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 Lying Dutchman

The kiss that went wrong

Counsel for the
Nigel Lickley QC
Counsel for the Defence
William Clegg QC
Not once during the six and a half days when they were treated to Counsel for the Prosecution’s melodramatic presentation of their case did the jury hear any mention of a motive for the murder of Joanna Yeates. Not until William Clegg QC opened the case for the Defence on 19th October 2011 was any motive suggested to them. This was the tall, strongly-built Vincent Tabak’s purported attempt to stop Miss Yeates from screaming, after a misjudged attempt to kiss her. The jury did not, in the end, accept this explanation for the sequence of events, nor the unlikely motive. They would let themselves be tricked into finding the defendant guilty without a motive, despite the conspicuous failure of either QC to present any evidence of the defendant’s character.

Joanna Yeates
Journalist Andrew Gregory
Both the Prosecution case and the Defence case were closely based on the defendant’s “enhanced statement” that he had reluctantly signed on 22nd September 2011. This was based very closely on a theory advanced nine months earlier by unidentified detectives to journalists Andrew Gregory and Richard Smith, who had reported it in The Mirror, 11th January 2011 – nine days before Vincent Tabak had even been arrested. This curious scenario was the nearest the police ever got to an explanation for why they thought Joanna had been killed. It had diverted public interest away from the love-triangle involving her boyfriend and an unknown lover that journalists clearly suspected was behind Joanna’s death. It had all the appearance of having been contrived by the police to fit up the scapegoat they had in mind. By adopting it, the defence lawyers Ian Kelcey and William Clegg QC showed that they were following the prosecution’s instructions. It did not even fit the facts. Having already served nine months on remand, the wretched defendant had felt honour bound to mount an amazing, theatrical performance in court in the desparate hope of getting out of prison again within a couple of years, fuelled by the bait that his defence had held out to him and the stick that his girlfriend could be humiliatingly hauled into court as both an accomplice and a witness.

Journalist Richard Smith
Joanna Yeates’s boyfriend,
Greg Reardon, outside
Bristol Crown Court
Opening his case for the Defence on 19th October 2011, Mr. Clegg asserted that the defendant had made eye contact with Joanna Yeates, accepted her invitation to enter her flat, chatted for about 10 minutes, tried to kiss her, and strangled her in a clumsy attempt to silence her unexpected screams. It is unlikely many other people would accept Mr. Clegg’s scenario. It depends on Tanja’s car having been parked on the road instead of in the private car park beside Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson’s flat. Neither the defendant nor Mr. Clegg offered an explanation of why it had been parked on the road.

Instructing solicitor
Ian Kelcey
Vincent Tabak’s girlfriend
Tanja Morson
Furthermore the natural reaction to such a scream would be either to put a hand over her mouth, or withdraw as quickly as possible. This explanation of events is the clearest possible evidence for the betrayal of Vincent Tabak by his own defence team, since there was no forensic evidence to show that he ever went into Joanna Yeates’s flat, nor she into his. Neither Joanna Yeates’s boyfriend nor her parents reported seeing any blood from her nose nor her mouth in her flat, although the smear of her blood on the wall in Longwood Lane that was made quite a long time after her death shows that she must have bled markedly at the time and place of her death. The invention of the episode of the kiss that went wrong secured Vincent Tabak’s conviction. To many of the questions about this episode put by Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC, the accused answered, “I don’t remember”. A killer would normally remember every detail of his deed, though Vincent Tabak may have been subject to memory-erasing drugs during his stay in prison, and he may have also been subject to false memory syndrome, to help him tell the court about the details of a killing that he had not done - details that did not even fit the facts.

Landlord Christopher Jefferies
People Flow Analyst
Vincent Tabak
Vincent Tabak is just as unlikely a murderer as his landlord Christopher Jefferies (but the jury was not told this). The court was packed when he went into the witness box on 20th October 2011 and took the oath before being cross-examined by Counsel for the Defence. Mr. Clegg asked him about his life in the Netherlands and his career. It was the only time anyone in England heard him speak at length in public. He is a very quiet, introspective man, who had never had a steady girlfriend before 2008, when he took out a subscription to The Guardian’s dating site Soulmates, which brought his first stable, loving relationship. Gripping the sides of the witness box, he told the jury that he grew up in a small provincial town with his parents, three elder sisters and an elder brother, and had left school at the age of 18 to study at nearby Eindhoven University. After seven years he had completed his Masters degree in Architecture, and then spent a further five years researching the movement of people in large buildings for his Ph.D. Before this was quite finished, he had been offered and taken a position as a People Flow Analyst at the headquarters of global architectural consultancy Buro Happold in Bath, in September 2007. This was the only time in the entire show trial that the jury heard anything positive about his background, his character and his educational and professional achievements. According to The Guardian’s Steven Morris (28th October 2011), Vincent Tabak had no criminal record and said in the witness box that he had never been in a police station before his arrest.

44 Canynge Road, Clifton
The defendant had difficulty in maintaining his composure when Mr. Clegg questioned him about his girlfriend, Tanja Morson. She was never in court, even though The Mail had reported: “She has emerged as a crucial witness” when he was first charged. Vincent Tabak told the court that they had started dating in November 2008, and moved together for the first time into the larger ground-floor flat at 44 Canynge Road in June 2009. He asserted that the sound insulation in the house was very good and they never heard any sounds from the other flats in the building. Since his firm sent him to California for five weeks in November and December 2010, Joanna Yeates had been his neighbour for only 17 days and he had had no contact with her.

Buro Happold headquarters in Bath
Counsel for the Defence asked him about the day his neighbour was killed. Vincent Tabak gripped the sides of the dock for support as he recounted how he and his girlfriend had texted one another while she was on her way to her work at Dyson in Malmesbury, adding that they kept in touch that way whenever they were apart. The defendant had cycled to Temple Meads Station and travelled by train to his work in Bath, where he was busy analyzing the flow of pilgrims for a big Buro Happold architectural project at the Holy Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. By the time he got home that day, after 7.00 p.m., Tanja had already left for her staff Christmas party. A few minutes later he went out again with his camera to try to capture some photos of Bristol under snow, but soon returned without taking any pictures because the snow looked dirty. He surfed the internet, watched TV, got himself a meal and drank a beer. At 9.25 p.m., in a message to his girlfriend, Vincent Tabak sent a text that read: “Missing you loads, it is boring here without you Vxx.” He told the court that this was before he drove to Asda.

An uncredited actress playing Joanna Yeates seen
through her kitchen windowin the BBC “Crimewatch” 
reconstruction. This was not shot at 44 Canynge Road.
Mr. Clegg asked him How soon after sending that message did you leave your flat?

Vincent Tabak replied: I think within minutes. He claimed that, when he left, he walked past flat 1, setting off the security light. The light inside Joanna’s kitchen was on. Vincent Tabak looked into the kitchen and saw Joanna there.

Feeling lonely and at a loose end, he decided to take Tanja’s car and drive out to Bedminster to buy himself some small treats. He claimed he could not remember the time when he left, so Mr. Clegg (who was not under oath) told him that it was 10.13 p.m. when he set off. He purchased beer, crisps and rock salt in Asda. He sent another text message to his girlfriend at 10.30 p.m.: “How are you. I am at Asda buying crisis (sic). I am bored cannot wait to pick you up.”

The path beside basement flat 1 at 44 Canynge Road,
showing the automatic security light
He alleged that Joanna had invited him into her flat some time after 9.25 p.m. “We talked about the fact that my girlfriend was away at her Christmas party, that I felt a bit lonely, a bit bored. She made a comment about the fact that her boyfriend Greg was also away that evening and she was also bored at home. We talked about the cat – her cat that had come into our flat once. She made some flirty comment that the cat ‘went into places he shouldn’t go – a bit like me’. We talked about Los Angeles. I had just come back from there. I said it was good fun – lots of sun – but that I was quite lonely there without Tanja.”

Mr. Clegg asked: “How long do you think the two of you spoke in her flat?”

Vincent Tabak replied: “Roughly ten minutes.”

Mr. Clegg continued: “Did you decide to do anything?”

Vincent Tabak replied: “Yes I did.”

Mr. Clegg again prompted: “What did you decide to do?”

Unable to say anything at first, Vincent Tabak replied, tearfully, after a pause to collect himself together: “I decided to make a pass at her. I thought I got the impression she wanted to kiss me.”

Inside Joanna’s flat
He then explained how he had squeezed her throat until she died. Vincent Tabak said: “I lent forward and I think I put one of my hands on her back and tried to kiss her. She started to scream – quite loudly. I panicked and put one of my hands over her mouth. I said something like: ‘I’m sorry, it’s ok, please stop’. He claimed that he had then pulled his hand away from her mouth – but that Jo let out another piercing scream. He said: ”I put one hand over her mouth and the other hand around her neck.”

Mr Clegg said: “Why did you do that?”

Tabak replied: “I was panicking – I wanted to stop her screaming.”

Mr Clegg enquired: “Did you intend to kill her? Did you intend to cause her really serious harm?”

To both questions the defendant replied more firmly: “No, definitely not,” continuing: “I had no intention of harming her in any way. I was just trying to calm her down to stop her screaming.”

Mr Clegg then got his client to close his eyes – to re-live the struggle – and estimate how long he held her neck for. Vincent Tabak claimed it was around 15 seconds before Jo went “limp” and fell to the floor.

Joanna Yeates’s bedroom
He then told the court that he had hauled Joanna’s body into her bedroom, where he deposited it on the bed, before heading back to his flat in “panic”. But he returned a short while later to carry Joanna’s corpse over to his flat – having to stop halfway and put her down because she was too heavy. He told the court that he had laid Joanna’s body in the hallway of his flat, then in the spare room – before stuffing her inside a bicycle cover. Obviously he had never actually moved a body, since even a small corpse is far harder to move than he made it sound, as any trained fire officer would be able to confirm.

Vincent Tabak alleged that he had then “snuk” back to Joanna’s neighbouring flat, switching off the oven and the TV, and scooping up her Tesco Finest pizza and a grey ski sock – which he claimed had come off when he moved her body – and that he took them back to his flat. “Snuk” is hardly a word that would be used by someone whose first language was not English, but who had learnt to speak English to a high level as a second language.

The residue of forensic chemicals in Joanna’s bathroom
Neither Mr. Clegg nor Mr. Lickley asked the defendant how one of the earrings that Joanna had been wearing came to be on her bed and the other underneath some clothes on the floor.

Mr. Clegg asked him Vincent Tabak why he had bothered to return to steal the pizza and the sock. He answered that he was not thinking straight. Mr. Clegg did not ask “Why the pizza, rather than anything else in the flat?” nor “How could you know that the pizza was the last thing that Joanna had purchased?” This shows that he was anxious only to fit his client’s actions into the Prosecution’s scenario.

Nor did either Counsel say anything that would lead the jury to speculate about why they had heard no evidence of any blood stains at any of the many places where the defendant claimed he had successively laid the bloodied body. They had seen for themselves the residue of forensic chemicals in Joanna’s bathroom, though nothing had been said in Court about the massive search at 44 Canynge Road – yet the lawyers succeeded in diverting the jurors’ minds away from the obvious conclusion that no forensic evidence at all had been found at the house, and that the Dutchman must therefore have been lying about the entire sequence of events.

The boot of the silver Renault Megane
He had then crammed the body into back of his silver Renault Megane – which he had moved onto the drive of 44 Canynge Road and defrosted – before driving to Asda at 10.13 p.m. While at the store in Bedminster, Bristol, he bought crisps, rock salt and beer, and then texted his girlfriend Tanja, saying he was bored.

Mr. Clegg asked the defendant why he had done this.

Vincent Tabak replied: “I was in a state of shock. Panic. Not believing what had happened – that I was responsible for a death.” Breaking down again he said: “I am so sorry. I just wanted to reach out to Tanja. To speak to her somehow – get support from her.”

Vincent Tabak was asked about his relationship with his girlfriend Tanja Morson. With his shoulders hunched, Tabak told how he met Miss Morson through internet dating.

Defence barrister William Clegg asked him if he had had any previous relationships.

“No,” Tabak replied.

“I still can’t believe I did that. I just didn’t know what to do – I was just in total shock.” Tabak then told the court that he went back to 44 Canynge Road, before driving back out to dump Joanna’s body a few minutes later. He said he headed in the direction of Bristol Airport and ended up in Longwood Lane, Failand – three miles from Clifton. The defendant told the court that he pulled her body out of the luggage compartment of the car and took it out of the bicycle cover. He claimed he tried to lift her over the wall – but found her too heavy. He also said that three cars drove past while he was in Longwood Lane. He said he panicked and left her by the side of the road – after making an attempt to cover her in leaves. Vincent Tabak told the court: “I did something horrendous. I decided to leave the body there.”

Mr. Clegg asked him about Joanna Yeates’s clothing being “rucked up”, exposing part of one breast. Vincent Tabak said it must have happened when he moved the body. He said traces of his DNA found on the outside of Joanna Yeates’s jeans and on her breast area must also be the result of him moving the body. He also confessed that he had known the police would always catch up with him, because he knew he was sweating and would have left DNA at the scene. He is lying again, as he had formally challenged the legitimacy of this enhanced, partial DNA match when he was questioned by police immediately after his arrest, and we know that he was right to do so. Furthermore forensic tests produced no traces of Joanna’s blood on the black coat the defendant was known to be wearing that evening, and the prosecution had had to make do with allegations not supported by any witness testimony about fibres from this coat on her body.

Vincent Tabak seen wearing his black coat alleged
to be the source of fibres found on Joanna Yeates’s
body. Note the blur at the lower left-hand corner
where the timestamp has been redacted.
(Source: frame from video captured by CCTV
in Asda, allegedly at a time between the death of
Joanna and the dumping of her body)
Vincent Tabak wept in court as he continued: “I am really sorry for being responsible for her death and I am sorry for putting her parents and Greg through a week of hell, not knowing where she was. I still can’t believe that I am capable of such an act – it will haunt me for the rest of my life, no matter what sentence I get. I should have called the police the moment she was dead. I had ample opportunity to call the police and I didn’t do it.”

Amanda Hirst, Director
of Corporate
Communications for
Avon & Somerset
He also said he felt wracked with guilt and suicidal after her death – and considered jumping off a bridge to kill himself in the month before he was finally arrested. “After we were back in Bristol, now staying with a friend of Tanja’s, I remember reading in one of the newspapers that they (the police) had found DNA, a sample of the DNA found on Joanna’s body, and I thought ‘that’s it’,” he told jurors. This is a reference to the article leaked by LGC Forensics to The Mail on 3rd January 2011 after a meeting the day before involving Amanda Hirst.

Vincent Tabak 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 serious quantities of 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.

Cross-examination by Counsel for the Prosecution

However, Nigel Lickley QC aggressively dismissed his claims of remorse. He told Vincent Tabak rudely: “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 thought about having sex with Jo.

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 Miss 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.

Mr. Justice Field
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.

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

Karen Thomas, the Detective Constable who
travelled to Holland to interview Vincent Tabak
The Detective Constable from Avon & Somerset Constabulary who travelled to Holland on 31st December 2010 to interview him and take a swab of his saliva testified in court that his sister and his girlfriend had fussed over him on that occasion – without mentioning that this was their reaction to the sudden realisation that he was being treated as a suspect. An academic man as shy of girls as Vincent Tabak would never have dared try to kiss Miss Yeates in the circumstances he described, no matter how “flirty” she might have been. Vincent Tabak’s implausible account in court of Joanna Yeates’s last moments bore all the signs of having been concocted in January 2011 by two Daily Mirror journalists and polished in September 2011 by his defence counsel William Clegg QC for consumption by a jury comprising men and women of average self-assertiveness.

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 aggressively 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.”

Mr Lickley suggested that Miss 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.”

Christopher Jefferies publicly denying on TV
that he had seen Joanna Yeates with
two other people
The defendant also confessed that he had misled the police in the days after Joanna’s killing – by giving them some information about Christopher Jefferies while the landlord was still a suspect. But Vincent Tabak the defendant was lying again, and this “micro-confession” was untrue, because he had in fact given the information in good faith, rather than with the intent to mislead. Had the landlord, during his arrest and interrogation, denied that he had moved his car during the night in question, both the prosecution and DC Karen Thomas would have been in a position to confront Vincent Tabak and the jury with this denial. But they never did. The Detective Constable had failed to tell the jury that most of the information volunteered by the defendant related to the landlord’s sightings of Joanna with two other people, which the defendant and his girlfriend knew about but had seen Christopher Jefferies publicly denying on TV. The jury never heard any testimony from Tanja Morson nor the landlord.

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.”

Daily Star journalist Jeremy Lawton
giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry
The complete lack of forensic evidence for Joanna Yeates’s strangulation having occurred in her flat was not consistent either with Vincent Tabak’s testimony about the kiss, nor with the testimony to the state of disorder that he alleged he found in the flat on his return from Sheffield given by her boyfriend in court. This disorder allegedly included the presence of one of the amethyst earrings she had been wearing the previous week lying under the duvet in the bedroom, and the other lying on the floor. He said that there was clothing, boots, shoes and general paraphernalia in the main walking path of the hallway. There were several coats on the floor, the boyfriend claimed, including one of his brown coats and two or three big items of clothing. Two broken pieces of plastic stood on a green pedestal in the hallway, with a pair of Joanna Yeates’s briefs on top. The boyfriend told the court that this was not the normal place they would be kept. The bin had not had any extra rubbish put into it since he had left two days previously. The receipt for the Tesco pizza and her outdoor clothes, bottles of cider, bag, glasses, keys, mobile telephone and wallet were inside the flat. How could a violent struggle with Vincent Tabak have caused all this disorder throughout the entire flat, resulting in Joanna Yeates’s death, if some of the blood from her right nostril got on to her hair, her watch strap, her T-shirt and the toe of her left sock, but none at all was shed on to anything in the flat? As an anonymous police source had speculated to The Daily Star’s Jerry Lawton (14th January 2011) a week before Vincent Tabak’s arrest, if it had really been he who had killed her, and if, furthermore, she had been killed in the flat, why risk exposure by driving the body several miles and dumping it, instead of just leaving it in the flat?

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 Joanna 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.” There is something almost surreal about the the Prosecutor’s hint of his insight into the last moments of Joanna, lost on nearly everyone else in court. She almost certainly did get away temporarily from her attacker – who was not, however, Vincent Tabak – and that is why 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.

Counsel never asked the question made obvious by this denial – How did her nose get broken then? 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 Miss 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.”

The heavy machinery needed to recover the body
The extent of the injuries to Joanna’s body were not disclosed to the public until the trial, so it is quite likely that the defendant’s claim to be unaware of them was truthful. It would have made no sense for him to plead guilty of manslaughter nor to sign the “enhanced statement” if his defence team had informed him that her injuries would be used as evidence of his intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was certainly unaware of the heavy machinery needed to recover the body and the likelihood that it was this process that had caused many of the injuries.

Cross-examination by Counsel for the Defence

Mr. Clegg: “Did you yourself have any injuries when you went to bed after the killing?”

Vincent Tabak: “None that I can remember.”

Mr. Clegg: “What was the exact time you had your hands around Joanna’s throat?”

Vincent Tabak: “I can’t remember.”

Mr. Clegg: “Where in the flat did she fall?”

Vincent Tabak: “I can’t remember.”

Mr. Clegg: “Is there any truth in the suggestions that you wanted to sexually assault Joanna?”

Vincent Tabak: “No – I thought she wanted to kiss me.”

Mr Clegg: “I am going through your defence statement. I want you to tell me whether it is true.”

Vincent Tabak: “It is.”

Mr. Clegg: “Whose decision was the amount of detail in the statement? – yours or the lawyers’?”

Vincent Tabak: “The lawyers”.

Mr. Clegg: “Did you intend to kill Joanna Yeates?”

Vincent Tabak: “No, I didn’t”

Those were the last words the public would ever hear from him. If he had exercised his legal right to silence, as any normal defence counsel would have advised him to do, then the Prosecution would have been quite unable to prove that he intended to kill Joanna. It is therefore clear that both Vincent Tabak and William Clegg deliberately set out to lose their case, for reasons that must have been extremely strong.