wrong. I felt I needed to find out what was going on, so I just walked around the flat looking for things to try to find out what she might have done. I was kind of tidying up as I went, and trying to work out what she might be wearing by looking at her clothes.”

Darragh Bellew
Over four suspicious hours passed before he contacted Joanna Yeates’s parents and then the police to report her missing. He telephoned to some of Joanna’s friends and some of his own friends in Bristol to ask if they knew where she was. At midnight he telephoned their Irish colleague, landscape architect Darragh Bellew, who had been at the get-together in the Bristol Ram pub, explaining that he had got back to the flat and found it strange that all Joanna’s belongings were there. Although Greg Reardon had found Joanna’s mobile phone, he did not attempt to call her best friend Rebecca Scott, whom he could have ascertained was the last person she had spoken to with it. His testimony of how he spent those 4½ hours was arguably not at all convincing, yet neither DCI Jones’s detectives at A & S Constabulary nor the media questioned it. Vincent Tabak’s defence counsel William Clegg QC failed to cross-examine Greg Reardon about why he had not called Joanna’s best friend straightaway, about the identites of anyone besides himself who had tried to telephone Joanna during the weekend, about whether he had deleted any items from the call log on Joanna’s mobile telephone, and about why he had waited 4½ hours before reporting her missing.

Joanna’s parents, Teresa & David Yeates
At 12.36 a.m. on Monday 20th December 2010 he telephoned Joanna’s parents in Ampfield and told them that Joanna was missing. They told him to contact the police and said they would drive to Clifton straightaway. It took them two hours.

Greg Reardon telephoned the police at 12.45 a.m. on the 20th December 2010. He explained that his girlfriend was missing. He told the operator: “I’ve been away for the weekend and I have come back and found my girlfriend not here when she is supposed to be. All of her important stuff is in the flat – her wallet, keys and phone. I am worried if she is missing, or she might be in hospital somewhere. I am quite worried. I have called everyone that I know in the area. I said to her on Friday that I would be back on Sunday evening. I have been trying to ring her.” According to The Mirror (10th/11th October 2011), the 999 call lasted 12 minutes.

When a grown-up person is reported missing by a partner or spouse in the middle of the night, the most common reasons are a misunderstanding, an argument, drunkenness, forgetfulness, or infidelity. The natural reaction of the police officer on duty would have been to suggest waiting until the next day to see if she turned up of her own accord. Instead, an action was set in motion immediately. Had one of Joanna’s parents roused her godfather, Peter Yeates, a Detective Sergeant with Dorset Police, to get him out of his bed and use his influence to impress on his Bristol colleagues that his goddaughter’s disappearance was serious?

Cross-examining during the trial, Counsel for the Prosecution asked Greg Reardon if he knew his neighbours. He claimed that he saw both Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson walk past his window when they returned home. If he was referring to 19th December 2010, then it has not emerged where they went that evening. Greg Reardon said that he had never spoken to the defendant before, nor was he aware that he was foreign. However he told the court that he had spoken to Tanja Morson once when his cat had got into her flat.

Anneliese Jackson was the young police officer who came to 44 Canynge Road in response to Greg Reardon’s telephone call to say that his girlfriend was not where she should be. Neither the boyfriend, nor Joanna’s parents, nor officer Jackson reported seeing any blood in the flat. At 3.00 a.m. police telephoned Darragh Bellew concerning Joanna’s disappearance. After contacting local hospitals, WPC Jackson returned with an unidentified colleague at about 4.00 a.m. to interview Mr. & Mrs. Yeates. At 4.15 a.m., the two officers and Greg Reardon knocked on the door of the neighbouring flat. When Vincent Tabak opened the door, they asked him whether he knew anything about Joanna’s disappearance. Officer Jackson thought he looked as if he had just woken up; all he said was “No” calmly. Tanja Morson then came to the door, and according to the police officer was “visibly shocked and concerned” at the news.

Although this has not been reported publicly, it seems likely that WPC Jackson went on to rouse the other residents of the house from their beds to inquire whether they they knew anything about Joanna’s disappearance.

She was my future 

The police designated the search for Joanna Yeates “Operation Braid” as soon as her disappearance was made public. The news media showed no curiosity about the choice of this code name. Had they done so, they would have worked out that the police were already convinced that she had been the victim of foul play, whatever Greg Reardon may have told them.

A month after Joanna was killed, The Independent would note that she had been the only one of the four missing persons in the UK who vanished during the week before Christmas whose disappearance made the national news headlines. Was this an indication that Greg Reardon or his parents have a connection to the police or some other influential persons? Or was her assailant someone already known to the police, who left his “calling card” in the flat, to let them know how serious her disappearance was?

On Tuesday, 21st December 2010, all the national news media showed a video released by Avon & Somerset Constabulary showing a news conference, at which David Yeates made a highly emotional statement about Joanna’s disappearance and appealed for her safe return. Her mother, brother and boyfriend were seen with him. Her boyfriend would later tell The Sun (13th December 2011) “When I saw all the cameras I just thought, ‘I’ve seen this type of story before. I know how it’s going to end.’” His body language seemed contrived beside the heart-rending grief of Joanna’s parents.

On 22nd December 2010, while she was at work, Tanja Morson viewed a news website reporting the police investigation of her neighbour Joanna Yeates’s disappearance, and remarked in one of her e-mails to her boyfriend Vincent Tabak: “Creepy. So they really think she left home by herself?”

Joanna Yeates’s best friend Rebecca Scott
Joanna’s best friend, Rebecca Scott, told journalists, “Greg is with her family at the moment – he is distraught”.

According to The Daily Mail, 23rd December 2010: “The boyfriend of missing architect Jo Yeates fought back tears yesterday as he said: ‘I desperately want her back – I thought we would be together for ever. She was my future. This Christmas was going to be our first together. I was going to stay with her family, which is always a big deal for a boyfriend.’”

“We were both really happy in our jobs – we worked together and that's how we met.”
– The Independent, 23rd December 2010

“Yesterday, the day after he sobbed at a press conference appealing for her safe return, he was staying with her parents at their home in Ampfield, Hampshire. He said: ‘On Sunday night I came home at about 8.00 p.m. after staying with my family in Sheffield, but Jo wasn’t home. Over the weekend I had tried calling and texting her and didn’t have a reply, but Jo didn’t always reply so it wasn’t completely out of character. Then when I arrived home it was obvious our cat had been left on his own and was going mad. I waited up for her until about midnight and then when she didn’t return I started to get really worried. I went through her bag, which she had left on the table and found it had all the stuff she would need to take with her, things like her purse and her keys. I called the police and reported her missing and also phoned her parents. Since then I haven’t slept much. I’m constantly on the internet trying to raise awareness on Facebook and some of her friends from Hampshire have even come up to Bristol to put up missing posters. She was the first ever girlfriend I moved in with. Recently we moved in to a really nice flat together in probably the best area of Bristol. It’s our second place together and things felt like they were really falling into place. We were both really happy in our jobs – we worked together and that’s how we met. We’ve had our cat, Bernard, for about a year, since he was a kitten, and he means the world to us. Things were set for us. We were going to stay with her parents for about a week over Christmas then head up to Scotland for Hogmanay. She was really looking forward to Christmas. We had put up a tree and she was due to bake some mince pies. We celebrated our second anniversary on December 11 and I took her out for dinner – it was perfect.’”
– The Daily Mail, 23rd December 2010

According to The Telegraph, 23rd December 2010: “Mr Reardon had taken the car he shared with Miss Yeates to Sheffield to visit his family. It is not known whether Miss Yeates left their flat by foot or on her bicycle”.

Whereas Joanna’s father at the first press conference on the Tuesday had appealed to her: “Please get in touch as soon as possible – either to the police or anyone who can confirm you are OK”, Greg Reardon was speaking about Joanna Yeates on the Wednesday as if he already knew that there was no chance of her being found alive.

On the Tuesday evening, Christopher Jefferies, who had been interviewed by a detective earlier in the day, telephoned the police to say that he had remembered seeing and hearing someone whom he believed was Joanna Yeates together with two other people at 44 Canynge Road. The next day, Wednesday, the detective called on him at home and took the landlord’s 2nd witness statement.

The video in which Greg Reardon spoke about Joanna for the first time, made public by the police on the morning of 22nd December 2010, was removed from the internet within 24 hours. Was this done as a result of of the landlord’s phone call? Or was it the result of a tip-off to a senior police officer from her lover about her death, the circumstances leading up to it, and the involvement of her boyfriend? Greg Reardon did not join Joanna’s parents in any subsequent televised appeals.

It may have been at this time that Greg Reardon, at the request of detectives, sketched a plan of the flat, on which he marked the objects that he claimed to have found out of place on his return from Sheffield and had tidied away before WPC Jackson arrived. This evidence of a struggle has never been corroborated by anyone else, nor was it reported publicly at the time. Joanna’s father would not have publicly acknowledged the possibility that she had left the flat of her own accord if her boyfriend had already told him about its unusually disordered state at the time when he had taken part in the first video appeal. However, this revelation may explain why her parents introduced their fear that she had been abducted in their second public appeal.

On 23rd December 2010, a variety of cheerful
photos of Joanna Yeates together with
Greg Reardon at a wedding reception at Tatton Hall,
Cheshire, appeared in the news media
Greg Reardon’s half-brother Francis, who he was understood to have seen at his semi-detached house in Sheffield over the weekend, was reluctant to discuss the visit when approached by the press on 22nd December 2010. He said: ‘I’ve given the police a statement, they’ve got all the times and everything, so I don’t know if I should be saying anything.’ (from The Daily Mail, 23rd December 2010). If there had been nothing to hide, you would have expected him to be anxious to reassure journalists that everything about Joanna’s boyfriend’s movements had been above suspicion.

“As her disappearance was so out of character, the police were already concerned for her safety,” wrote journalist Tina Orr Monro in an article about Joanna Yeates in the February 2012 issue of Police magazine, “and several items, including the bedding from the couple’s first floor flat, were sent to a forensic laboratory for analysis, although nothing of significance was discovered.”

Joanna’s frozen pizza had not been found
Suspiciously early in the investigation, the police stated that the presence of her effects in the flat showed that Joanna Yeates had got home. On 23rd December 2010, even as he revealed that the frozen pizza bought by Joanna Yeates had not been found, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Bevan stated that the presence in the flat of her coat, keys and mobile phone made him believe that she had reached home. He sought to divert public attention from the most obvious conclusion about the pizza, namely, that she had eaten it. He failed to draw another conclusion suggested by the absence of the pizza, namely that the other items Joanna had been carrying could have been placed in the flat by her abductor subsequently without her ever having reached the flat. There is only one person who would not have been incurring a great risk by returning to the flat to do this.

(There is no reason to believe Vincent Tabak’s bizarre claim at his trial to have returned to collect the pizza, since neither QC asked him under their prolonged cross-examinations what had prompted him to take the pizza, rather than any of the dozens of other items that he might have stolen from the flat. He could not have known that it was to become the most famous pizza in Bristol! On the contrary, the need of the court to explain away in hindsight the disappearance of the pizza is evidence that the QCs were in collusion to pervert the course of justice.)

DCI Bevan played no other known role in this case than that of the ‘pizza cop’. He would probably have preferred not to reveal that the pizza was missing, as he was probably lying about the fate of the packaging. It seems most probable that it was Joanna’s parents who linked the pizza to her abduction, and that they would have been suspicious if its absence were not made public. The big mystery that he made out of it reveals that he already knew much more about her fate than he was telling.

The Express newspaper, 23rd December 2010: Greg Reardon stated on Facebook: “The police have taken statements and are piecing together the events that unfolded on Friday night and beyond and are currently in a full investigation with local area searches in a case that is described as ‘high risk’. It will be difficult to contact myself as mobile phones and computers are in the hands of the police for the near future. Teresa and David (Jo’s parents) are still contactable.” ... A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset police said last night: “The confiscation of Mr Reardon’s phone and computer are a routine part of our investigations. They lived together and there could be information contained on them that can help us. Mr Reardon is not a suspect.

Telling the press that Greg Reardon was not suspected of any involvement only three days after he had reported Joanna’s disappearance could mean only that the police already knew what had happened to her and knew who was responsible. However, the jury would be told the opposite. If her boyfriend were guilty, then this statement also reveals that the police already knew that they would not be able to prosecute him.

Mr. Clegg failed to cross-examine the police’s IT expert Lyndsey Farmery in court about whether the mobile phones and computers siezed from Joanna Yeates’s and Greg Reardon’s flat yielded any information about their private lives and their movements during that weekend that could have shed more light on Joanna’s death.

A princess who has been snatched by a horrible and evil monster

Joanna Yeates’s bloodstained body was found in the melting snow at Failand on Christmas morning. A smear of Joanna Yeates’s blood was also found on the stone wall beside the spot where her body was discovered. On Boxing Day, Greg Reardon and members of her family laid flowers at a spot a short distance away, escorted by Detective Superintendent Mike Rourke. Joanna was now the subject of a murder inquiry. The police continued to use the designation “Operation Braid”, which, revealingly, had first been made public while she was still a Missing Person, It was named after a video game about a search for a princess who has been snatched by a horrible and evil monster.

Joanna’s father subsequently told The Sunday Telegraph (26th December 2010) that they had been 100 percent convinced within 30 minutes of their arrival there in the small hours of 20th December that the state of the flat showed that she had been abducted. Since Greg Reardon was more familiar with the state of the flat than they were, it is hard to understand why it took him so much longer to work out that Joanna had been abducted.

If the boyfriend was subjected to any medical examination for scratches that might have been sustained during a struggle, this was never reported. As an architectural student, he would have known that there was a quarry where the body was eventually found in Longwood Lane.

The crime scene at Longwood Lane
Detective Sergeant Mike Rourke was overseeing the crime scene at Longwood Lane on 27th December 2010 when Joanna’s family 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. Greg Reardon was wearing a black woolly hat and had started to grow a beard, possibly to hide scratches on his face. It was his first appearance in public since the first press conference after Joanna was reported missing. Everyone else was bare-headed. He was accompanied by his half-brother Frances, who had probably never met Joanna, and who was talking on his mobile telephone while the others were laying their flowers. 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, whereas Greg Reardon showed little emotion and was much more conscious of the press and what was going on around him.

The entrance to Durnford Quarry
This is Bristol reported: “On their way back down the road, Mr Reardon stopped and gazed at the entrance to the nearby Durnford Quarry.” It was as if both he and the journalist understood its significance. News videos of the visit were quickly withdrawn from the internet.

Apart from the visit to Longwood Lane on 27th December 2010 and the funeral on 11th February 2011, Greg Reardon never again appeared in public with Joanna’s parents, who became the focus of media attention in connection with every significant event in the course of the investigation and the conviction of Vincent Tabak. Unlike Joanna’s parents, he did not travel to London for the Old Bailey hearing on 5th May 2011.

29th December 2010
The picture of Greg Reardon
was taken 2 days earlier
at Longwood Lane 
Suspiciously early in the investigation, on 28th December 2010, the police officer in charge of Operation Braid, DCI Jones, stated that the boyfriend was being treated as a witness and not as a suspect. Its front page the next day suggested that The Daily Mirror thought he ought to be the police’s Number One suspect, though the newspaper failed to elicit any explanation why the police did not share this view. The Sun, on 29th December 2010, carried the exclusive, unattributed allegation that “it was understood police discounted the possibility of his involvement in her death after studying his credit card receipts at petrol stations and examining his phone records”. Mr. Clagg failed to cross-examine the police’s IT expert Lyndsey Farmery in court about whether she could confirm this. Was the arrest of the landlord at dawn the following day a smokescreen to draw attention away from the boyfriend and to prevent him from telling journalists that he had seen Joanna alive together with Greg Reardon after she was supposed to be dead and he was supposed to be in Sheffield?

According to the BBC on 30th December 2010, “Miss Yeates’s keys, mobile phone, purse and coat had been left behind at her flat, and forensic examiners have said there was no sign of a forced entry or a struggle at the property.”

Alluding to the vilification by the news media of his landlord in the course of a statement read out on Bristol harbour front by police family liaison officer DC Emma Davies on 2nd January 2011, Greg Reardon observed: “The finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of an as yet innocent men has been shameful. It has made me lose a lot of faith in the morality of the British Press and those that spend their time fixed to the internet in this modern age.”

Express journalist
Padraic Flanagan
Padraic Flanagan, writing in The Express online, 12th January 2011, reported Greg Reardon’s Sheffield sister-in-law’s reaction when approached by a journalist: Last night chartered surveyor Helen said she couldn’t discuss the weekend. “We’ve spoken to the police and we don’t have anything else to say,’’ she said. “I’m sorry we can’t be of more help.” According to the same report, another neighbour saw Greg Reardon’s car parked outside his half-brother’s home that weekend.

Were Helen and Francis Reardon covering for the boyfriend's arrival in Sheffield at a time that was later in the night than the time he had told the police?

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, whereas her boyfriend looked straight ahead of him and displayed little emotion. He was accompanied by an older woman, probably his mother Lydia Reardon. He was also seen together with his half-brother Francis.

Unlike Joanna’s parents, who had not met Vincent Tabak, Greg Reardon was not reported to have been at the Old Bailey to hear a person on a video screen claiming to be Vincent Tabak plead guilty of manslaughter on 5th May 2011. If he had been, he might have recognised that the person on the screen was an imposter. Greg Reardon saw Vincent Tabak in court for the first time when he came to testify about his return to the empty flat.
The hallway of the basement flat that Joanna Yeates
and Greg Reardon shared at 44 Canynge Road

He told the court that he had found a pair of her earrings
– one in the bed, and the other on the floor.
At first, while Joanna was still a missing person, it was stated in a couple of the news reports that there were no signs of a struggle in the flat, but, in his testimony to the Court on 17th October 2011, Greg Reardon would claim that he had found untidiness and several signs of a struggle. Joanna’s parents probably weren’t told about these signs until after the first public video appeal:
  • There was clothing, boots, shoes and general paraphernalia in the main walking path of the hallway. 
  • The boots Joanna had been wearing were in the middle of the hallway. 
  • There were several coats on the floor - one of his brown coats and two or three big items of clothing. 
  • He believed that one of the lounge lights and the hall light were on. 
  • There were two broken pieces of plastic on a green pedestal in the hallway, with a pair of Joanna's briefs on top. He told the court that this was not the normal place they would be kept. The Home Office pathologist told the court “her knickers were undisturbed”, which would also have been true if these briefs were knickers missing from her body.
  • A Smirnoff branded kitchen apron that was rarely used and normally kept in a kitchen drawer was found folded up on the hall floor. 
  • He found a pair of Joanna’s amethyst earrings in the bedroom. One was in the bed and the other earring was on the floor under some clothes. He found only one of the fasteners. He told the court that she usually left them on the bedside table when she removed her earrings.
Nigel Lickley QC
Greg Reardon was cross-examined briefly and sympathetically by Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC.

Among the evidence for the Crown’s case submitted on or before 1st April 2011 was a diagram of the flat that the police had asked Greg Reardon to draw showing the items he claimed to have found out of place and had tidied up. When he reluctantly signed his “enhanced statement”, Vincent Tabak would have known of the existence of the diagram, but his lawyers did not warn him of its purpose. When he went into the witness box, one of the two factors that turned the jury against him was that he offered no explanation for these signs of a struggle. His defence counsel William Clegg QC failed to cross-question Greg Reardon about the discrepancy between these and various statements made by himself, her parents and the police at the time when Joanna first went missing that allowed for the possibility of her having left by herself. The police’s purpose in keeping the evidence of a struggle secret until the trial may have been to entrap the defendant. On the other hand, Greg Reardon and the police may have invented this evidence.

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 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.

After judgement was passed on Vincent Tabak on 28th October 2011, Greg Reardon shook hands with the police officers who were in court.

Sun journalist John Coles
John Coles in The Sun, 13th December 2011: “[Greg Reardon] was keen to thank those who helped him recover in the aftermath of the darkest moment of his life. He particularly named Jo’s friends Emma Brooks and Becky Scott, plus Nick Brooke, Nick Cronk, Meg Pardoe, Mark Henninger and Pete Gryaznevich.”

What really happened that weekend?

As described in detail in the other posts, Vincent Tabak was made a scapegoat for the murder of Joanna Yeates, so the true circumstances of her death, its timing, and the scene of the final attack, must be a matter for conjecture, based on the evidence available, and the efforts made by the police and the lawyers to deceive and manipulate the public and the jury.

Summary of the grounds for making the boyfriend a suspect:
  • Suspecting the husband or boyfriend is standard police practice in murder cases of this nature.
  • Women are most at risk of violence committed by someone they know, often in the home. For example, it is estimated that two women a week die as a result of domestic violence. This reality is distorted when attention is focused on the danger of violence from strangers. Men are in fact more likely than women to be victims of violence in public places – The Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol, quoted in the Bristol Evening News, 11th January 2011. According to Greater Manchester Police, one woman in four is subject to domestic abuse. According to the University of East London’s Prof. Allan Brimicombe, domestic violence accounts for 35 per cent of murders in the UK.
  • Greg Reardon’s parents were 40 years old when he was born, and he is his father’s only child, so he may be used to getting his own way. His early designation by the police as a witness rather than a suspect prevented the news media from investigating his associates (as they did for the landlord) to find out if he had any history of violence.
  • The landlord did not testify at the trial, and only vague, conflicting versions of his crucial 2nd witness statement have ever been made public. He probably told detectives that he had seen Joanna alive during the weekend, in the company of men whose identities the police did not want to be revealed, so he was arrested to silence him and to prevent journalists from winkling out of him the evidence that Greg Reardon’s and the police’s account of the weekend she disappeared was false.
  • Violent jealousy in a close relationship can be triggered by the merest trifle, such as a handkerchief (in the case of Othello), a text message on a mobile telephone, or contact to an ex-boyfriend (in the case of Daniel Lancaster). On the other hand, jealousy could also have arisen if another man had made Joanna pregnant or if her boyfriend surprised them together in a compromising situation.
  • Although petite, pretty and vulnerable, Joanna Yeates had not been raped nor deliberately disfigured. Her body was found fully clothed. Although her bra had been pushed up so that one breast was exposed, it was intact and still fastened. Her jeans were also fastened. The pathologist told the court that her knickers were “undisturbed”, but not whether she had been wearing any.
  • The pathology of her body pointed to domestic violence.
    A most unusual body deposition site
  • The verge of the country lane where the public and the jury were told Joanna Yeates was found is a most unusual body deposition site. According to The Mirror (1st January 2011), this strongly suggests that her murder was not planned, and that the person who put her body there panicked, because virtually no thought went into concealing the body. This would match her boyfriend, hastily making for junction 19 of the M5 on his way to Sheffield on the Friday evening. It would not match a killer who had no other plans for the evening than to sit at home alone. However, there is evidence that Joanna was still alive during the weekend and that the actual spot where her body was dumped was less conspicuous than the one that the public and the jury were told about.
  • Returning to the flat to collect the missing frozen pizza after removing the body would have been a bizarre action for Vincent Tabak or any other assailant. However, inadvertantly overlooking the pizza, while planting in their flat the receipt for the pizza and her outdoor clothes, bottles of cider, bag, glasses, keys, mobile telephone and wallet, would have been most logical for the boyfriend if he had killed her before she reached home. He may have dumped the pizza after it had thawed out during the trip to Sheffield, or eaten it after his return before realizing its significance as evidence. Or Joanna herself may have eaten it together with her lover, and the public and the jury deceived about her stomach contents.
  • The journalists who asked the best friend about a secret lover must have suspected that Joanna may have been prevented from finishing dressing after being caught by her boyfriend in flagrente delicto. Her right foot was bare when her body was found. Taking Joanna’s right ski sock as a trophy, on the other hand, would have been a bizarre action for Vincent Tabak or any other assailant who was not a “crazy detached person”. An alternative explanation for the sock’s absence is that, unnoticed in the gloom, the sock came off Joanna’s right foot and stayed inside the boot, if the killer took off her boots after her death, since the socks belonged to her boyfriend and would have been on the large size for her.
    Scientist found no forensic evidence in the flat
  • Despite the blood on her body and on the wall in Longwood Lane, scientists found no forensic evidence in the flat to prove that Joanna had been strangled there, nor any traces of Vincent Tabak in the flat. So if she were attacked in her own flat, then she attempted to flee, partially-dressed, but was overtaken by her assailant in the street outside and killed in the car or somewhere else. Planting her effects in the flat after killing her elsewhere would have been hazardous for any assailant other than her boyfriend, since he might be seen.
  • Strangling her in the flat and transporting the body out to a car would have been laborious and risky compared with strangling her inside the car.
  • According to The Mail on 22nd January 2011, there were no drag marks on Joanna’s body nor her clothing. This is consistent with her having been strangled in the passenger seat of a car and heaved out on to the roadside. But The Mail understood police to have a theory that the killer used a large bag to move her body from her flat to the boot of his car.
    William Clegg QC
  • As Mr. Clegg attempted to prove to the jurors, Joanna’s screams were unlikely to have been heard if they came from inside the flat. He was probably right in contending that they were not her screams at all. Had she been assailed early that Friday evening in a car outside, with the door open, however, they would have been audible but muffled, and the thud described by Mrs. Zoe Lehmann could have been made by Joanna’s killer pulling the passenger door shut.
  • About 4 hours after he got back to the flat to find Joanna missing, Greg Reardon used the calls and texts logs on her mobile phone to ring the people with whom she had been in contact on the Friday night. However, he omitted to ring her best friend, who was reportedly the last person she telephoned on her way to Clifton.
  • Joanna’s boyfriend delayed contacting the police for more than 4½ hours after returning to the flat, where he expected to find her, despite having allegedly received no response to his efforts to contact her during the preceding 48 hours, and despite being confronted by obvious evidence of foul play, especially the presence of her purse, coat and boots. This delay suggests a panic-stricken killer putting off for as long as possible the evil moment when he would become the prime suspect. It could also be the result of his need to take into his confidence a knowledgeable accomplice or Joanna’s lover to try to agree how best to prepare for notifying the police. Or it could be the time when she was actually killed and her body dumped. If she had been wearing her outdoor clothes when she was strangled, he would have had to spend some time cleaning the bloodstains off her jacket and her green fleece.
  • Although he at first said in his 999 call that Joanna was “not here”, he then went on to tell the operator, “All her important stuff is in the flat”, which sounds like a Freudian slip that he made because he himself was somewhere else when he made the phone call. Using the word “important” reveals that he had already been making an assessment of the relative unimportance of the frozen pizza, and that he was already aware that it was missing. A person who was not trying to contrive a scenario would have said, “The things she had with her are here”.
  • During his initial contact to the police and in the family’s first TV appeal, her boyfriend indicated that he believed that Joanna had left the flat of her own free will, and some press reports stated that there had been no signs of a struggle in the flat. Nine months later, however, his testimony at the trial of Vincent Tabak described very extensive signs of a struggle in several different parts of the flat.
    Greg Reardon visiting
    Longwood Lane on
    Boxing Day 2010
  • After from his own TV appeal seen on 22nd December 2010, which was subsequently withdrawn from the internet, Joanna’s boyfriend avoided appearing in public together with her family except where he could not avoid it, i.e., the visit to Longwood Lane on Boxing Day and the funeral on 13th February 2011. In his TV appeal he spoke of her as if he knew she were dead. His body language suggested that his grief was feigned.
  • After Joanna’s body was found, her father told The Sunday Telegraph that within 30 minutes of their arrival at the flat, after her boyfriend had telephoned to tell them she was missing, the state of the flat had confirmed their fear that she had been abducted. They knew what she did and did not do.
  • When approached, separately, by journalists, both the boyfriend’s half-brother in Sheffield (who is the child of their mother’s first marriage), and the latter’s wife, declined to answer any questions about the timing of his arrival on the Friday evening, except to acknowledge that they had given a statement to the police.
  • The Sun, about 29th December 2010, carried the exclusive, unattributed allegation about the boyfriend that “it was understood police discounted the possibility of his involvement in her death after studying his credit card receipts at petrol stations and examining his phone records”.
  • The pathologists, the police and the barristers were silent on the question of whether some of the 43 injuries found on the victim’s body could have been incurred 48 hours or more before her death, and whether these were connected with her bad headaches and the sick leave she had taken the day before her death.
  • The pathologists, the police and the barristers were silent on the question of whether urine was found in the victim's bladder, her briefs or her jeans. However, the fact that her body was frozen to the ground and could be levered free only by the use of a broom-handle and webbing suggests that her clothes had been soaked in urine when her body was dumped. If she were strangled about the time she got home on the Friday evening, as the prosecution claimed, this indicates that she had no opportunity to go to the toilet after her 50 minute walk in freezing conditions. This is not consistent with Vincent Tabak’s “enhanced statement”, in which he allegedly strangled her in her flat at least ½ hr after she had returned home. It is, however, consistent with Greg Reardon’s strangling her just as she arrived home, or with a surprise attack that took place under quite different circumstances.
  • It was Joanna’s parents who took over her cat. If Greg Reardon and Bernard really had any affection for each other, the two would certainly have stayed together after Joanna’s death. That they didn’t indicates that her boyfriend had no real desire to be reminded fondly of her.
  • Despite having told her friends that she had only vague plans for the weekend, Joanna did not accompany her devoted boyfriend to Sheffield for a family christening, but instead sent texts seeking the company of other men as soon as his back was turned. There could have been an innocent explanation for why she stayed in Bristol, but its failure to emerge publicly is evidence that she had secret plans that he could guess. She thereby gave him a strong motive for murder, namely jealousy, and perhaps he returned on Sunday to find her in the arms of a lover.
  • He had no alibi for the Sunday evening, so he also had the means and opportunity to kill her.
  • The lovers’ discretion about a weekend tryst would have made it easy for Joanna’s boyfriend to mislead everyone into believing that it had been Friday when she disappeared.
  • It has not been revealed whether Joanna were pregnant or not, but if she were, this could have been a contributory factor in the motivation of her killer.
DCI Phil Jones holding a ski sock
similar to the one found on
Joanna Yeates’s left foot
Yet instead of arresting Greg Reardon and charging him with murder, “on good and sufficient evidence”, DCI Phil Jones declared him to be a witness. Perhaps the boyfriend’s father is much better-connected than the public has been told, or perhaps he is involved in organised crime. Alternatively, the identity of Joanna’s mystery lover may explain why police decided that they could not arrest Greg Reardon for her murder, but convicted Vincent Tabak instead.
  • Her lover (or his wife) is probably very prominent, or for some other reason has a strong hold over both the police and the CPS
  • It would be disastrous for his career if he were to be linked to a high-profile murder, so he is probably significantly older than Joanna
  • He is ruthless and detached, probably accustomed to taking important decisions that inevitably blight some innocent lives
  • He may be a Catholic, if Joanna had told him that she was carrying his child
  • He is married, otherwise the relationship would not need to have been kept secret
  • His wife may be from a very wealthy family, perhaps even royalty
  • Although only 25 years old and newly qualified at the time of her death, Joanna had more than £40,000 in her bank account. The orchestrated public campaign of vilification and resurrection of her landlord suggests that the men he saw on her garden path may have been her clients, whose presence in the case had to be erased from the public consciousness. If Greg Reardon’s supposedly devoted girlfriend were taking money for sex with influential men, was he aware of this? Was his rĂ´le that of protector?
  • Was the failure of the police to suspect the boyfriend because they knew that landscape architect Joanna was the victim of a “House of Cards” execution by a property developer who had paid her to keep quiet about corrupt deals in which he was involved? Did Christopher Jefferies and Buro Happold have dealings with this man?
The evidence of the missing ski sock suggests that Greg Reardon most probably surprised Joanna in bed with her lover, sent him packing, and then launched into a violent physical attack on her, causing her to flee the flat before she had finished dressing, clutching her loose sock in one hand. She probably sought refuge in the car, but before she could drive off he had caught up with her. She may have found out that she was pregnant after her evening in the Bristol Ram pub, and may have precipitated his rage by revealing her condition for the first time during this confrontation.

A number of factors, including:
  • the arrest of the landlord to shut him up
  • Joanna’s quest for someone else’s company for dinner on the Friday evening
  • Greg Reardon’s 4¾ hours’ delay before contacting the police
suggest that this confrontation took place on the Saturday or the Sunday (when Vincent Tabak had an alibi). The most likely fate of the pizza was to be eaten very soon after the hungry Joanna had bought it as a food offering to take to some friend living nearby whose existence the police have concealed. No discarded Tesco packaging was found in Joanna’s flat. She probably knew that there was an Asda pizza (which Greg Reardon would eat on the Sunday evening) waiting to be eaten in the freezer at her flat, and this suggests that she had decided not to go straight home at the time when she bought the Tesco pizza.

It is unlikely that the lover was nearby when Joanna was killed, but he would be the first person to know or to work out that her boyfriend had killed her. Greg Reardon and the lover must both have realised that each had a strong hold over the other. If the boyfriend were charged with murder, he would expose the part played by the lover. It cannot be ruled out that both were involved in the dumping of her body.

The landlord’s phone-call to the police about the people he had seen on Joanna’s front path just after the first video appeal was shown probably conflicted with Greg Reardon’s story, causing detectives to question the boyfriend further. He probably admitted to them that Joanna had a lover, and revealed his identity to them. When they contacted the lover, they probably learnt from him that she was dead, but that he expected them to keep his name out of the public eye. Reardon would then have been obliged to reveal where the body was dumped. Her parents would have been kept in the dark about all this. The police would then have to create an ingenious secret plan for staging the discovery of her body. As they had by this time a witness statement from Vincent Tabak, they would already have identified him as a possible scapegoat. He had no alibi at a time when a heavy fall of snow could be invoked to have covered the body. After it had been “discovered” on Christmas day and the news media calmed down, police leaked the story that the landlord had seen Joanna with two other people, but may have changed the date of the sighting so as to compromise Vincent Tabak. Then they arrested Christopher Jefferies, and ensured that he kept very quiet until after the prosecution had the Dutchman’s signature on his so-called “enhanced statement”.