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 Counsel for the Prosecution

“...here is this quite foreign, alternative personality which people are trying to foist upon you.”

- Christopher Jefferies

Nigel Lickley QC
Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC (of 3PB Barristers Chambers in Winchester), 50, made his first appearance in Vincent Tabak’s case at the preliminary hearing before Mr. Justice Treacy on 31st January 2011. Mr. Lickley, who is married with two children, grew up in Basingstoke. He took his silk in 2006. He read law at University College London, and was called to the bar in 1983. In the 1997 general election he stood as Labour candidate for Basingstoke, but was defeated. He was leader of the Western Circuit from 2010 to 2013 and has always practised criminal law.

As the defendant appeared by video-link from Long Lartin prison, Mr. Lickley did not actually meet Vincent Tabak on this occasion. Mr. Lickley presented his provisional timetable to the judge, who “pencilled in” 4th October 2011 for the start of the trial. Mr Lickley stated that the case papers would be served by the Crown on or before 1st April 2011 (All Fools’ Day). The defence case statement was to be served by 28th April 2011.

Whose was the face on the video screen?

Judge Colman Treacy
The Old Bailey, London
The date and venue of the Plea and Case Management hearing had originally been agreed with Mr. Justice Treacy for 4th May at Bistol Crown Court. However, at 24 hours’ notice, it was moved 100 miles away to the Old Bailey, London, and put back to 5th May 2011. No explanation for this change was reported, nor who instigated it.

Counsel for the Defence
William Clegg QC
Although it was still legally a public hearing, the consequence of this move was that only those who had been tipped off were present in the public gallery (apart from curious members of the London public with no connection to the case). There were at least a dozen journalists present, as well as Joanna Yeates’s parents, and the defendant’s newly instructed Counsel for the Defence William Clegg QC. None of the defendant’s family, friends nor colleagues was present. A person who answered to the name of Vincent Tabak appeared by video-link. This person was not able to see who was in the public gallery. It did not emerge whether he was even aware of the change of venue. Neither Mr. Lickley nor anyone else in court would have been able to tell whether the person on the video screen who entered a plea of Guilty of Manslaughter were the actual defendant or an imposter.

Joanna Yeates’s parents arriving at the Old Bailey on
5th May 2011 in the company of a police liaison officer
(right) believed to be DC Emma Davies
Mr. & Mrs. Yeates had shown that they would not say anything in public that had not been approved by the Police Liaison Service. Acting on applications from counsel, the new judge in this case, Mr. Justice Field, could and did restrict what the journalists reported. Such restrictions can be temporary or permanent, and can include the reporting of the nature of the restrictions themselves. The curious and dramatic change of venue can be inferred to have had no other purpose than to conceal from the public proceedings that legally took place in open court, abandon the CPS’s principle of transparency, and pervert the course of justice by allowing a plea to be entered that differed from the one intended by Vincent Tabak.

Mr. Justice Richard Field
Mr. Lickley told the court that the Crown was not willing to accept the Manslaughter plea, and so a full trial would have to be held.

Bad character “evidence” drives out the good

One of the other main objects of this hearing was to settled any disputes about the admissibility of the evidence that either team planned to put before the jury. No witnesses would testify to the defendant’s exceptionally good character. Did the prosecution impose this as a condition for not being allowed to produce the so-called “bad character evidence”? Was this deal made at the Old Bailey hearing on 5th May 2011 and subject to permanent reporting restrictions?

The facts of the “bad character evidence” – if they are facts at all, as no witness had testified to them under oath – are innocuous, but Mr. Lickley wove a carefully considered web of erotic fantasy around Vincent Tabak’s alleged innermost private activities. The police and the journalists would blow these up to fantastic proportions, without the defendant having any opportunity to answer for his actions, and without Counsel for the Defence’s attempting to intervene.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones
Acknowledging that a Bristol jury was likely to be prejudiced against the defendant, Mr. Lickley applied at this hearing for his defendant’s trial to be held in Winchester, ostensibly to minimize the influence of adverse local publicity (but also very convenient for Mr. Lickley’s chambers in 3 Paper Buildings). Counsel for the Defence opposed this “false-flag” application, which the judge turned down.

The senior investigating officer in charge of “Operation Braid”, DCI Phil Jones, talked to the press outside the court afterwards. It is possible that he had not been in the court and that he had not seen the person on the video screen.

The Case for the Prosecution Opens

Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC was assisted at Vincent Tabak’s trial in October by prosecuting junior counsel Nicholas Rowland. The defendant was to be tried on the lesser plea of manslaughter, but the Prosecution’s case was to argue that he had intended to kill or seriously injure Joanna Yeates. The jurors had been told to expect the trial to begin on Thursday, 6th October, 2011, but it was not until Monday, 10th October 2011, that Mr Nigel Lickley QC opened his case for the Prosecution. Sally Ramage (Criminal Law News, November 2014) reports that Mr William Clegg QC pleaded for more time to read the extra 1300 pages of evidence that the Prosecution had thrust upon the Defence at the last minute. These colour-coded pages formed a bound A3 document containing the timeline of the alleged murder, with details of every incident involving each of the four parties involved.

Joanna Yeates
Opening his case for the prosecution on 10th October 2011, Mr. Lickley recounted how the victim and the defendant did not know each other, as they had been neighbours for only seventeen days. Shortly after Joanna and her boyfriend had moved into 44 Canynge Road on 25th October 2010, Vincent Tabak’s employer, Buro Happold, had sent him to America for five weeks. Counsel told the court about her movements on the evening when she was killed, while the jury were shown videos taken from CCTV in which Joanna was seen in the Bristol Ram pub together with colleagues. They were then shown a photo of the blood-stained pink top recovered from her body, and Mr. Lickley told them that it was the same one as she had been wearing in the pub. They were then shown video clips from CCTV capturing her in Waitrose, in Bargain Booze buying two bottles of cider, and in Tesco Express in Clifton Village buying a pizza. He told them about the telephone call she made and the text messages she exchanged with three men friends on her way home. Mr. Lickley told the court about Joanna Yeates’s brief encounter with Fr. George Henwood, allegedly the last person to see her alive apart from her killer, and about the witnesses who heard screams about 8.45 p.m., the time when the Prosecution would argue she had been killed.

Vincent Tabak in Asda at Bedminster.
The timestamp at the lower left-hand corner
has been blurred to render it undecipherable.
Recounting the defendant’s movements that evening, Counsel drew heavily on Vincent Tabak’s “enhanced” statement of 22nd September 2011. The court was shown a video taken from CCTV on which a cyclist whom Mr. Lickley alleged was the defendant cycling home about 7.00 p.m. from Bristol Temple Meads Station after his day’s work in Bath, and other videos showing a car driving through Bristol that Mr. Lickley claimed was the silver Renault Megane driven by the defendant.

Mr. Lickley told the court that Joanna Yeates had settled down for the evening, when she was interrupted by the defendant, who did not even know her name but proceeded to strangle her after she had screamed twice. He pointed out that the defendant was a foot taller than Joanna and claimed that Vincent Tabak was “completely in control and knew what he was doing. He was cool and able to mislead and manipulate others and hide his inner feelings”. If such a description fitted any person in that court, it was Mr. Lickley himself.

Tanja Morson was at the
Dyson works party
that evening
The court was told of two text messages Vincent Tabak had sent at 9.25 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. to his girlfriend Tanja Morson, who lived with him and was at her works party with her colleagues from Dyson that evening. In each of them he mentioned that he was bored without her. The court was shown two videos, with date-stamps but without time-stamps, taken from CCTV, in which Vincent Tabak, wearing his black coat, was seen in Asda at Bedminster. Mr. Lickley alleged that he the defendant had made two separate visits to Asda that evening. He bought crisps, beer and rock salt, which Mr. Lickley told the jury could be used for clearing snow and ice. Counsel claimed that this was at 10.28 p.m. and that the body of Joanna Yeates may have been in the car parked outside the supermarket at that time. The court watched further CCTV videos of a car that Mr. Lickley claimed was the silver Renault Megane being driven by the defendant along roads leading to Failand, where Vincent Tabak would allegedly dump Joanna’s body on the verge in Longwood Lane and cover it with leaves. A blood stain found on the nearby stone wall was evidence of an unsuccessful attempt to lift the body over the wall to conceal it from passers-by. In the small hours of the next morning he drove to the centre of Bristol and picked up his girlfriend Tanja Morson after her Christmas party as they had agreed. The court was shown a clip from CCTV showing the couple arm-in-arm at a fast food outlet where they made a brief stop on their way home.

Mr. Lickley told the court that a heavy fall of snow that night had covered the body, which was eventually found by a couple walking their dog on Christmas morning.

Joanna Yeates’s front-door contributed nothing to the
forensic evidence heard in court, so the police’s motive
for removing it in full view of the press and TV may
have been to agitate the defendant
Counsel went on to describe in detail how the defendant had become a suspect as a result of the interview he had volunteered to give on 31st December 2010 at Schiphol to a Detective Constable from Bristol, who would testify on 17th October 2011. Mr. Lickley did not mention whether the officer had cautioned the accused, nor what arrangements had been ensure that Netherlands sovereignty had not been violated. Referring to the interest that Vincent Tabak had shown at this interview in the forensic examination of the front door to Joanna Yeates’s flat reported on TV, Counsel for the Prosecution explained to the court that the defendant in some agitation had told the Detective Constable that he had on one occasion placed himself at the entrance to the flat and touched the door.

Counsel for the Prosecution told the jury that they would hear how the defendant searched on the internet for information about the difference between manslaughter and murder and the lengths of sentences for these, the rate at which a body decomposed, the collection of rubbish in relation to the missing pizza, extradition, DNA science, and a variety of other topics. He frequently viewed the website of Avon & Somerset Constabulary and a number of online media reports of the case. These demonstrated a consuming interest in the fate of his neighbour – which is hardly incriminating, considering that the place was swarming with police and reporters day after day – but also, more incriminatingly, according to Mr. Lickley, that he knew more than he should about her death. The fatal weakness in this part of the prosecution’s case would go unnoticed by the judge and jury, namely that the IT expert from the police would testify under oath only to the identity of each of the websites she would show the jury one after the other. It would be Mr. Lickley who called out the time at which he claimed the defendant had visited each website, and he was not under oath. In some cases he would say nothing at all, leaving it to the jury to imagine that he had told them that Vincent Tabak had been there.

Vincent Tabak attended parties
Counsel for the Prosecution claimed that Vincent Tabak attended parties and dinners pretending to be worried about his neighbour while hiding his “terrible secret”. He told the jury that they would hear how the defendant had described himself by characterizing Joanna Yeates’s killer as “a crazy, detached person” at a dinner party he had attended with his girlfriend on 15th January 2011.

A shocked and shaky Vincent Tabak had been arrested
at an address in Aberdeen Rd
Mr Lickley told the court that Vincent Tabak had been shaky and shocked on being arrested between 5.00 a.m. and 6.00 a.m. on 20th January 2011 at an address in Aberdeen Road and taken to Trinity Road police station in Bristol. He had not said very much. A sample of his DNA was taken, and this proved to match the DNA from the sample submitted at Schiphol. On being told that police could link him forensically to the body, Vincent Tabak had accused what Mr. Lickley incorrectly called “the Forensic Science Service” (actually a privatised company, LGC Forensics) of “forgery and taking bribes”.

The boot of the Renault Megane in which Counsel
alleged Joanna Yeates’s body had been transported 
Not mentioning that the car actually belonged to Tanja Morson, Mr. Lickley told the court that the defendant’s silver Renault Megane was among items siezed by police at the same time. He asserted that fibres found on Joanna Yeates’s body indicated she had come into contact with Tabak’s black coat and the Megane. “There was also very strong support for the proposition that Miss Yeates was in direct contact with the boot of the Megane,” he said. Mr. Lickley was not under oath.

He also said that Joanna Yeates’s blood had also been found in the boot of the car. This gives the false and highly emotive impression that they found actual blood stains in his car. The forensic scientists hired by the police didnt find blood at all. They claim that they found Joanna Yeates’s DNA on microscopic traces of blood. However, neither Mr. Lickley nor Counsel for the Defence cross-examined the forensic scientist who testified in court on the seventh day of the trial about traces of DNA from other identified persons found in the luggage compartment. This indicates that there were traces there from other residents of 44 Canynge Road. Furthermore this kind of enhanced DNA is notoriously inconclusive and should never have been mentioned in court as it is so vulnerable to contamination during analysis and, more importantly, cross-contamination when the accused and the victim live at the same address. The prosecution also used the billion-to-one lie about the validity of the evidence.

Joanna Yeates in the Bristol Ram pub
No expert testified under oath in court about the fibres referred to by Mr. Lickley. No evidence was produced to show whether these fibres were more likely to originate with Vincent Tabak’s coat than from anyone else’s coat. Joanna had been at work all day and had spent several hours in the crowded Bristol Ram Pub, where she could have picked up fibres from clothes worn by other people.

The court heard the transcript of the telephone call that Joanna’s boyfriend had made to the police nearly five hours after he had returned to the flat and discovered her missing. It held no hint of signs of the struggle in the flat that he would allege in court, nor of her involuntary departure.

The Prosecution then submitted to the court extracts from the affectionate and sympathetic e-mails exchanged between Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson while they were at work and Joanna Yeates was missing.

Mr. Lickley told the jury that the missing pizza was not eaten by Joanna, nor was this nor her missing ski sock ever found. Nevertheless Counsel for the Prosecution insisted that these items were taken by the defendant, for reasons known only to himself. Such was his authority that no one in court worked out that even a “crazy detached person” could not possess the mystical powers needed to predict that DCI Gareth Bevan would make such a TV mystery about the pizza six days later that Vincent Tabak would have to steal it so as to provide substance for the policeman’s future appeal.

On the second day of the trial (11th October 2011) Mr. Lickley continued his opening speech, alleging that Vincent Tabak had used his superior weight and height to pin his slight victim, Joanna Yeates, struggling violently for her life, down on the floor of her flat. Quoting extensively from the report by the Home Office pathologist Dr. Russell Delaney, he told the court that she had suffered 43 separate injuries, including cuts and bruises and a fractured nose, and that her death had been slow and painful. It was caused by compression to the neck, without the use of a ligature, giving Mr. Lickley an excuse to assert that the defendant had strangled her “with his bare hands”.

“It was not instantaneous, it took some time for her to suffocate and force to be used to kill her,” said Mr Lickley. “Other injuries showed contact with a roughened surface while she was alive – a floor, the ground or a rough surface. Apart from the fear the attack caused her, it would have been painful. She would have resisted and struggled. The pathologist reveals that for at least one consistent period of time sufficient force was applied by the killer’s hands to her neck to kill her. Her neck was held for long enough and hard enough to kill. There was a violent struggle by Joanna to try and survive. Despite that, Tabak continued to squeeze her neck to kill her.”

She suffered injuries to her head, neck, three abrasions to her abdomen, eleven to her right arm, ten to her left arm, one to her right leg and three to her left leg. “He knew she was in pain and struggling to breathe. He could have let her go, but he didn’t.” When she was found, Counsel added, her jeans were fastened, but her pink top was partially pulled up over her head. She was still wearing her bra, but her right breast was exposed.

Mr. Lickley claimed that toxicology analysis of Joanna’s body showed 67 mg alcohol per 100 ml blood. This was consistent with the consumption of 1½ to 2½ pints of cider shortly before death occurred. He added that the legal limit for drinking and driving is 80 mg. As none of the experts who subsequently testified gave any evidence about toxicology analysis of her body, Counsel was deceiving the jury that death had occurred at a time when she was under the influence of more or less alcohol than had actually been found.

Consel for the Prosecution told the jury that Dr. Jennifer Miller, who had analysed the contents of Joanna’s stomach, had found that the victim’s last meal had consisted of cheesy chips and Cola, and had estimated that death occurred between 9.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. However, Dr. Miller herself gave no actual evidence in her subsequent sparse testimony of the nature of Joanna’s last meal, nor any estimate for the time of death.

The landlord
Christopher Jefferies
Mr. Lickley claimed that the defendant’s DNA was found on Joanna’s legs and breast, consistent with his having carried the body. He omitted to explain that he was talking about “enhanced” partial DNA allegedly detected in samples of unidentified fluid taken from the body within two days of its discovery. He failed to tell the jury why forensic scientists had apparently taken three weeks to “enhance” these samples before finding the alleged match to the defendant, whereas according to the story they had leaked to The Mail immediately after the release of the landlord on 1st January 2011, they had already been searching for matches from the same sample prior to the arrest of Christopher Jefferies.

Counsel for the Prosecution told the court that when the police who arrested the defendant had asked him what he had for tea on the night Joanna died, he replied, “Pizza, I think”. He had told them that he had gone out to take photos of the snow immediately after getting home from work at 7.15 p.m. He claimed to have slipped on the ice outside Joanna’s flat, without seeing anything unusual, and to have moved the car round from the street into the driveway. Vincent Tabak had told police that he wanted to defrost it, but Mr. Lickley told the jury that the defendant had wanted to make it easier to load a body into it without being seen.

Prison chaplain Peter Brotherton.
The jury was not told that he was actually
a Supervising Officer from Whitemoor Prison
Mr. Lickley misled the court by alleging that Vincent Tabak had made a confession to a prison chaplain at Long Lartin on 8th February 2011 (19 days after his arrest) that he had killed Joanna Yeates. But the defendant had never made any such admission. When the so-called chaplain came to testify, he used the word “confession” only once (and covered himself against a possible charge of perjury), saying “It was not a religious confession”. Nor would he ever tell the court that the defendant had “killed Joanna Yeates”. These words were to be put into his mouth by Counsel for the Defence, who would also be misleading the court.

“I'm going to plead guilty” were the words Mr. Lickley claimed Vincent Tabak had said to the prison chaplain. “What for?” he claimed the chaplain had asked. “– for the crime that I have done” Counsel for the Prosecution told the court the defendant had replied. The very same words would be repeated one week later by Counsel for the Defence, William Clegg QC, during his cross-examination of the chaplain after Brotherton had recounted in the witness box his conversations with the defendant. The chaplain, however, would tell the court, under oath, only that Vincent Tabak had said he was “thinking of changing his plea to guilty”. Furthermore, he would make only a non-committal reply when the Defence Counsel challenged his memory by reference to a statement he would tell the court the witness had signed. Had this statement really existed, then the judge would certainly have asked to see it, to find out who was correct. However, the judge’s silence proves that no such statement existed – and that Messrs Lickley and Clegg had colluded beforehand over the phrasing of Mr. Clegg's cross-examination of the chaplain.

Counsel concluded the opening of the Prosecution’s case by suggesting that the defendant had not panicked nor lost control, but had been controlled and calculated, and had shown an ability to cover his tracks. This is the same Prosecutor who had told the jury that this same defendant had left DNA and incriminating computer traces where they shouldn’t have been. And they believed him! The Telegraph noted that “Mr. Lickley did not offer an explanation for why Tabak attacked Miss Yeates”. Its correspondents Martin Evans and Gordon Rayner were the only journalists to talk about the elephant in the courtroom – Mr. Lickley’s failure to suggest any motive.

Junior Counsel and Joanna’s last Friday

Darragh Bellew
On 13th October 2011 it was the turn of junior prosecution barrister Nicholas Rowland to conduct the jury at Vincent Tabak’s trial through the first prosecution witnesses and a succession of witness statements. Jurors saw clips from CCTV showing Darragh Bellew and Joanna leaving their office on Park St. after work on 17th December 2010 and using a cashpoint before walking on to the Bristol Ram pub.

Darragh Bellew, a landscape architect, told the jury that Joanna had bought him a pint that evening. Asked by Mr. Rowland whether she left before the other drinkers, he explained, “She would always leave before most of us - when we would go on drinking she would go to be with Greg (her boyfriend) really.” Asked whether she had been drunk, Darragh Bellew replied: “Not at all, just jovial, her usual self.” He had asked her what she had planned for the weekend, and gathered that she was going to bake some cakes and bread “because Greg was away”. She had joked and said she was going to bring them in to the office on the Monday morning.

Mr. Rowland did not cross-examine any of the day’s other prosecution witnesses, Peter Lindsell, Father George Harwood, Florian Lehman and Harry Walker.

Counsel cross-examines the Home Office pathologist

Dr. Russell Delaney
17th October 2011 (day 6): Mr. Lickley read out extracts from the defendant’s “enhanced” statement dated 22nd September 2011. “Vincent Tabak killed Joanna Yeates by grabbing her around the throat after she began screaming, but he had not meant to seriously harm her. He claims he held a hand around her throat for about 20 seconds, using no more than ‘moderate force’. According to the defendant, she had begun to scream after he put an arm around her back. He put a hand over her mouth and the screaming stopped. Vincent Tabak said he removed his hand, and Yeates began to scream again. He claims he then put his hand around her neck.”

“The mechanism of death as best the defendant can recall was as follows. The two were facing each other. He put one arm around her back with his hand in the middle of her back and she screamed. He put the other hand over her mouth, which caused the noise of the scream to cease. He removed the hand from the mouth and the screaming continued. He put the hand around the throat. He believes it was the one from behind her back. He held it for about 20 seconds. He applied no more than moderate force. He did not intend death or serious injury.”

Mr. Lickley asked the Home Office pathologist Russell Delaney about Vincent Tabak’s claim that he held Joanna Yeates’s throat “for about 20 seconds”. Dr. Delaney said: “That period of time would be long enough to result in her death.”

Counsel cross-examines Joanna’s boyfriend

Greg Reardon
17th October 2011 (day 6): Cross-examining Greg Reardon, Mr. Lickley asked what Joanna and he had done for lunch on the day she died. Her boyfriend said they shared a portion of cheesy chips and Cola in the Hope and Anchor pub in Jacob’s Wells Road, Clifton, and discussed the new boots she wanted to buy. (according to Isobel Webster, Sky News). Counsel asked what her plans for the weekend had been, and was told that she had said she would finish her Christmas shopping and do some baking in preparation for the get-together they had planned.

Prosecutor Nigel Lickley QC said: “Having found her coat and her phone and her boots, what were you beginning to think?” Greg replied: “I had a certain level of stress.”

Around 11 p.m. he checked inside Joanna’s blue rucksack and found her glasses, sunglasses, wallet and flat keys. There was also the multi-coloured striped top he had last seen her wearing. Mr. Lickley asked: “What did you think then?” Greg said: “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.”

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.

The defendant’s boss

Dr. Shrikant Sharma
The only witness who had known Vincent Tabak well prior to the killing was his team leader at the Bath headquarters of the global architectural consultancy Buro Happold where he had been head-hunted even before his doctoral thesis was completed, Dr. Shrikant Sharma, whose witness statement was read to the court on the sixth day of the trial (17th October 2011). The fact that Counsel made no attempt to call this witness in person to ask him whether Vincent Tabak were “a crazy, detached person” who had shown any signs of sudden rages or any tendency to molest female colleagues suggests that he already knew that the answer to both questions would be “No”. Mr Lickley would claim that Vincent Tabak is a manipulative, deceitful liar, yet he made no attempt to seek corroboration for these strongly negative allegations from this witness, nor give him a chance to explain why Dr. Sharma was happy to employ such a person.

Cheesy chips and Cola

Dr. Jennifer Miller
On 18th October 2011 the Prosecution called Dr. Jennifer Miller, director at Northlight Heritage, Glasgow, to testify. She had been hired to analyse sample the contents of the stomach and the intestines of Joanna Yeates. Was this to prevent these from being analysed by the defence team’s pathologist? Dr Miller said she was trying to identify when Joanna experienced trauma, or died, which would have stopped her digestive system working. Dr. Miller stated that Joanna’s last meal had been the portion of cheesy chips that she had shared with her boyfriend Greg Reardon during their lunch break on the 17th December 2010. Dr. Miller told the court that it was very likely that death or severe trauma occurred within 8 to 10 hours of Joanna’s meal.

Joanna could not have died less than 8 hours after this comparatively modest meal, so Dr. Miller could not have found any traces of the half-portion of cheesy chips (with Cola) left in the stomach. By telling the court that this had been Joanna’s last meal, Dr. Miller implied that she had found the stomach empty, and therefore her knowledge about the cheesy chips and Cola came, not from her own forensic analysis, but solely from Greg Reardon’s own testimony. Yet she did not actually state explicitly that she had found nothing in the stomach. Mr. Lickley did not cross-examine her to clarify this point.

There was no need for Dr. Miller to mention the pizza that Joanna had bought, as the court would learn that Vincent Tabak had returned to the flat to steal it after removing Joanna’s body, and had subsequently thrown it into a rubbish container, still in its packaging. So this prosecution witness contributed nothing to the jury’s knowledge of the case.

Lyndsey Farmery
The Longwood Lane Google

A & S Constabulary’s “IT Expert” Lyndsey Farmery testified on the eighth day of the trial (19th October 2011) to the identity of a succession of web sites that Vincent Tabak was alleged to have viewed before and after the death of Joanna Yeates. However it was Mr. Lickley who called out the dates on which the defendant allegedly viewed these sites - and he was not under oath. This was not the only occasion in this “show trial” when Counsel used this trick of showmanship to mislead the court without their being aware of it.

The so-called evidence of “bad character”

The Counsel for the Prosecution was positively panting to pontificate about porn and prostitutes. He had done so for the first time on 5th May 2011 at the Old Bailey, where the journalists must have listened eagerly and noted the details. The judge Mr. Justice Field, however, had pretended to reject the “evidence” of bad character as inadmissible.

At the time of jury selection, but before the jury had been sworn in, probably on 5th October 2011, Mr. Lickley made a second application for jury to hear the “evidence” of the defendant’s viewing of legal adult pornography. This too was rejected by the judge. Mr. Lickley is believed to have made a third, unsuccessful application on 19th October, just prior to his double-act with the “IT expert”.

At some stage, probably at the start of the day’s proceedings on 25th October 2011, with the jury sent out of the court, Counsel for the Prosecution argued at some length for his application to cross-examine the accused about his interest in prostitutes. The Judge, Mr. Justice Field, accepted Counsel for the Defence’s arguments against this application, reportedly on the basis that this could prejudice the jury, enabling the defendant to claim an unfair trial. The judge rejected the application. If there was one person who displayed a preoccupation with sex in Court, it was the prosecutor Nigel Lickley QC – who by his protracted arguments in camera to demonize Vincent Tabak deceitfully manipulated the media and the entire British public into wrongly believing that there was something unusual and perverse about the man who had been convicted. Why was Vincent Tabak’s girlfriend not called to give evidence testifying to her boyfriend’s alleged strangulation fetish, or to deny that he had any such thing? She was never in Court, nor did she give any evidence. The absence of sworn statements from any of the prostitutes that Vincent Tabak was alleged to have patronized also demonstrate that there was no evidence of anything unnatural about the defendant’s sexuality.

One of the very significant things that the pathologist Dr. Russell Delaney told the Court was that Joanna Yeates had not been raped. Despite this evidence that her death was not related to a sexual assault, the Prosecution tried to present the discovery on Vincent Tabak’s computer of legal downloaded adult pornographic videos and the log of his viewing of legal online pornographic videos as evidence that Vincent Tabak had moved from being “observer to participator” and killed Joanna Yeates. The Judge sent the jury out of the courtroom while the Counsel for the Prosecution presented his arguments. However, he allowed the press to listen to these arguments -- but not to report them before the end of the trial. Was it the media that were the intended target of these arguments, rather than the court itself?

“His respectable outward life was a lie”
“Prosecutors in the case believe Vincent Tabak’s fixation on hardcore pornography helps to make the case that this was a sex crime. They feel that his research on and suspected use of prostitutes shows that his respectable outward life was a lie. Presumably none of these prosecutors is ever tempted to watch any of the pornography with which the internet is awash, nor visit prostitutes while on professional assignments away from home. It was so sanctimonious, contrived and phoney. Pornography, by definition, is about sex, but often, as in the videos described by the prosecution, includes other activities accompanying the actual sexual intercourse, to help maintain the viewer’s interest. But the jury and the general public were allowed to believe that Joanna Yeates’s death was a straight killing unaccompanied by sex. TV channels are full of prime-time films containing scenes in which men and women are depicted as being brutally killed, sometimes by strangulation, without sexual intercourse. These are viewed openly and discussed in pubs by a very large proportion of the population, and it is much more likely that these kinds of films could very well have inspired the killer of Joanna Yeates.

Counsel did not mention that the adult pornographic scenes depicting strangulation, blondes tied up in car boots etc. allegedly on Vincent Tabak’s computer were the result of searches he had made after he became aware that his next door neighbour was reported to have suffered that fate. It was nothing more than natural curiosity. Some of the websites containing these lurid videos may even have opened automatically without any intention on Vincent Tabak’s part, as it is not uncommon for the designers of all kinds of websites to earn extra money by triggering the opening of further windows promoting something else entirely.

Counsel’s very extensive account of the pornographic material demonstrates his habit and that of Avon & Somerset Constabulary of twisting the facts to fit what they want other people to believe. The Court had already been told that Joanna Yeates had not been subject to sexual assault, but that she had received 43 injuries in her vain efforts to avoid being strangled. For Vincent Tabak to have moved from being “observer to participator”, inspired by the videos that Counsel described, Joanna Yeates would have had to have consented to sex with Vincent Tabak, both clothed and unclothed, with both consensual violence and bondage, and would have asked to be strangled! If any evidence had been found that Joanna Yeates had had consensual sexual intercourse with Vincent Tabak or anyone else before being strangled, then it is obvious that a Prosecutor anxious to elicit the truth would have had that evidence produced in Court. That he did not even ask either the pathologists nor the defendant himself suggests that he already knew the answer, and that he did not want the Court to hear it.

Mr. Lickley’s preoccupation with linking strangulation to sex suggests that he had Daniel Lancaster’s manslaughter defence very much in mind.

The police had allegedly also found evidence on his computer that Vincent Tabak had watched legal online porn on the morning of the day Joanna Yeates was last seen alive. On this basis, even journalists writing for the serious media would luridly describe him as being a porn fan with a fascination for submission, bondage, gagging, degradation, abuse and violence against females. Their competence as journalists must be called into question if they are not aware that all these ingredients are commonplace fantasy features of everyday internet pornography.

Cross-examination of the defendant

20th October 2011: Prompted by Counsel for the Defence, Vincent Tabak began the first day of his testimony from the witness box by giving the court his account of events on the evening of Joanna Yeates’s death and during the following weeks. He confirmed that, when he was first remanded into custody after being charged with Joanna Yeates’s murder, he was placed on prison suicide watch. Vincent Tabak – who claimed to have been drinking vodka to calm his nerves – said: “I was in a state of total despair. I just clung on and decided not to do anything.” He told the court that it was his love for Tanja that got him through.

In his cross-examination of the innocent and vulnerable academic, Nigel Lickley QC unleashed all his personal frustrations as a failed politician on the hapless defendant, treating him as if he were a political rival in the chamber of the House of Commons. There were no limits to the manipulative deceitfulness of his questions.

Mr. Lickley said: “We heard for the first time yesterday that this case had a sexual element to it. We heard yesterday that you went to kiss Miss Yeates. That is sexual contact.” 

Vincent Tabak replied: “I don’t agree.” 

Mr Lickley said: “You were, in fact, thinking of more... having kisses and kisses and kisses... thinking of having sex with Joanna Yeates.”

Vincent Tabak replied: “No, I wasn’t.”

Nigel Lickley QC dismissed the defendant’s claims of remorse. He told Vincent Tabak: “You were very calculating, dishonest, and manipulative. And if you were like it after this event, you were like it before and during – and even today.” Mr. Lickley also asserted that his crime was sexually motivated – asking Vincent Tabak if he ever though about having sex with Joanna.

Vincent Tabak denied the accusation – claiming he just wanted to stop at kissing.

Mr. Lickley continued: “Had you pulled her top up? Had you touched her breast? Is that what made her scream?”

Vincent Tabak again shook his head and said: “Definitely not.”

But Mr Lickley repeated his accusation that Tabak was “calculated” and said the defendant had shown “callous disregard” for his girlfriend’s feelings – manipulating her after the death. He said: “You manipulated her feelings to make her feel sorry for you. As you will see there is one text where she is hurrying home so you are not home alone because ‘there is a killer on the loose in Clifton’. That killer was you. There was callous disregard for her feelings.”

Mr. Lickley then asked Vincent Tabak about what he and Tanja Morson did between arriving home at 2.00 a.m. on Saturday 18th December 2010 and going to bed at 3.00 a.m. “What were you doing between 2.00 a.m. and 3.00 a.m.? Did you have sex?,” he asked.

Vincent Tabak replied: “No, I don’t think so but I cannot exactly remember what we were doing.”

Mr. Lickley asked: “But you don’t rule it out?”

The judge, Mr. Justice Field, did not react to Counsel’s intrusive line of questioning. If Mr. Lickley really thought it important for the jury to know the answer to this question, he would have called Tanja Morson to testify. Why did he not put the more obvious question to this defendant whom he insisted was a liar? – “You were thinking about having sex with Joanna that evening; did you actually have sex with her?”

The night after Joanna Yeates’s death, Vincent Tabak went to a friend’s birthday party with Tanja Morson, celebrating the occasion with champagne. “Twenty-four hours after killing that young woman you were drinking a glass of champagne,” Mr. Lickley said.

21st October 2011: On his second day in the witness box, Vincent Tabak was visibly stressed and agitated as he was further cross-examined by Nigel Lickley QC. He was accused of trying to sexually assault Joanna by pulling up her top and groping her breasts. He shook his head in response to most of Mr. Lickley’s questions.

Mr Lickley suggested to him that his attack was sexually motivated. The prosecutor asked: “How can you make a pass at someone that is not sexual? To kiss a woman on the mouth is a sexual act is it not? When you decided to make a pass at Joanna Yeates you had sexual activity on your mind. Was the holding of her throat by you sexual in your mind? Were you sexually aroused when you held her throat? Did you derive sexual gratification from holding her throat?”

Vincent Tabak replied: “No, definitely not.”

Joanna Yeates with her cat
Mr Lickley suggested that Joanna Yeates had only mentioned the cat because Vincent Tabak, rather than being waved at by her as he passed her kitchen window, had knocked on her door and claimed that the pet had got into his apartment.

Tabak denied this and added: “The cat was not in my flat. That was not why I came to her door.”

Mr Lickley asserted: “She showed no interest in you at all.”

Vincent Tabak insisted: “She showed interest – she invited me in.”

Mr Lickley retorted: “That’s not showing interest – that’s being neighbourly. This was a sexual attack by you – and part of that involved strangling her. And you wanted to kill her.”

Vincent Tabak insisted: “Definitely not true.”

But Mr Lickley continued: “That’s what you did. Despite her best efforts to fight you off, that is what happened. At the very least, you wanted to cause her serious harm.”

Vincent Tabak claimed: “I unlawfully killed her, Yes – but with no intent.”

Vincent Tabak told the jury that he was in a “state of panic, stress and turmoil” after he had strangled Joanna Yeates.

But Mr Lickley told the jury that Vincent Tabak’s action showed he was anything but stressed, and, turning to the defendant, asserted: “You were able to mask all that inner turmoil from the 17th December 2010 onwards. You continued to manipulate people up until your arrest.”

When the defendant said he could not recall other elements of his conversation with Joanna, Mr Lickley said: “That’s your answer to a lot of my questions isn’t it? ‘I can’t remember’.”

After Vincent Tabak claimed he could not remember how he came to injure his arm, the prosecutor responded: “’– Or you won’t remember.”

The prosecution suggested that he must have forced Jo Yeates against something as he throttled her. The court was again shown pictures of Joanna Yeates’s bruised body. Nigel Lickley QC asked the defendant: “Tell the jury what Joanna was doing. If your hand was over her mouth as you have shown, then surely all she had to do was back away from you? Or was she up against something? What was she up against? You were there, Vincent Tabak.”

Vincent Tabak meekly replied: “I can’t remember.”

Mr Lickley: “Did she get away at one point? Your hand was moving because she was moving.”

By putting this question, Counsel for the Prosecution hinted that he was aware that Joanna may have fled from the flat, clutching one sock, after struggling with her assailant. No blood was found in the flat. Vincent Tabak replied that he couldn’t remember seeing her wounds, and insisted there had been no struggle.

Mr Lickley said that if there had been no struggle, “all she had to do was back away from you unless you had her up against something. Was it a wall? Was it the floor?”

Vincent Tabak said: “Definitely not, no.”

Mr Lickley continued: “What was her head against?”

Vincent Tabak again insisted: “I can’t remember,” and insisted he had not been aware of the injuries seen on Joanna Yeates in a mortuary photograph. As the image of Joanna’s body lying in a foetal position was shown on  court screens, Mr Lickley asked Vincent Tabak: “Is that what she looked like on your spare bedroom floor? You won’t accept responsibility for her injuries. You were there in the last moments of her life. She did not do that  to herself.” Pointing out Joanna Yeates’s T-shirt and bra, he added: “You moved  her clothing, Vincent Tabak, pulled up her top. Is that what made  her scream?” Mr Lickley also timed a 20-second silence in the courtroom to illustrate the time Vincent Tabak is said to have held on to Joanna Yeates’s throat before she died. He then told the alleged murderer: “You knew full well what you were doing when you strangled that woman to death.”

Mr Lickley told the defendant that he must have known that his actions would have killed Joanna. “You know don’t you Vincent Tabak that if you hold someone around the throat it stops them breathing. What’s likely to happen? You knew that Jo was either going to suffer serious injury or die, didn’t you?”

Vincent Tabak claimed he just wanted to stop her screaming and replied: “Definitely not.”

Mr. Lickley referred to Vincent Tabak’s internet searches after the killing, which included him looking up manslaughter and murder.

Vincent Tabak said he had “apparently” searched the subjects, but could not remember doing so.

Mr Lickley asked him why he searched online for the definition of sexual assault and sexual conduct.

Vincent Tabak replied: “I think I was a bit worried if my pass at her would be seen as sexual conduct. I was not sure what a sexual offence meant.”

Vincent Tabak admitted that when police interviewed him in Holland on New Year’s Eve he misled them and he conceded he had tried to implicate his landlord, Christopher Jefferies, to distance himself from the killing. Repeatedly, Vincent Tabak said that after strangling Joanna Yeates with a single hand he was exhausted, in a state of turmoil, stress and panic. He said he could not recall how she received the catalogued 43 injuries to her head, torso and limbs, and denied she screamed out in her flat that night because he pulled her top up. Tabak was adamant that there had been no struggle, and could not recall if Joanna Yeates collided with anything which may have injured her. Once again, Vincent Tabak apologised for what he had done. He said: “I was not intending to kill her. I’m very sorry for Joanna’s parents and for Greg. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I feel sorry for what I did to her and my family.” Again, Vincent Tabak said Joanna Yeates had not resisted him.

Mr Lickley said: “That’s a lie.”

Vincent Tabak replied: “There was no struggle.”

Mr Lickley said Vincent Tabak could not bring himself to admit that he had sexually attacked Joanna Yeates, and Vincent Tabak said it was “definitely not true”.

He said: “I killed her, yes, but not intentionally. There was no struggle. I didn’t intend to cause her serious harm. I killed her, yes, but there was no intention.”

The closing speech for the Prosecution

Counsel for the Prosecution began his closing speech on 25th October 2011 by claiming that every second the defendant held Joanna “frightened and in pain” showed a “determination to kill”.

He claimed that DNA evidence found on Joanna’s chest meant the defendant may have pulled her top up and fondled her breasts either before, during or after the attack - not mentioning that the defendant had disputed the validity of this partial DNA evidence, which was unsound.

Describing the defendant as “calculating, cunning, shrewd and callous”, Mr. Lickley alleged that he had stuck her body in the boot of his car and driven to Asda in order to give himself an alibi. It did not occur to the court that the defendant would have driven to Tesco if it was an alibi he wanted, but that parking was easy in Bedminster and impossible in Clifton Village. The jury were no longer surprised when Mr. Lickley reminded them that the defendant about this time had twice texted his girlfriend affectionately, telling her that he was bored.

In the following weeks, said Counsel, the defendant led a double life, drinking champagne at dinner parties, and repeatedly lying about his actions to his girlfriend, family, police and even his legal defence and the jury – answering “I can’t remember” more than 80 times during his trial.

Emphasizing what he alleged was Vincent Tabak’s “murderous intent”, Mr. Lickley told the jury, “Twenty seconds, ladies and gentleman, is a long time. It is a long time when you have your hands around the throat of another person. And you squeeze and squeeze and squeeze. Every second ladies and gentleman is a continued determination to kill. The significant injuries mean there was a struggle. The grip marks to the wrists and bruises to her arms as he tried to control her. Why does he not accept there was a struggle? To accept it means Vincent Tabak overcame her. That means he knew what he was doing. He knew she would die if he held her throat for long enough and – coupled with a second hand smothering her – he did. He knew she was frightened. He knew she could not breathe and was in pain. But instead of letting her go and releasing his grip he carried on and on and on, until she went limp in his hands. Her life was extinguished.”

The earrings that Joanna Yeates’s boyfriend said he
had found in the bedroom of their flat convinced
Mr. Lickley that the attack had taken place there
Mr Lickley claimed that the earrings found by Joanna’s boyfriend in the bedroom of their flat suggested that the attack, in part, took place there. He did not mention that the court only had Greg Reardon’s word for the placing of those earrings, nor that the complete absence of blood spatter showed that Joanna could not have been killed in the flat.

The attack, Counsel alleged, was sexually motivated. Despite Vincent Tabak’s desperate protestations to the contrary, this conclusion was linked to his Google searches surrounding the definition of sexual offences in the wake of Joanna’s killing. But the court only had Mr. Lickley’s word for these Google searches, and he was not under oath. The so-called IT-expert, who was under oath, had testified only to the identity of each of the web sites she had displayed for the jury.

Mr Lickley told the jury that two piercing screams heard at around the same time of the killing were too hard to ignore. He also insisted that the allegations about Joanna Yeates’s flirty comment to Vincent Tabak, and his intent to kiss her, had only emerged last week, were more evidence of his trying to hide the truth.

Mr. Lickley was probably thinking of Daniel Lancaster as he told the jury that in some cases of asphyxiation, the perpetrator could get a sexual thrill from throttling his victim. He “forgot” to tell them that sexual intercourse was necessary to achieve this thrill (as in the case of Anna Banks). Nobody has ever suggested that Joanna consented to actual sexual intercourse with Vincent Tabak that evening – nor did Mr. Lickley ever ask the defendant the obvious question, “Did you have sex with her?”

“Why does Vincent Tabak not accept it was sexual?” demanded the obsessive Counsel for the Prosecution. “It is sexual if you went to kiss someone in that way. He denies it but he still wanted to do it. This is a killing linked to sex. It took a while to emerge but it has done finally. He won’t go there ladies and gentleman. He won’t admit it was sexual, but we suggest it was. If it were you who just misread any signal, you would just walk away.”

After the attack on Joanna, Mr Lickley claimed that Tabak ate her pizza – calmly switched off her oven and television – before driving to Asda to give himself an alibi. Vincent Tabak had admitted to the police that had eaten pizza for tea that night. “Vincent Tabak took it, as he took one of her socks. Why he took it, only he can say. Was it to eat after the incident?”

Welcome to Mr. Nigel Lickley’s fantasy world, ladies and gentleman – just leave your commonsense at home when you enter this court!

Counsel asserted that Vincent Tabak then lied to his loved ones, covering his tracks until he was finally snared by DNA evidence. It was phoney DNA evidence, actually!

Mr Lickley told the court: “Vincent Tabak is very clever. He is intelligent and highly educated. He studies how people use buildings and sports stadiums. This is a man who can tell you what happened – but there is another side to him. He is dishonest, he is deceitful and he is a liar. We suggest he has not told you the truth.”

No one gets a Ph.D by being dishonest and deceitful. Vincent Tabak was one of the last people in that courtroom who could be so cruelly described. But how many people in that courtroom would refrain from lying, if told it was their only hope of getting a 2 year sentence instead of a 20 year one for a crime they had not committed?

The prosecutor suggested that one example of Vincent Tabak’s deceit was his suggestion that he had moved the body into the bedroom after killing her in the kitchen. Mr Lickley claimed this was an attempt to hide the fact that part of the attack had happened there. “That is just one example of what we are calling cunning manipulation on his part. He is, when he chooses to be, very calculating. Making decisions, covering his tracks. There is a word for it – that is shrewd.”

Again, he accused Vincent Tabak of having been “calculating” in the months after the killing – lying continuously in emails to his girlfriend and family. But Tabak began to slip up, claimed Counsel – changing his story over and over again as more evidence emerged.

Mr Lickley cited Vincent Tabak’s first defence statements as examples of how details of the killing were withheld by Tabak – right up until the trial. “He showed a callous disregard for their feelings because it suited him. He’s not just like that after the events. If he was like it after he was like it before and he was like it during. He has planned his case. He has planned it to fit and it has changed. The flirting was not mentioned. The fact that he thought Jo Yeates was interested in him – not mentioned. The intent to kiss – not mentioned. The fact that it happened in the kitchen – not mentioned. Moving the body into the bedroom – not mentioned. The killing taking place after the 9.30 p.m. text message – not mentioned.”

Mr Lickley said the lies were spun in an attempt to hide one thing – Vincent Tabak’s guilty intention to murder. “The time he took demonstrates that intention. The intent to not let her get away. An intention to murder. It was long enough to kill that young woman and long enough to prove to you what his intention was at that time.”
– based on the report in SWNS

Counsel for the Prosecution failed to explain to the jury why the tall, strong defendant should apparently have made so little serious effort to rape the petite, vulnerable victim, and what, in that case, his motive could have been for committing something as dreadful as murder. But with William Clegg QC defending the accused, Mr. Lickley did not have to try very hard nor argue very logically.

Cryptic about his concerns

Child abuse
At several stages during the trial that have not been reported directly by the media, after the judge refused to allow Mr. Lickley to cross-examine the defendant about the “bad character evidence”, Counsel for the Prosecution applied in vain to the judge to prevent the lifting of reporting restrictions. He explained that the police were carrying out further inquiries into material found on Vincent Tabak’s hard discs. He admitted that he had to be cryptic about his concerns. There can be no other explanation than that he was referring to the police’s obviously phoney allegations about illegal images of child abuse.