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 landlord who knew too much

“Joanna Yeates was depicted as a young, attractive, vulnerable, home-loving young woman... whose body was dumped callously by the side of the road... It was a readymade ‘Midsomer Murders’ script set in a respectable and leafy suburb. The search for a ‘depraved monster’ began. ‘I was the person’, according to the news media”

– Christopher Jefferies, 16th March 2012

44 Canynge Road, Clifton
The property at 44 Canynge Road used to belong to nearby Clifton College, who had converted it into flats for the use of teaching staff. When the school decided to sell the property in 1990, it offered it first to members of staff. Mr. Jefferies, head of the school’s English Department, bought it with money he had inherited from his mother. Christopher Jefferies had taught English at Clifton College from 1967 until 2001, when he retired.

Mr. Jefferies himelf lived in the larger of the two first floor flats. He was active in the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. He evidently took very seriously his task of keeping tabs on everyone, telling each of his tenants when the others were away, and of telling his neighbours about everything that went on too. Whether he had installed CCTV surveillance at 44 Canynge Road has never been reported.

Tanja Morson
Vincent Tabak (who worked for a global architectural consultancy, Buro Happold in Bath) and his girlfriend Tanja Morson moved into the larger of the two basement flats in June 2009. Their front door opened on to the path along the back of the house. Christopher Jefferies had been their landlord for 15 months by the time the smaller of the two basement flats was taken over by Joanna Yeates and her boyfriend Greg Reardon on 25th October 2010. Mr. Jefferies advertised this flat to let, and Joanna and her boyfriend turned up to view it on the same day that the advert had appeared. The newcomers were also architecture professionals. Their front door opened on to the path along the right-hand side of the house. Mr. Jefferies got to know Vincent Tabak well enough to realise that he was a very courteous, civilised person of irreproachible character. The top floor flat was occupied by another retired teacher, Geoffrey Hardyman, 78. The house contains three other flats whose occupants share a communal outside entrance with Mr Jefferies and Mr. Hardyman. One of these flats is occupied by a retired teacher called Denise Spence, who would tell a journalist from ITN that she was “absolutely shocked” about the fate of Joanna Yeates, in a brief TV interview on 26th December 2010. The residents of the other two flats have never been mentioned publicly.

Joanna Yeates
Greg Reardon
At 6.00 p.m. on 17th December 2010, Greg Reardon found that he could not start his car because its battery turned out to be flat. He asked the landlord Christopher Jefferies for help with starting it. As the landlord did not have any jump-leads of his own, he obligingly telephoned a mechanically-minded neighbour in the next house, engineer Peter Stanley, who came out with his own jump leads. He instructed the landlord to position one of his two cars so that its bonnet was close enough to the bonnet of the Ford Ka for the jump leads to reach. Peter Stanley owned a BMW and a Jeep. These two men were therefore able to confirm that Reardon had driven off towards Sheffield before 7.00 p.m.

Longwood Lane, where Joanna’s body was dumped
in Failand
Some minutes, hours or days after 8.45 p.m., Joanna was killed and her body dumped in Failand. There are strong indications that Joanna planned to spend part of what was to be her last weekend cheating on her boyfriend, that the police were aware that she had a lover very early on in their investigation, and that they have gone to great lengths to conceal this from the public and the jury. Her secret lover was probably an older married man in a position of influence, perhaps an architect. There are numerous signs that Christopher Jefferies knows a lot more about the case than he has revealed – it may even be he who introduced Joanna to her lover originally.

The drive at 44 Canynge Rd and the entrance
to the flats on the 1st & 2nd floors
In the course of Saturday, 18th December 2010, Christopher Jefferies asked Vincent Tabak for help with moving his car up the icy slope in the private car park associated with 44 Canynge Road and on to its drive, after heavy snow had fallen during the night. “That’s what neighbours are for!” replied the young man cheerfully to the older man’s thanks. Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson noticed that the landlord’s Volvo was facing the opposite direction from the evening before. It was parked facing the road. On the Friday evening it had been parked facing away from the road.

Towards midnight on Sunday, 19th December 2010, Greg Reardon rang round various friends of theirs in Bristol to ask them if Joanna were with them or if they could suggest where she might be. About 12.30 a.m. he tried to telephone the landlord, but Mr. Jefferies did not answer his phone.

The 2nd witness statement

The landlord told police he had been
aware of two or three people leaving
44 Canynge Rd by the gate to
Joanna’s front path (left)
Christopher Jefferies has told the Leveson Inquiry that on 21st December 2010, while Joanna was still a missing person, he gave a statement to the police, who were at that time taking statements from all the residents of 44 Canynge Road. He recounted that the police had told each of them that they should get back in touch if they subsequently remembered anything that could be material. That evening he remembered something he had not mentioned to the police that he thought could be material. He recalled that, as he was coming back from the gym one evening, which might have been Friday 17th December 2010 (the evening she disappeared), and was just walking through the gates of the main driveway, when he became aware of what sounded like two or maybe three people leaving by the side gate on the other side of the house (Joanna’s gate).

In statement to the Leveson Inquiry, he wrote that the intervening hedge and the darkness had prevented him from seeing the persons.

He telephoned the police during the evening of 21st December 2010 and told them about this incident. Is it really to be believed that a clear-thinking, responsible man like Mr. Jefferies could have overlooked such a crucial last sighting of his missing tenant the first time the detective had interviewed him? Was his action precipitated by discrepancies that he had noted between the account given in the police video of the public appeal that had just been released, featuring Joanna’s parents and boyfriend and Det. Supt. Mark Saunders, and his own observations? Had he recognised the two people with Joanna as Greg Reardon and her lover?

A video clip from Getty Images of a brief interview with
Detective Superintendant Mark Saunders
(a member of the Major Crime Investigation Team)
reveals a mobile incident room and a Police Support Group
vehicle parked apparently in Canynge Road only two days
after Joanna Yeates had been reported missing
The following day, 22nd December 2010, the police officer who had taken his first statement came to Mr. Jefferies’s flat and asked him if one of the people he had seen could have been a woman. He volunteered a second witness statement to the police. Mr. Jefferies never testified at the trial of Vincent Tabak, nor has either of his witness statements ever been made public. However, various conflicting accounts of the contents of his second statement did emerge, both at the time and subsequently at the Leveson Inquiry. He had allegedly told detectives in his statement that he had seen three people – one of whom he believed was Joanna – leaving her property shortly after 9.00 p.m. as he parked his car in the street.

He himself contributed to the muddying of the waters by subsequently casting doubt on the date when he believed this sighting had taken place. As he had evidently been parking his car on the driveway until the snow had made it difficult to drive out without assistance, it seems more probable that the sighting had taken place on the Saturday rather than the Friday, and this indicates that Joanna might still have have been alive.

Was this 2nd statement from Mr. Jefferies the reason why the police abruptly withdrew the video featuring Joanna’s boyfriend from the internet at about the same time? Did the landlord notice a light on in her flat and its external security light switching itself on at a time when there was supposed to be nobody at home?

DCI Gareth Bevan appeals for
information about a pizza
Mr. Jefferies must have expected that the police would appeal publicly for the persons whom he had seen on Joanna’s front path to come forward, but they never did. Instead, the police appealed for information about a pizza! Nor did they even tell the press about the landlord’s sighting. This suggests that Mr. Jefferies may have actually identified these persons, and that he became aware that the police did not want the public to know.

The examination by the pathologists of Joanna Yeates’s body and her injuries after she was found pointed very strongly to an unintended jealousy killing resulting from a violent domestic argument. She was wearing only one sock, most probably because she was prevented from finishing dressing after being surprised in an intimate situation and killed shortly afterwards. If Joanna had invited a married man back to her flat that weekend, their very discretion would make it easier for her boyfriend to persuade everyone that it had been Friday when she had disappeared. The absence of rape of such a pretty, vulnerable girl strongly suggested it was not a ritualistic or psychopathic random killing. The suspicious speed with which the police started looking into very unlikely suspects suggests that they already knew who the killer is, and that they were under irresistible pressure not to convict him – or that there was pressure from the media to find a more sensational suspect – or pressure from a private company to find a suspect whose conviction would result in publicity for DNA testing techniques. The fact that there was NO SEXUAL ASSAULT is very strong evidence of this.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones
The police were evidently not interested in motive, because neither the landlord nor Vincent Tabak had any motive for killing Joanna. Each was a trustworthy, law-abiding, highly educated citizen without any criminal record. Mr. Jefferies subsequently told the Leveson Inquiry that he believed that a source inside the police had leaked a garbled version of his 2nd witness statement to a journalist from Sky News or another news media. The story broke a week after he had telephoned the police to report the sightings, and the day after DCI Phil Jones took over “Operation Braid”. So his suspicion about the source of the leak was probably justified. Did the police in their leak deliberately change the date when Mr. Jefferies was supposed to have seen Joanna with two other people to 17th December 2010, to exasperate and entrap the landlord? He probably began to feel very uneasy, because, instead of appealing for these persons to come forward, the police had told the public nothing directly about his sighting. DCI Jones had now also announced publicly that her boyfriend, for whom his 2nd witness statement may have been potentially incriminating (depending on whether Greg Reardon were named in it), was not a suspect, yet Mr. Jefferies must have realised that one of the persons he had seen and heard most probably was Joanna’s killer.

Mr. Jefferies told several of his neighbours about his concerns about the leak of his 2nd statement, but not Vincent Tabak nor Tanja Morson, as they were far away in the Netherlands by this time.

Christopher Jefferies
prior to his arrest
From SWNS, 29th December 2010:
Chris Jefferies allegedly told detectives that he saw three people – one of whom he believed was Joanna – leaving her property. He spotted the trio shortly after 9 p.m. on December 17th 2010 – not long after Jo arrived home alone – as he parked his car in the street.

Mr Jefferies said: “Everything I am aware of I have told the police and I really don’t want to talk about it.” Another resident of 44 Canynge Road, Geoffrey Hardyman, 78, who lives the top floor flat, said: “He saw people coming out after dark as he was parking his car. I don’t think he was really paying any attention but just assumed they were from flat 1 – Joanna’s flat. He didn’t know if they were male or female. It was after about 9 p.m. and he thought they must have been her with friends, or just friends of hers.”

Geoffrey Hardyman
Mr Hardyman said he was bed-bound with a cold on the night of Joanna’s disappearance. The pensioner said everyone in her block had been extremely shocked by the events of the past 11 days. He also dismissed reports of a party being held in the area – or screams being heard. “It is very disturbing because there is a major police investigation going on in our building,” he said. “I wasn’t very well on the night she went missing and didn’t hear anything. I have heard reports there was a party in the area, but I heard absolutely nothing and I am quite a sensitive sleeper.”

One close neighbour said: “The landlord of the building has said he saw Jo leaving with two people on the Friday night she disappeared.”

Another Canynge Road resident, who does not want to be named, said there had been reports of other people acting suspiciously in the area. He said: “Somebody living in the area observed people acting suspiciously in sufficient detail on the night Jo went missing. They have a much clearer idea of who these people might be.”

Christopher Jefferies told Sky News: “It is a serious distortion of what I said to the police and I have no further comment to make as that, no doubt, will be distorted. I made some comment which was very, very, very much vaguer than that. Anything that I have said I have said to the police and I'm not prepared to make any comments to the media. I definitely cannot say that I saw Joanna Yeates that evening. No.”

From The Mail, 30th December 2010: “Another neighbour, Liz Lowman, said: ‘He said he saw two to three people leave the communal basement flat entrance talking in mild quiet tones. He does not remember what sex they are or what they look like’.”

Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson were visiting his family in the Netherlands, but they saw the video of their irritated landlord, surrounded by journalists, on TV or their laptop. They must have been astonished by the discrepancies between what he had told them a week ago and his vehement denials in front of the reporters.

Chief Constable Colin Port
On 27th March 2012, Chief Constable Colin Port, cross-examined at the Leveson Inquiry, distanced himself from several details of the landlord’s own restimony: “Well, we did not give Mr Jefferies’ identity to anyone. He did say that he saw three people on two occasions that I recall. In his evidence to this Inquiry, he said that – and I think I quote accurately – he told no more than three people about his sightings. That’s incorrect, and I completely understand why Mr Jefferies can’t recollect that, but I've counted eight people, including some people who were paid by the media for information, and I’ve also seen evidence that he told people that they should also tell members of the Neighbourhood Watch. So his recollection is flawed, unfortunately.” Were Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson among the eight people whom Colin Port counted? Did Christopher Jefferies’s second sighting of three people that the Chief Constable alleged occur after the time when Joanna Yeates was supposed to have been killed?

Ann Reddrop
The complex mind of the CPS’s Ann Reddrop seems to have been behind the strategic leak of a “garbled” version of Christopher Jefferies’s sightings of Joanna to Sky News, 18 hours before he was due to be arrested. This masterstroke had the effect of unnerving the landlord himself, annoying the journalists outside his house who were only trying to do their jobs, and discrediting the supposed murder suspect as much as possible (considering his irreproachable character) in the eyes of the general public and his ex-pupils. “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

The landlord is arrested

On 29th December 2010 the front-page of The Mirror newspaper carried a large unflattering portrait of Joanna Yeates’s boyfriend, accompanied by the headline “Not a suspect”.

At breakfast-time on Thursday 30th December 2010 Joanna Yeates’s and Vincent Tabak’s landlord, Christopher Jefferies, heard a knock on the door of his flat. It was just after 7.00 a.m. A voice outside said, “It’s the Police, Mr. Jefferies. We need your help”. He opened the door and admitted the officers who were standing there (whose names have never made public). He was at once arrested on suspicion of Joanna’s murder. If his experience after he was taken to the police station resembled that of Vincent Tabak and other murder suspects, he would have been told to take off all his clothes without any privacy, and subjected to a humiliating intimate medical examination. The woman doctor who obtained this “carnal knowledge” might feel she was just doing her job, but to the helpless and frightened Christopher Jefferies she was little better than a rapist.

As he had had no idea that he was a suspect until he was arrested, this was most probably the time when a swab of his saliva was taken to establish his DNA profile.

He would have been deeply shocked by the time detectives began to interrogate him by asking him the same questions over and over again about the details of how he came to kill Joanna and dispose of her body.

The police’s presumed grounds for suspecting him were:
  • He had attempted to incriminate two other people, one of whom may have been Joanna’s boyfriend (whom the police had just declared was not a suspect), by volunteering additional witness testimony (on 22nd December 2010) that he had seen and heard them in Joanna’s company during this period
  • The entire nation had seen TV footage of him behaving angrily towards journalists, obstructing their legitimate pursuit of copy for their readers
  • As he had told police that he trained regularly at a gymnasium, it could not be ruled out that he would be capable of overpowering the diminutive Joanna if he lost his temper, which was obviously easily ignited
  • The blue colour of his untamed hair indicated that he might also develop a blue beard if held long enough in police custody 
  • In his Neighbourhood Watch capacity he was alleged by unnamed former tenants to be a “peeping Tom”, who had forbidden them to put up curtains, and habitually glanced in through the ground-floor windows to check that people were where they should be, and were not doing anything they shouldn’t do. At the trial of Vincent Tabak, Mr. Nigel Lickley QC would claim that, after the murder, the defendant had told the police that he had seen Mr. Jefferies use his own keys to let himself into the smaller basement flat. Legal journalist Sally Ramage (Criminal Law Journal, January 2012) states that Tanja Morson too had said the same thing to the police on the same occasion. However, the landlord could have been held criminally liable for illegal activities related to drugs or prostitution carried out covertly by his tenants. The very fact that Joanna was killed immediately vindicated the landlord’s suspicions and his right to spy on his tenants
  • He had a key to Joanna Yeatess flat
  • He had no alibi for the time when she was believed to have been killed
  • Despite being totally unpractical (according to his ex-colleague Douglas Henderson) and having neither a wife nor grown-up children, Christopher Jefferies kept two cars – a Chrysler Neon and a Volvo S40 – both of which police took away, very theatrically, before the eyes of the press, for forensic examination. Geoffrey Hardyman explained to The Telegraph (5 Jan 2011) that the Chrysler actually belongs to Irving Steggles, the minister of a church in South Africa, for whom Christopher Jefferies has acted as car-sitter for several years.
Police waited until the press were assembled before
dramatically removing the landlord’s two cars
 from 44 Canynge Road 
The arrest of the landlord certainly functioned as an effective smokescreen to draw attention away from the boyfriend. Noel O’Gara wrote to the police immediately after the arrest to point out why Mr. Jefferies was not likely to have killed Joanna. To this day, the general public has been allowed to believe that it was either police incompetence or their panic-stricken desire to be seen to be actively looking for Joanna’s killer that was the reason why her landlord was arrested. However, if this were correct, then arresting her boyfriend temporarily would have served the same purpose, at less cost to the police’s reputation, since both the public and the average police officer know very well that women are most at risk of violence from a man with whom they have a close relationship. This demonstrates that something much deeper and more sinister lies behind both the police’s sparing of Greg Reardon and their treatment of Mr. Jefferies.

The real reasons that may be conjectured for the arrest of the landlord are:
  • To intimidate him into not revealing publicly that he had seen someone he believed was Joanna on the Saturday or the Sunday
  • To intimidate him into not revealing publicly that he had seen her running down her path wearing only indoor clothes and no boots
  • To intimidate him into not revealing publicly his knowledge of the identity of Joanna’s secret lover
  • To intimidate him into not revealing publicly that on more than one occasion he had seen Joanna bringing a man back to her flat when Greg Reardon was away, and that he suspected these men were clients who made a contribution to the £47,000 estate that The Mail reported she left 
  • To entrap Vincent Tabak and his girlfriend into volunteering witness testimony about the landlord’s car and the discrepancies between what Mr. Jefferies had previously told neighbours about his sightings of Joanna and what he had refused to tell reporters on TV. Vincent Tabak’s voluntary testimony was potentially incriminating for Mr. Jefferies, enabling the CPS to deny bail to the Dutchman and ultimately provide the judge with an excuse to add 2 years to his sentence
  • To intimidate Mr. Jefferies and make him so fearful of talking to journalists that there was no risk that he would publicly express the view that police had got the wrong man when they came to arrest his courteous and civilised tenant
  • To protect Mr. Jefferies from the possible attentions of a killer who might fear that the landlord had seen and knew too much to be allowed to live.
Paul Okebu
After Mr. Jefferies was arrested, he was allowed one phone-call, from a friend and former pupil, who engaged a solicitor from London to represent him. This may have been Paul Okebu, then working for Stokoe Partnership, London. Later, Christopher Jefferies was represented by Bambos Tsiattalou, also from Stokoe Partnership, London. The lawyer who came at the police station in Bristol was incredulous when he saw the details of the case against Mr. Jefferies. While the landlord was in custody, the news media published very negative reports of his character attributed to unnamed former tenants and pupils of his. The strong bias of these reports makes it very probable that the police played an undeclared part in feeding them to the press.

The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC
(Source: The Telegraph)
The following day, 31st December 2010, the Attorney General, The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC, publicly warned the newspapers to be mindful of the contempt laws, in the light of the lurid reports some of them had published about Mr. Jefferies. The landlord remained mercifully unaware of the antics of the press, because his solicitor took the decision not to tell him about it.

Christopher Jefferies under house arrest

Police took Mr Jefferies to Bristol Magistrates’ Court
to apply for an extension to question him further.
The press were not informed about this until after
he had been taken back to the police station
Late on Thursday evening, the detectives questioning him obtained permission from a senior officer to keep him in for a further 12 hours, until 6 p.m. on Friday 31st December 2010. On 31st December, according to Chief Constable Colin Port in his witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry, police successfully applied to magistrates for a 72 hour extension to question Mr Jefferies further. In order to do this, they would have had to submit further evidence that they would claim to have obtained since he had been taken into custody:
  • Two detectives from Bristol had been dispatched to Holland to take statements from Vincent Tabak and his girlfriend about their observation that the landlord’s car had been moved during the night of Joanna’s disappearance, and, presumably, many other things that Mr. Jefferies had told them about his sightings – but these have never been made public.
  • Police had taken his car away for forensic examination, but would not have had time to obtain a DNA profile from any traces of blood they would claim to have found. The magistrate might, however, be influenced if they told him they had found blood spots with her blood group in the luggage compartment.
  • The magistrate may also have been told that blonde hairs resembling Joanna’s had been found in the luggage compartment.
  • Having confiscated his computer, police would certainly find evidence that Mr. Jefferies had been following the progress of “Operation Braid” on the internet, since he did not own a TV. The magistrate would easily be persuaded that a computer analyst had found that the landlord had Googled Longwood Lane before Joanna’s body had been found.
  • Police may also have claimed a match between black fibres found on Joanna’s body with a coat found in Christopher Jefferies’s flat.
How could the unknown magistrate authorise the police to hold Christopher Jefferies in custody up to a further 72 hours on the basis of a case whose details made the landlord’s own lawyer incredulous?

After three days of questioning in custody, the landlord was released without charge, but remained on bail until 4th March 2011, i.e., an unprecedented six weeks after Vincent Tabak had been charged with murder. Mr. Jefferies was effectively kept under house arrest during this period. The landlord, a central person in the case, was never call as a witness to testify about his sightings of Joanna nor the curious case of the car in the night. Neither he nor the police has ever revealed the true contents of his witness statements. His own solicitor, Bambos Tsiattalou, gave Mr. Jefferies’s friends, who were chaperoning him in a safe house, very strict instructions not to let him go anywhere where he might be accosted by any journalists.

Prison chaplain Peter Brotherton,
who testified in court but omitted
to tell the jury that he was a
Supervising Officer at a
Cambridgeshire prison, Whitemoor
The most probable explanation for why Mr. Jefferies was kept on bail for so long was to repress any inclination he might have had to tell the news media that he had seen Joanna alive after she was supposed to be dead, and what a nice chap his Dutch tenant was, after the latter had been arrested and charged. The general public would have paid far more attention to his words than they did to the statements from Vincent Tabak’s family and friends. His prolonged house arrest may also have been because the landlord was the reserve scapegoat in the event that the case against Vincent Tabak failed – but it is much more probable that he had to be silenced because knew enough to prevent it from succeeding. This case was dependent, amongst other things, on the defendant’s entrapment by the prison officer posing as a chaplain, Peter Brotherton, and on the Police’s presumed attempt to alienate Vincent Tabak’s girlfriend by alleging to her that he had been unfaithful to her with prostitutes. Evidently she had succumbed by 4th March 2011. It is possible that the timing of the landlord’s release from bail was determined by the date when Vincent Tabak sacked his first defence team, Crossman & Co and Albion Chambers, replacing them with Kelcey & Hall and William Clegg QC.

In an interview in a TV programme, Judge Rinder’s Crime Stories: Joanna Yeates (22th June 2016), Mr. Jefferies produced his own explanation for the delay in releasing him from bail: “I gather that one of the reasons for the delay was that Vincent Tabak, when he was arrested, refused to say anything, and therefore the police continued to entertain the suspicion that possibly there had been some sort of collusion between myself and Vincent Tabak.” The mind boggles at the suggestion that the landlord could have used his key to the flat to let Vincent Tabak in to lie in wait for Joanna, and perhaps even help him move the body afterwarrds.

The public has been led to believe that Vincent Tabak confessed to Peter Brotherton about the middle of February 2011. It is curious that Mr. Jefferies, in his public pronouncements, has never drawn attention to the delay of more than two weeks between this so-called confession and his own release from bail. This suggests that he is one of the few who is very well aware that no such confession was actually made.

The DNA merchants jump on the bandwagon

Lindsey Lennen (left) with
an unidentified man
According to the interview she gave to journalist Jon Henley of The Guardian (17th January 2012), Lindsey Lennen from LGC Forensics had already examined the forensics of Joanna’s body and clothes within 48 hours of its being found. The alleged existence of DNA samples found on the body, however, was not revealed to the public (by agreement with A & S Constabulary) until a week after this (and 24 hours after the landlord was released) by journalists Luke Salkeld and Arthur Martin in The Mail’s exclusive report on 3rd January 2011, on the same day as the results of Dr. Russell Delaney’s second post-mortem test that showed that Joanna had not been raped. “Working round the clock” (as The Mail expressed it), forensic specialists had had a clear three days (from 27th to 30th December 2010) to use LGC Forensics’ proprietory “DNASenCE” technique to enhance these partial DNA samples before Mr. Jefferies was arrested.

If the enhanced partial DNA from the body matched Vincent Tabak’s DNA, then it could not have matched Christopher Jefferies’s DNA. That would have been a very good reason for police not to arrest the landlord. Why did they wait nearly three weeks (with the aggressive national media growing increasingly critical and impatient) until 20th January 2011 to arrest Vincent Tabak? The fact that they did arrest the landlord and did wait three weeks proves that the match obtained by analysing the unidentified body fluid on Joanna’s body was fake, contrived in the secure knowledge that it would be safe to do so, because the police were planning to trick Vincent Tabak into making a false admission of guilt anyway. As Ms Lennen herself so deceitfully stated to Jon Henley, the existence of the ‘confession’ meant that the DNA evidence would not be subject to further scrutiny.

Did forensic scientists respond to the release of the landlord on 1st January 2011 by putting pressure on A & S Constabulary on 2nd January 2011 that resulted in the exclusive DNA story in The Mail on 3rd January 2011? They knew very well that they had not told the embarassed police about any DNA from Mr. Jefferies on Joanna’s body, so they were in a position to steer the investigation in a direction that would bring them maximum publicity and profit.

Why was the landlord not called to testify?

Detective Constable Karen Thomas
When “Operation Braid” was started, both the public and the occupants of 44 Canynge Road were urged to come forward with any information that might lead to a conviction. When Vincent Tabak and his girlfriend Tanja Morson in Holland saw on TV or their laptop that their landlord Christopher Jefferies had been arrrested, they decided to telephone to Avon & Somerset Constabulary. It was the girlfriend who picked up the phone. The jury and the public would be told that their purposes with this phone call was to report that the landlord had moved his Volvo during the critical evening when Joanna disappeared. It had been facing one way in the driveway and the next day it was facing the opposite way. “The indication being that Mr. Jefferies had moved his vehicle during the night,” said Detective Constable Karen Thomas, who travelled to the Netherlands together with another officer to question Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson as a result of this call. The matter of the landlord’s Volvo could hardly have occupied them for more than five minutes, yet the jury was never told which other topics occupied most of the remainder of the six hour interview. It can be inferred that what the two detectives really wanted to hear about was what their landlord had told the young couple at the time about his sightings of comings and goings on Joanna’s front path, and also whether either of them had seen anything. This filled 40 pages of DC Thomas’s notebook.

The Detective Constable subsequently told the court that it was this telephoned attempt to incriminate his landlord that had first aroused the police’s suspicions of Vincent Tabak. It was also used as an argument by the CPS against granting him bail, and by the judge as an ‘aggravating factor’ for increasing his sentence.

However, Mr. Jefferies has never refuted this allegation that he moved his Volvo during the night. He was never called to testify at Vincent Tabak’s trial, nor did the jury ever hear his two witness statements. The jury did not hear ALL the evidence. If they had heard his 2nd witness statement, the case against the defendant would have collapsed.

The landlord and the libel

During the 3 days when the landlord was being questioned by police, and unknown to him, the Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Daily Record, the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Scotsman all published speculative and libellous articles about him. “In recognition of the immense distress and damage” caused, these newspapers had all agreed in July 2011 to apologise for the “seriously defamatory” allegations made in the wake of the landscape architect’s December 2010 death and pay substantial damages. Later, the Daily Mirror was fined £50,000 and The Sun £18,000 for contempt of court over publication of articles about Mr. Jefferies. Three judges at the High Court handed out the penalties to the publishers of the two tabloid newspapers. The lawyer acting for him in this action was Louis Charalambous, of the firm of Simons, Muirhead and Burton.

Christopher Jefferies
after his release from bail
On 8th May 2011, three days after a person resembling Vincent Tabak entered an unsound plea of guilty to manslaughter via video-link to the Old Bailey, The Observer’s Mark Townsend reported that Christopher Jefferies was planning to sue Avon & Somerset Constabulary. The full charge is “false imprisonment, breach of human rights, and trespass to person and property”.

Prof. Brian Cathcart
Not until after the start of Vincent Tabak’s trial did Mr. Jefferies feel safe enough to give a very exclusive interview to a representative of the news media, Brian Cathcart, professor of journalism at Kingston University, founder of the “Hacked Off” campaign, and a contributor to the Financial Times Magazine. The timing of its publication ensured him the maximum public sympathy. Nevertheless, he told the Leveson Inquiry that reading it on the day it appeared was one of the most distressing experiences of his life.

From the landlord's interview in FT Magazine, October 8, 2011 :
“The whole process of being arrested and taken into custody is really designed – as far as its effect on me is concerned – to strip you of your own identity, because your clothes are taken away, your possessions are taken away, you are given other clothes, you are held incommunicado to a very large degree. And then all these extraordinary falsehoods are woven around this now almost personality-less identity. So it’s very unsettling. You know who you are and yet you have none of the trappings of that person, and here is this quite foreign, alternative personality which people are trying to foist upon you.” The result, Jefferies says, still in his clear, even tone, is a sense of violation. “My identity had been violated. My privacy had been intruded upon. My whole life … I don’t think it would be too strong a word to say that it was a kind of rape that had taken place.”

Bambos Tsiattalou
Mr. Jefferies also referred publicly to the irritation he had felt because Avon & Somerset Constabulary were wasting time and resources on investigating him, whom he knew to be innocent, instead of looking for the real killer. This would be ironical if, as seems very likely, they already knew who the real killer was, and had no other objective with him than to find a way of charging him to shield the killer, to silence him, or to entrap Vincent Tabak. Mr. Jefferies’s support for the Liberal Democrats and involvement in Neighbourhood Watch may have contributed to the police’s motives for using him as a scapegoat in the first place, but it may also have been instrumental in getting him released. Another reason why he was not charged may be that the solicitor who acted for him after he was released, Bambos Tsiattalou, is from a London-based firm of lawyers, Stokoe Partnership, who are not dependent on Avon & Somerset Constabulary for many of their briefs.

Journalist Rachel Cooke,
The Observer
Why was Mr. Jefferies not called as a witness at Vincent Tabak’s trial, despite his being a key person at 44 Canynge Road? Why has his 2nd witness statement to the police never been made public? In an interview with Rachel Cooke published in The Observer (18th December 2011) the landlord said: “Had he maintained his innocence, there would have always have been a slight suspicion around me.” As Vincent Tabak’s guilty plea was entered by an imposter, and his conviction was based on an “enhanced” statement that he must have been coerced into signing, and a “confession” and “evidence” faked in the course of a “show” trial, that suspicion remains, as indeed it does for the other persons around Joanna Yeates.

The landlord and Lord Leveson

Richard Wallace
Richard Wallace, editor of The Mirror newspaper, in his witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry, testified “When Mr Jefferies was arrested on 30th December [2010], the content desk informed me that (off the record) the police were saying that they were confident Mr Jefferies was their man.” Testifying to the Inquiry under oath on 27th March 2012, Colin Port’s reaction was that this claim by Richard Wallace was an “absolutely outrageous” allegation. He went on: “I've never done that. It’s not my job to pass opinion on these issues. We don’t give off-the-record briefings, and to behave in a collusive manner is just abhorrent.” Cross-examining Colin Port on the same occasion, Counsel for the Inquiry Robert Jay QC asked why Christopher Jefferies was held on bail for six weeks after Vincent Tabak’s arrest. In his answer the Chief Constable explained, evasively, that Vincent Tabak went “no comment” except for a very small part of the interview, “so there’s always a question hanging”.

The Rt. Hon. Sir Brian Leveson
In his testimony on 27th March 2012 to the Leveson Inquiry, DCI Phil Jones stated: “When Vincent Tabak was interviewed, he gave ‘no comment’ in interview. It was only a very small area around a mobile phone which he was willing to talk about. One of the topics in that interview concerned Mr Jefferies, to which he declined – he again made no comment. Mr Jefferies was still a suspect in the investigation. There was still ongoing forensic examination work which was being undertaken. In particular, there were a pair of trainers which we found in Mr Jefferies’s house which were hidden underneath a kitchen unit behind a kickboard. Those trainers had some – had a blood spot on them. That was initially analysed and because of a sensitive forensic technique which they had to use, eventually a DNA profile was found and Mr Jefferies could be eliminated. So when the forensic lines of inquiry were completed, he was fully eliminated from the investigation, which is then when he was released from his bail without charge.”

Robert Jay QC
Instead of cross-examining DCI Phil Jones further so as to expose this answer for the nonsense that it was, Mr. Jay actually went on to tell the witness that he need not feel responsible for the vilification of Mr. Jefferies, even though Counsel never made any attempt to examine Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s role in the doorstepping and vilification of the landlord. These two experienced lawyers can have been in no doubt that they were whitewashing a major abuse of justice.

Mr. Jefferies’s damages from the news media were settled out of court in a matter of months, whereas nothing further has ever been heard of his claim against Avon & Somerset Constabulary. Is there a connection between this claim and his failure to testify at Vincent Tabak’s trial? The deceitful BBC “Crimewatch” propaganda film released about 6th November 2011 reported that there was no DNA evidence against Mr. Jefferies. He has never revealed whether the police confronted him during his arrest with the curious case of the car in the night, the telephone call from Tanja Morson in Holland and DC Karen Thomas’s interview with Vincent Tabak at Schiphol, although the landlord’s lawyer must have copies of their statements, as these were among the police’s grounds for holding him on bail. The only clue Mr. Jefferies has given about how he felt about that telephone call was his relief that Vincent Tabak “admitted” killing Joanna Yeates and was convicted. Is there much more to the role played in the Joanna Yeates case by Christopher Jefferies than meets the eye?

The apology

Nick Gargan
“Dear Mr. Jefferies - I write further to correspondence between Avon and somerset Legal Services Directorate and your solicitor. Whilst we believe your arrest was an integral step in this challenging and complex investigation, I write formally to acknowledge the hurt that you suffered as a result of that arrest, detention and eventual release on police bail in connection with the murder of Joanna Yeates in December 2010 and which was the subject of huge media interest. I accept unequivocally that you played no part in the murder and that you are wholly innocent of the crime. Colleagues were grateful for your full and helpful cooperation with their investigation, which eventually resulted in the successful prosecution of the true offender.

I understand that the length of time that you spent on police bail caused you signficant distress and inevitably prolonged the period of time when you remained in the public eye as someone who was still suspected of involvement in an appalling crime. The police did not make it clear publicly that you were no longer a suspect in the investigation as soon as you were released from bail on 5th March 2011. While it is not normal practice to make such a public statement, in the circumstances of the exceptional media attention your arrest attracted I acknowledge we should have considered this and I am very sorry for the suffering you experienced as a result.”

I also wish to confirm that all DNA, fingerprint and photographic evidence about you collected by Avon and Somerset Constabulary following your arrest has been destroyed. This can not of course erase the hurt you suffered but it represents a complete vindication of your character to the world at large. I value an opportunity to meet you and discuss any lessons that the Constabulary could learn from your experience.”

– Nick Gargan QPM, Chief Constable, 5th August 2013

The movie

Writer Peter Morgan
Director Roger Mitchell
On 3rd November 2013, Carnival Film & Television started shooting “The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies” in Bristol for ITV. Written by Peter Morgan, directed by Roger Mitchell and featurng Jason Watkins in the title role, the drama was scheduled to be screened in spring 2014. However, its release was deferred without any explanation. It was eventually shown in two parts on 10th & 11th December 2014. Was ITV told to put off showing it until after public interest in the phoney arraignment of Vincent Tabak for possession of illegal child images had subsided?

Actor Jason Watkins
The final public release was preceded by extensive publicity and news media interest. Critical reaction to the production was both enthusiastic and hypocritical. The film’s opening sequence faithfully depicted journalists doorstepping the landlord to ask him in vain to tell them about his sighting of persons on Joanna’s garden path on the night she had disappeared. They made no attempt to explore who these persons might have been, nor their probable connection to both her killing and to the long period of bail during which Christopher Jefferies was obliged to live “underground” in a safe house. The film’s most deliberate, extensive perversion of the truth was a scene in which Vincent Tabak was seen seeking out a prison chaplain, depicted in clerical clothes, followed by a radio news bulletin announcing publicly that he had confessed to killing Joanna. “The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies” was realised on Netflix in 2016. 

The schoolteacher

For 30 years, Mr. Jefferies taught English to the flower of the nation at Clifton College, a prominent public school. Of all people, he should be a stickler for the truth. Yet he continues to hide the truth about the events of that fateful weekend. The nation is entitled to learn the ungarbled contents of his 2nd witness statement to the police. Of all the civilians of Clifton, Christopher Jefferies is possessed of unique knowledge of and insight into the Joanna Yeates murder. He of all people understands how the roller-coaster of media manipulation can deceive even the most intelligent members of the general public:
  • He was vilified by the entire nation on the basis of his strange hairstyle and casual reminiscences alleged to come from unnamed ex-pupils and ex-tenants of his, in total disregard for his excellent character and his lack of any motive for killing Joanna. The forceful one-sidedness of this campaign, the anonymity of the sources, and his subsequent success in winning substantial damages from the news media, point to Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s director of propaganda, Amanda Hirst, as the secret architect behind the vilification of Mr. Jefferies.
  • In due course the public came to consider him as totally exonerated and as a shocking victim of police stupidity, and he was invited twice to testify at the Leveson Inquiry, despite the fact that his innocence was never formally established in open court.
  • There is a grim irony in the rise to fame of this supposed victim of media irresponsibility and his participation in a national project to force the press to become more truthful, even though he himself misled the Leveson Inquiry about his 2nd witness statement to the police, and he continues to suppress the inconvenient truths it contains about Joanna’s last weekend. The more he talks about his experiences in public, the more Mr. Jefferies continues to deceive the public about the persons and activities he witnessed, about the police’s real motives for arresting him and then releasing him on protracted bail, the theory that he collueded with Vincent Tabak, the source of the leak of his 2nd witness statement and the staging of his doorstepping, and where responsibility really lies for the unattributed slurs on his character that became public during his period in custody and for which he was so richly compensated.
  • His three days in police custody gave him a terrifying glimpse into the abyss and an unenviable understanding of how the police can trick and coerce an intelligent, law-abiding citizen such as Vincent Tabak into associating himself with a serious crime in a way that leads to a black hole from which there is no escape.
  • His subsequent active participation in campaigning to lobby for press restraints favourable to the police may have been imposed on him as an unreported condition of his release from custody. He is locked into a vicious pact with Avon & Somerset Constabulary that ensures that neither can ever allow the other to make public the text of his 2nd Witness Statement.
  • He, of all suspects, knows that his own analogy with “Midsomer Murders” was illusory, because most of the TV series’s fictional killers are persons with a motive but without any prior criminal record, who nevertheless kill remorselessly, because they are a bit “weird” – whereas real killers have always lacked remorse, and kill only because they have a powerful motive and know that they are going to be able to manipulate the police into pouncing on some unfortunate innocent.
Mr. Jefferies does not need to know any of the details of how the jury was misled about the faked confession, the faked plea and the false “evidence” to realise that his former tenant Vincent Tabak has been made a scapegoat. He alone has the prestige to speak out and be listened to. So why doesn’t he? Who is he protecting? What does he know?

Is 44 Canynge Road an unlucky house

44 Canynge Road, Clifton
It was unlucky for:
  • Joanna Yeates, who was murdered seven weeks after moving in.
  • Vincent Tabak, who was convicted of murdering his neighbour there.
  • Tanja Morson, whose dream of marriage in 2011 was shattered there.
  • Greg Reardon, whom the police did not suspect.
  • Christopher Jefferies, who was arrested and reviled but became a national celebrity.
  • Stephen Johnston, a teacher who lived in the small ground-floor flat until 1999, and the child he was convicted of abusing there between 1991 and 1994. He received a substantial prison sentence.
  • A brilliant Clifton College math teacher who in the 1970s occupied the first-floor flat, had a 1st class Oxford University degree and a Ph.D, and died of leukemia aged 35, leaving a wife and five small children.