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 media and Lord Leveson

“I love a ballad in print, a-life, for then we are sure they are true.”

 Mopsa, a shepherdess, in “The Winter’s Tale”, by William Shakespeare

Be that as it may, nearly all the facts reported here were obtained from the British media, notably the local sources Small World News Service and The Bristol Evening Post (This is Bristol). Is the recent systematic removal of many of these reports the result of official pressure on the news media in response to the critical analysis presented in this blog and the links in the side-bar?

Because of at least three important off-the-record briefings that were held during this investigation and the prosecution, and because crime reporters know enough about court procedures to recognise when a jury is being seriously misled, the entire news media are implicated in covering up a deliberate miscarriage of justice.

How the Leveson Inquiry failed utterly to elicit the truth about the roles of the police, the media and the landlord is explained at the end of this post

Princess snatched by horrible evil monster

Joanna Yeates
Only two days after Joanna Yeates went missing, the media, led by the BBC and The Telegraph, and encouraged by the video appeal released by Avon & Somerset Constabulary, turned her disappearance into a matter of national importance. This may have been because her godfather was a detective in a neighbouring force, or because her boyfriend seems to have a connection to the police (who insisted that he was not a suspect), or perhaps because Joanna had a prominent lover who exerted influence on the police and whose identity could not be revealed to the public. When her disappearance and death became a murder inquiry, the pressure on the detectives at A & S Constabulary, led by DCI Phil Jones, to make an arrest was enormous. In his witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry he would claim that a media strategy had been put in place as soon as Joanna was reported missing, with the objective of maximising publicity in order to find her.

Don’t mention the fire engines

A pumping tender arrives at Longwood Lane
Among the Fire Brigade’s total of five vehicles seen in press pictures in Longwood Lane on Christmas day 2010 were a large Renault Midliner rescue tender (N603 MHY) with a Hiab Jib, a large MAN fire tender (WU04 HYN), and a Land Rover Defender (WX03 ZBW) normally used for driver training. This Land Rover was later seen in Longwood Lane towing a diesel fuel bowser. According to The Mail (26th December 2010): “Fire brigade surround the area where Joanna was discovered close to a quarry. They used a crane to shift the body from the scene.” The journalists showed astonishingly little curiosity about why a crane capable of lifting 1.47 tonnes with a reach of 5 metres should be needed for this task, nor what the other fire engines were being used for. The only possible explanation must be that police gave an off-the-record briefing to journalists (of the kind that Colin Port would assert he never permitted) to get them to keep quiet about the pumping operations as the price for information about the investigation. The only other news organisation to show pictures of the fire appliances was ITN.

Grooming the landlord

Christopher Jefferies
On 29th December 2010, four days after Joanna’s body had been found, her landlord Christopher Jefferies was horrified to learn that Sky News had broadcast a “garbled” version of his 2nd witness statement, which had evidently been leaked to them by the police on the day when DCI Phil Jones took over “Operation Braid”. When he attempted to go shopping, he was accosted by a crowd of reporters – including one from Sky News – who wanted to hear more about his sighting of Joanna. He was so exasperated by the twisting of his words that he refused to tell the press anything of substance, on the basis that he would expect anything he said to be twisted by them. By the time the news of his arrest the next day on suspicion of murder reached the public, they already had before them the image of an eccentric and unpredictable man with a mop of blue hair and an irascible temperament. The police mole had done a very thorough job of grooming the press and the public for the vilification of Christopher Jefferies.

When two detectives were dispatched to Schiphol to take statements from Tanja Morson and Vincent Tabak after their landlord had been arrested, it would have been natural for the police to prove to the public that they really were following up all possible leads to Joanna’s killer by telling the press about it and evoking sensational headlines such as “Police from Bristol travel to Holland in search of clues to Jo’s death”. However, they kept silent, probably to ensure that the Dutch police did not protest about possible breaches of the procedure for interviewing a suspect, and also to ensure that the solicitor who would represent Vincent Tabak did not learn about the Schiphol interviews until after his hearing before the Magistrate. Not until the trial more than nine months later did the public learn of these interviews. This silence is one of the indications that the CPS was already involved in the case.

Compromised by the DNA merchants

Amanda Hirst
Luke Salkeld
The general public did not learn about the DNA allegedly taken from Joanna Yeates’s body soon after it had been found until 3rd January 2011, in a side-box in an exclusive story by Luke Salkeld and Arthur Martin in The Mail, that was based on unattributed sources, probably someone at LGC Forensics. On the evening of Sunday 2nd January 2011, according to Amanda Hirst’s testimony to the Leveson inquiry (28th February 2012), there were negotiations between Avon & Somerset Constabulary and a journalist and the editor from a national tabloid newspaper (evidently The Mail) to avoid the publication of potentially compromising detail relating to DNA found on Joanna’s body. The negotiations, she asserted, resulted in a compromise. The Mail claimed that a single sample of DNA had been found on the body. The newspaper wrote that the revelation had been made the day after police had released the landlord, but that attempts had been made soon after the DNA was found (i.e., before the arrest of the landlord) to match this DNA with DNA already on police records and with DNA samples taken during the investigation.

Although neither Vincent Tabak nor his solicitor could have known of this meeting between the police and The Mail, his reaction to the DNA allegedly found on Joanna’s body that provided the basis for his arrest on 20th January 2011 was formally to tell the police his belief that a scientist from the forensics laboratory must have leaked this DNA allegation to a news medium for financial gain. Referring to this article under cross-examination in court just nine months later, on 20th October 2011, he would pretend that after reading in one of the newspapers that they had found a sample of the DNA on Joanna’s body, he thought “that’s it”.

You were told not to mention the fire engines

The convoy of fire engines in Longwood Lane
On 5th January 2011, ITN was banned from a police press conference, ostensibly because the station, in its news broadcast the day before, had included an interview with a former detective, Mark Williams-Thomas, who had been critical of Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s handling of the investigation. The real reason, however, may have been that ITN released a brief video clip showing all the fire engines together. It was not the first time the force had excluded a journalist from a briefing. Deputy Head of Corporate Communication Darren Bane had also been involved in 2007, when free-lance journalist called Simon Trump was not invited to a briefing about the exhumation of the bodies of former residents of a home who it was suspected might have been poisoned.

The police were to react with the same paranoic sensitivity later in the month to criticism from Vincent Tabak’s family after his arrest.

The Sun collects its reward

Mike Sullivan
Alex Peake
On 7th January 2011, The Sun newspaper offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. The Sun has not stated whether it ever paid out the reward nor to whom.

On 17th January 2011, Journalists John Coles (who was based in Bristol) and Alex Peake reported that the police were going to interview the two IKEA drivers who had made a delivery to Joanna’s flat on 9th November 2010. The two men, who had already spoken to detectives by then, had been so amazed and angry when they were approached by The Sun that they contacted senior officers to ask how the journalists had got hold of their names, addresses and phone numbers. All the detectives would say, however, was that they may have been eavesdropped. Asked for her explanation, Ann Reddrop gushed: “At the time when forensic tests were underway and we were awaiting outcome, we agreed that we were going to not use mobiles phones, only use secure emails – and only talked about case to a very small group of people – did not want any further leaks or difficulties.”

After Vincent Tabak’s arrest, The Sun carried an unattributed report, by journalists Mike Sullivan, Alex Peake and John Coles, that A & S Constabulary had received a telephone tip-off from an unidentified “sobbing girl”. No reference was subsequently made in court to this tip-off, so it can be inferred that the story was planted by Amanda Hirst to divert the duty solicitor and the magistrates from the Schiphol interviews and sabotaging Vincent Tabak’s first bail application. At the time, his family stated publicly that this allegation did not refer to his girlfriend. The Sun was the only news medium to report that Vincent Tabak’s girlfriend visited him in prison as soon as she was allowed to do so on 11th February 2011. Editors at The Sun have a habit of revising online articles several days or even weeks after the date of publication, without stating what has been altered, nor even what the original publication date was.

Unnamed detectives do not rule out an attack by a registered sex offender

“More than 500 registered sex offenders live within a few miles of the home of murdered architect Joanna Yeates, it emerged last night. Detectives are expected to interview up to 20 of the men – who all have a history of attacking women – as part of their inquiries into the 25-year-old’s death. Although police say there is no evidence Bristol-based Miss Yeates was indecently assaulted, they have not ruled out a sexual motive for the murder. Forensic tests which could prove she was the victim of a sex attack have been hampered because her body was frozen by the time it was discovered. Ministry of Justice records for Avon and Somerset show there are 310 registered sex offenders in Bristol, some of whom live in three probation hostels in the city. Within a 15-mile radius of Bristol, a further 105 registered sex offenders live in South Gloucestershire and another 109 in North Somerset...”
by Stephen Wright, Luke Salkeld and Ryan Kisiel, The Mail, 8th January 2011 
The police were determined to divert the public’s attention away from the substantial evidence that Joanna’s killing was personal by suggesting that she had been the random victim of an unmotivated attack.

Scorned suitor story pre-empts accused’s defence

Andrew Gregory
Richard Smith
“Did Jo Yeates spurn killer’s advances?” asked journalists Andrew Gregory and Richard Smith in The Mirror on 11th January 2011: “JO Yeates’s killer may have had a secret crush on her and flipped out when his advances were snubbed, detectives believe. They are convinced the 25-year-old was strangled by someone she knew and are eager to find out whether a male friend or colleague ever mentioned fancying her. Investigators reckon someone may have become secretly obsessed with her – and Jo may not have taken them seriously. It is possible he made an embarrassing pass, was rejected and then strangled Jo in a panic.” How could any self-respecting journalist accept so uncritically this cruel allegation that Joanna’s life was held so cheap without asking the anonymous police source for the evidence on which it was based?

This incredible scenario was the only police theory about the motive for the killing that was ever published – and it was unattributed. It could not possibly have been based on forensic evidence, nor admission by a suspect who had not yet been arrested, so it must have been invented to divert attention from far more probable personal scenarios that were never raised, such as partner jealousy. For good measure the report included a claim by Joanna’s mother that her daughter would never have two boyfriends at the same time. However, this rejected-suitor theory is almost identical to the bizarre scenario that appeared nine months later in the “enhanced” defence statement that Vincent Tabak’s defence lawyers got him to sign, and the one on which he was convicted. The exclusive publication of this story shows that Mirror editor Richard Wallace had now gone firmly over to Colin Port’s camp. It not only incriminates the news media, Lord Leveson, the police and the defence lawyers, but also ought to have enabled Vincent Tabak to declare a mistrial.

Jo Yeates murdered at home say cops

By Jerry Lawton, Daily Star, 14th January 2011: JOANNA Yeates’s killer took “a massive gamble” in moving her body after she was murdered, police said last night. Detectives are convinced the 25-year-old was killed in her flat but cannot fathom why the strangler went to the trouble of dumping her body three miles away. And they believe the killer’s decision to move her holds the key to cracking the case. Last night a senior detective told the Daily Star: “This is a crucial factor in the investigation. Assuming the culprit was undetected carrying out the killing, why on earth did he or she just not leave the flat as quickly and quietly as possible? ... The risks involved in such a move are nothing short of extraordinary. Their journey could have been caught on CCTV cameras. And they risked leaving damning forensic evidence on the body and in the vehicle. Quite frankly, the murderer took a massive gamble which could well be their undoing.”

In the absence of a named source, this exclusive story, which pre-empted Vincent Tabaks defence statement nine months later (just like the “scorned suitor” story in The Mirror three days earlier), must be attributed to Amanda Hirst or Darren Bane. Their intention must have been to divert public attention from the conclusion that Joanna had been attacked in her flat by someone she knew personally and had fled from it in a state of déshabillé before being killed. If her boyfriend were the killer, it is not hard to fathom why he could hardly have left her body in the place where he had caught up with her. Despite more than three weeks of intensive activity by forensic scientists looking for evidence that Joanna had been strangled inside her own flat, however, no blood nor Vincent Tabak’s DNA was ever found in the flat. So six days before the Dutchman’s arrest, the Daily Star was roped in to inculcate the deceit that a reckless and crazy stranger had killed Joanna inside her flat into the public consciousness.

Forensic chemicals in Joanna Yeates’s bathroom
On the third day of the trial, journalists were allowed to enter and photograph the interior of Joanna’s flat for the first time, in the footsteps of the judge and the jury. They had all heard Defence barrister William Clegg QC telling the jurors to decide for themselves whether screams from inside the flat could be heard from No. 53 Canynge Rd., yet the obvious “scream test” was not carried out, because the real purpose of the visit to was reinforce the deceit that she was killed in the flat. To this end, the dirty-looking forensic chemical residues had been left besmirching the bathroom of the otherwise cosy home to strengthen the illusion in the minds of the reporters that it was here that the wicked act had been carried out.

Here come the DNA merchants

On 12th January 2011 The Sun carried an unattributed story about DNA from saliva on Joanna’s body. On 13th and 17th January 2011 The Mail carried unattributed stories about DNA from saliva and partial DNA respectively on the body. The timing of these stories contributed to giving  LGC Forensics’s proprietary DNA-enhancement process the honour for the arrest of Vincent Tabak on 20th January 2011.

Nick Britten
On the day after Vincent Tabak’s arrest, 21st January 2011, The Sun published allegations by an unidentified police source claiming that DNA found on Joanna’s body beneath her clothes suggested that she had been sexually assaulted. Even if this were true, the timing of the leak would have prejudiced a fair trial, but as the police knew very well that the circumstances of her death were quite different, the story about DNA on her breasts and stomach, which was taken up by journalists Caroline Gammell, Nick Britten and Richard Savill in The Telegraph, was a serious element in the sexualisation of the scapegoat by the police and LGC Forensics.

The Beeb grooms the sobbing girl

“A girl matching Joanna’s description” – with a black bag
– inside a supermarket in Clifton. (Source: The Telegraph)
In the middle of January 2011, a filmed reconstruction of a part of Joanna Yeates’s last walk home was produced for the BBC’s “Crimewatch” series. The public was told that the programme was scheduled to be shown on 26th January 2011, but it was cancelled after the arrest of Vincent Tabak on 20th January 2011. It has emerged that Ann Reddrop had already planned his arrest since the end of December 2010, so the reconstruction was actually a propaganda measure. The few scenes that really were shot in January 2011 were subsequently incorporated into a lurid dramatised programme about the murder and the police’s so-called “investigation” made hastily after the trial and shown on TV on 6th November 2011. A specialist firm was engaged to put down artificial snow for outdoor scenes at Longwood Lane. On 18th January 2010, watched by invited journalists, an actress dressed in clothing that matched Joanna’s was filmed going into Tesco Express in Clifton village and buying a mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto pizza. Besides her black rucksack, she carried a white plastic bag containing two bottles of cider bought in Bargain Booze, and a black plastic bag containing (according to PA) something whose identity the police refused to reveal, on the grounds that it was not significant.

The nimble real-life Joanna had managed to scan the pizza, operate the automatic check-out and pay her bill using only her left hand, clutching her two plastic bags in her right hand all the time, whereas the actress purposefully put her two plastic bags down beside the till and used both her hands to scan the pizza.

The actress with the pizza in Joanna’s flat. The kitchen
where this was filmed is not actually at 44 Canynge Road.
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones said: “The [Crimewatch] programme allows us to visually recreate the route home she took with the aim of jogging the memories of those people who may have seen her. The reconstruction may also jog the memories of those people who used Longwood Lane in Failand on Friday 17th December 2010 or over that weekend and have not come forward. This is a valuable opportunity for us to reach out to the nation in their homes.”  The scene with the actress in Tesco was shown on TV two days before Vincent Tabak’s arrest. The sequence of events was all carefully orchestrated.

Who were these unidentified neighbours and residents?

Journalist Peter Dominiczak
Peter Dominiczak, London Evening Standard, 21st January 2011: “There were claims today that Mr Tabak has recently separated from from his girlfriend Tanja Morson, 34. Neighbours indicated Ms Morson, a financial analyst for vacuum company Dyson, had moved out of the ground-floor flat they shared next to Miss Yeates’s apartment in Canynge Road. Residents said American-born Ms Morson, who like Miss Yeates is blonde, had not been seen at the property for several weeks before the police investigation began. One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I do think I'd seen the man around but I hadn't really seen a girlfriend around in the weeks leading up to what happened.’ Ms Morson is believed to be staying in Bath and is understood not to have travelled with Mr Tabak when he went on a trip to Holland on 19th December 2010. ... Mr Tabak, a ‘people flow analyst’ at a Bath engineering consultancy, is believed to have been staying alone, a mile away from the Canynge Road flats, at the home of his friend Emily Williams in Aberdeen Road, where he was arrested by police in the early hours yesterday. A friend said he was deeply in love with Ms Morson.”

Witness statements read by the prosecution at the trial showed conclusively that Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson were still a close couple at least up to four days prior to his arrest, and had confided to friends that they planned to get married. Peter Dominiczak’s false story that they had split up is most likely to have been planted by Amanda Hirst, for the purpose of playing the Tabak and Morson families off against each other.

Why waste column inches with facts when falsehoods boost readership?

John Coles, West Country correspondent for The Sun
(screen image captured from Channel 5 documentary
“Countdown To Murder” ‒ “Joanna Yeates”, 2015) 
Immediately after his arrest on 20th January 2011The Sun (MIKE SULLIVAN, ALEX PEAKE and JOHN COLES) and The Mail were prominent in citing unidentified sources suggesting that (according to an unidentified former colleague) Vincent Tabak’s girlfriend had talked to the police before he was arrested, that Vincent Tabak and Joanna Yeates knew each other professionally through joint projects, and that he could get a good view of Joanna’s legs as she went past his window. None of these other anonymous allegations ever been substantiated. The one about Joanna’s legs would occur only if she went right round the back of the house and then up the driveway on foot wearing a skirt rather than jeans during the eleven winter days when they were actually neighbours.

Without identifying their source at Buro Happold’s offices in Bath, The Sun also claimed that Vincent Tabak had “seemed very happy, happier than normal” just hours before Joanna disappeared. The claim that he and Joanna knew each other was most probably leaked to The Sun by Amanda Hirst to sow doubts in the minds of the magistrate and the duty solicitor during his interrogation at the police station about his truthfulness, since it resulted in his signing a statement in which he declared that he did not know Joanna, nor would he have recognised her until her photo appeared in the newspapers.

Ryan Kisiel
While Vincent Tabak was being questioned by police, journalists Luke Salkeld, Ryan Kisiel, Arthur Martin and Christian Gysin wrote in The Mail: “It is understood he spoke to ex-teacher Chris Jefferies, who had helped her boyfriend Greg Reardon start his car before a trip to Sheffield for the weekend. A neighbour said: ‘When [Vincent] got home on his bike, Chris spoke to him on the drive and told him about what happened with the car.’” As the landlord seems to have made a point of keeping his tenants and neighbours informed of what was going on, this was probably true. However, as its influence on the magistrate would have been prejudicial to Vincent Tabak’s case, the unidentified “neighbour” was most probably Amanda Hirst.

It was at least partly the pressure of the media that led to the polices readiness to find not one but two scapegoats.

The princess and the nobody

The national media chose to ignore the death in Yorkshire of another young woman, Anna Banks, who was strangled five days after Joanna Yeates by her boyfriend, Daniel Lancaster, who had suspected her of infidelity and was sentenced on 11th August 2011 to only four years’ imprisonment for her Manslaughter, six weeks before Vincent Tabak signed his own statement pleading guilty of manslaughter.

One picture is worth a thousand lies

Vincent Tabak in custody
wearing borrowed glasses
As long as he was still being held on remand, many of the media reproduced an attractive smiling studio portrait of Vincent Tabak that he had used for his own CV. However, A & S Constabulary released a grim-faced mugshot of Tabak that clearly reveals how brutally they had been treating him in an effort to extract a confession. It must have been taken soon after he was arrested, as he is still wearing the plastic glasses the police loaned him while his own were taken away for forensic testing. This is the insulting photo of him that was used with uncanny unanimity in every news media immediately after he was convicted and helped convince everyone that really he was the killer of the cuddly smiling girl shown in all the photos of Joanna Yeates. He had not shaved for several days, his hair was unkempt, and the photographer had not encouraged him to relax and smile cheerfully for the camera. There is more than a hint about this face of the use of ruthless interrogation techniques and possibly sophisticated mind-bending drugs developed for use with stubborn captives in Iraq and Afghanistan. This photo also demonstrates that A & S Constabulary treated Tabak in flagrant violation of their own standards of conduct, which state that “Police officers act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy.” How could he look his accusers in the eye when his own customized glasses had been taken away from him and replaced by standard prison issue with plastic lenses to prevent him from committing suicide? He could not see who was speaking to him with the plastic glasses.

Paul and Goliath

Paul Vermeij
(frame grabbed from TV interview on Omroep Brabant)
On 24th January 2011, Vincent Tabak’s family engaged a Dutch media consultant called Paul Vermeij to protect them from the curiosity of the British media. He did his best, but he was no match for the A & S Constabulary’s manipulative Amanda Hirst. He issued a couple of sympathetic photos showing Vincent Tabak as a loving human being enjoying family life with his seven young nieces and nephews, but none that showed him enjoying academic life with his fellow students in Eindhoven, nor emphasizing his professional skills and achievements. The media welcomed his statements, as these went a little way to counteract the efforts of the police and the CPS to portray Vincent Tabak as a brutal non-entity who opened his mouth only to say his name. Paul Vermeij ceased to represent the Tabak family after the Old Bailey hearing on 5th May 2011, when he acknowledged total astonishment that Vincent had apparently pleaded guilty of manslaughter. He had never revealed to the public Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s sensational excursion to Schiphol to interview Tanja and Vincent three weeks before his arrest. Paul Vermeij’s astonishment is one of the many signs that the guilty plea was faked. Both Chief Constable Colin Port and William Clegg QC have worked in the Netherlands, and it cannot be ruled out that it was one of them who briefed Paul Vermeij to offer to “help” the Tabak family deal with the media.

The heavy hand of the censor

Arnoud Breitbarth and Martijn Koolhoven, De Telegraaf, 25th January 2011:
Sources close to the investigation say that the evidence against Vincent T. is not watertight, and that he may have been charged in the face of unrelenting pressure on the police from the media and society. That does not always encourage potential witnesses to come forward. Vincent’s sister has already had several telephone conversations with her brother since his arrest. Although he was not allowed to talk substantively about the case, it is clear that Vincent vehemently denies the charge. “It’s a huge shock to the family – they are overwhelmed by total bewilderment,” said Paul Vermeij from Prinsenbeek.

Although the unattributed assertions in this passage would prove to have been correct, the British media did not report them.

Despite the sensational profile of the defendant, and his international background, Vincent Tabak’s case was never reported in any foreign news media except the Netherlands’. This can be explained only by the needs of the global business and academic communities to avoid frightening experts from working overseas and exchange students from studying abroad. This gives a sinister insight into an undeclared collaboration between the press and big business. How many other international news stories such as this one are deliberately buried?

Alice van der Plas visited Longwood Lane,
but her Dutch public never learnt the truth
about the scapegoating of Vincent Tabak.
(frame grabbed from news report on Omroep Brabant)
The Netherlands’ media did not pay any attention to the killing of Joanna Yeates until Vincent Tabak’s arrest one month after it had taken place, so the Dutch journalists were never exposed to the very public speculation about her boyfriend’s role nor to the spectacular circus of the landlord’s arrest. Although their national media all reported the trial, which was covered from Bristol Crown Court by journalist Alice van der Plas, their public never received a hint that the unlikely defendant was the innocent victim of a cruel frame-up.

Joanna Yeates and her
boyfriend Greg Reardon
Othello and Desdemona

Joanna Yeates’s boyfriend had a better media adviser than Vincent Tabak’s, namely Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s Director of Corporate Communications Amanda Hirst. Probably acting on her suggestions conveyed by Family Liaison Officers Emma Davies and Russ Jones, Greg Reardon from time to time issued a wide variety of cheerful photos showing himself and Joanna together – and the media used these lavishly each time a new batch was released.

The witness

29th December 2010
“POLICE were yesterday forced to deny that Jo Yeates’s boyfriend was a suspect in her murder” declared The Daily Mirror at midnight on the day that DCI Phil Jones took over as leader of “Operation Braid”

In his second witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry dated 10th January 2012, Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace stated: “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. It is not uncommon for the police to give such an indication. I believe that our coverage of this news story should be viewed against that background.” This statement reinforces the possibility that Avon & Somerset Constabulary was the real source of the numerous negative anecdotes attributed by the news media to unnamed ex-tenants and ex-pupils of Christopher Jefferies.

It was the effort that Avon & Somerset Constabulary put into producing the video of her parents’ emotional appeal on 22nd December 2010 that turned Joanna Yeates’s disappearance into a national crisis. Neither the three other persons who went missing nor the other young woman who was strangled that week received any attention in the national media. Because the victim was a young professional woman living in a prosperous suburb, the serious media picked up the story as quickly as the tabloids did. By focussing suspicion on the boyfriend, did The Mirror’s Richard Wallace pressure Avon & Somerset Constabulary into stating that Reardon was a witness and not a suspect? It was after DCI Phil Jones took the stage that a “garbled” version of the landlord’s sighting of Joanna with two other people was leaked to Mirror rival Sky News. The result was that journalists descended on the angry and uncooperative Christopher Jefferies, who involuntarily put on a show as a “nutty professor”. At dawn the next day police arrested the landlord, diverting the attention of the media from Greg Reardon.

Don’t mention the inquest

The Coroner’s Court at Flax Bourton,
where the inquest into Joanna Yeates’s death
was held behind closed doors
None of the news media reported the findings or even the existence of the Coroner’s inquest that was held on 28th March 2011, four days before the deadline for the Crown to present the case papers for its prosecution of Vincent Tabak. The extent of Joanna’s injuries was not revealed to the public, to the defendant, nor, they alleged, even to her parents, until the trial. Nor was its conclusion that she had died at Longwood Lane on Christmas day revealed. This is difficult to reconcile with the Coroner’s stated policy that “all major press offices in Avon are sent a list of what inquests will be taking place and they will choose which inquests to attend.” An off-the-record briefing must therefore have been held to muzzle the media’s curiosity about the findings and instruct editors not to let the public know an inquest had been opened.

Keeping the 43 injuries secret until the trial enabled the prosecution to entrap the defendant. As the full post-mortem results have never been made public, another reason for not mentioning the inquest may be that Joanna may have been pregnant.

The unsound plea hearing

The Old Bailey
On 5th May 2011, after Vincent Tabak had been remanded in virtual isolation for over three months, during which he had been tricked by a retired Salvation Army prison chaplain into supplying the material for a fake confession, the judge and the QCs in the case blackmailed the media to be party to an astonishing and unprecedented conspiracy to deceive and manipulate the public and pervert the cause of justice by destroying the personality and reputation of the accused man. To achieve this, they changed the date of the plea and case-management hearing and its venue at 24 hours’ notice, but tipped off the press and the parents of the victim. By holding it in the Old Bailey in London, they ensured that no other members of the public were witness to the conspiracy. The accused’s manslaughter plea at this hearing was not as sensational as it might have been, because the public had no idea that after his arrest he had denied knowing Joanna Yeates and challenged the validity of the alleged forensic evidence against him. The judge and the QCs staged a highly theatrical discussion about “evidence” of the accused’s sensational (but utterly phoney) “bad character”. The outcome was that the judge Mr. Justice Field ruled that the jury must not hear this, and consequently the media must not report it until after the trial. Furthermore, the media were forbidden to report that this discussion had taken place, nor any details that the court might impose on the way the “evidence” might be represented. The prosecution used the “bad character evidence” to broker an astonishing, unreported deal that would prohibit the jury from hearing the far weightier evidence of the defendant’s good character. The imposition of reporting restrictions turned this hearing into a major off-the-record briefing thereby implicating the news media in the miscarriage of justice and its covering up.

A macabre field trip

On 12th October 2011 the judge Mr. Justice Field, the journalists and the jury were conducted on a field tour to Longwood Lane and the Hophouse pub, from which they retraced the last leg of Joanna Yeates’s walk home to her flat at 44 Canynge Road. The jury were shown both the defendant’s flat (briefly) and the victim’s flat. The press knew very well that main purpose of this macabre field trip was to enable the jurors to decide whether her screams would have been audible outside. However, none of them asked the judge why he did not instruct a female juror to scream inside the flat while her eleven colleagues took up the positions from which witnesses claimed to have heard screams – as Hercule Poirot had asked the nurse to go into the room where the murder was committed and scream in Agatha Christie’s “Murder in Mesopotamia”. (In the TV version, it was Captain Hastings who instigated this test.)

The application by the wolves to humiliate the lamb

Adam Wolanski
The media had six months to chew over the adult pornographic videos and the prostitutes. While the jury was out, Counsel for the Prosecution applied to the judge to continue the reporting restriction after the trial was over. Alarmed at the prospect of being denied a sensation, the media, who had had all their copy and research into prostitutes ready for months, banded together to hire a barrister, Adam Wolanski (who was jointly instructed by The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun newspapers and the BBC), and succeeded in getting the judge to lift the reporting restrictions on the “evidence” itself once the verdict had been delivered. The Press Association and the Bristol Evening Post had each made a separate written submission to the judge. However, the judge did not lift restrictions on reporting the date and place when the discussions had taken place, so the public assumed that these had been during the trial itself rather than six months previously.

None of the media reported the names of the officers who would have testified under oath that they had analysed Vincent Tabak’s computers for pornography and his telephone records for contacts to call-girls. The only local attributions published in the news media were Nigel Lickley QC (whose authority in court does not extend to leading evidence) and unidentified detectives. Nevertheless, the prominence that even the serious media gave to these allegations that their editors would have been well aware were were essentially unfounded caused everyone to believe them.

There are also clear signs that the judge has imposed terms, especially on the editors of the serious media, to groom the media by censoring any reports of the “bad-character evidence” that go into sufficient depth to expose it for the confidence trick it is. It was also conspicuous that the media abruptly started to use the insulting police “mugshot” of Vincent Tabak once he had been convicted, as if the judge had insisted on it as a condition of lifting reporting restrictions. In a shameless display of cronyism, several lawyers not connected with the case publicly praised the judge for withholding the “evidence” of Vincent Tabak’s “bad character” from the jury to prevent his subsequently claiming that his trial had been unfair. However, the course of this case shows that as long as he is represented by Ian Kelcey, he is not going to be allowed to complain about anything.

Three swallows do not make a summer

Martin Evans
The Daily Telegraph noted on 11th October 2011 that Counsel for the Prosecution “did not offer an explanation for why Tabak attacked Miss Yeates”. Its correspondent Martin Evans did find out that San Luis Obispo, where Vincent Tabak stayed one night at his own expense during his five weeks in California in 2010, is about a four-hour drive north from Los Angeles (28th October 2011). The Telegraph’s journalist also worked out that Vincent Tabak’s visit to St Luis Obispo took place at a weekend. The journalist even admitted that it was unclear whether he had made contact with escort girls in the area. “But in reality Tabak was obsessed with violent pornography and prostitutes. He fantasised about women being choked during sex… In May last year, during a brief trip to Newcastle, the 33 year-old logged onto a number of websites offering the contact details of women working as escorts in the North East. The trip, which was paid for by his engineering firm Buro Happold, was only supposed to be for one night, but Tabak booked an extra night’s accommodation, paying for it out of his own pocket, during which he scoured escort agency websites into the early hours of the morning.”

Facts are sacred, but barristers are free to ignore them

Steven Morris
The behaviour of The Guardian was especially revealing, as it was through its Soulmates dating site that Vincent Tabak had met his girlfriend three years prior to the murder – and without her he would never have moved to Bristol. The Guardian made a great sensation out of Vincent Tabak’s interest in adult porn and prostitutes, even though its readers might expect your average murderer to have these kinds of tastes anyway. The paper’s correspondent, Steven Morris, had been in court and was well aware that Joanna Yeates had neither been sexually assaulted nor engaged in consensual sex with Vincent Tabak. He can hardly have been unaware that, whatever the motive had been for strangling her, it had not been sex. Yet he wrote: “When police examined his background after his arrest over the death of Joanna Yeates they unearthed a secret life that they believe helps to explain why he killed his next-door neighbour... Police found that on the morning of the killing, 17 December 2010, Vincent Tabak had accessed a pornographic website, although it is not clear if he viewed any films” – “Detectives claim they established that he made late-night calls to numbers associated with escort agencies. In November Vincent Tabak went to California on business and again began researching sex sites and contacting escort agencies.” (The Guardian, 28th October 2011.) Admittedly Steven Morris did report that San Luis Obispo was 150 miles from Los Angeles. Yet The Guardian never once raised with its educated readership the sensational and bizarre unlikelihood that anyone who was purposeful enough to obtain a Ph.D but had no motive would murder a complete stranger. The Guardian never once drew its readers’ attention to the sympathetic appreciative humanity displayed in the Preface to Vincent Tabak’s doctoral thesis nor the five years he had spent researching it.

The Guardian added: “Tabak was on suicide watch on Friday, and his ordeal in jail is likely to be made worse by revelations of his interest in hardcore pornography, some of which featured strangulation and bondage.” In the light of this candid admission, The Guardian, by publishing these unsubstantiated and dubious revelations, was knowingly guilty of criminal incitement to violence and making itself an accessory to torture.

The eagle swoops on the bandwagon

Terri Judd
The Independent’s Mark Hughes and Sarah Morrison noted, in an article published one month after the disappearance of middle-class, photogenic Joanna Yeates from a wealthy neighbourhood (17th January 2011), that three other missing persons who vanished in the same week had gone unnoticed by the media. They failed to speculate about a possible link between Joanna’s boyfriend and the police.

One month before the end of Vincent Tabak’s trial, The Independent abandoned its proud 25-year-old claim to be “free from party political bias – free from proprietorial influence”.When it came to the “bad character evidence”, The Independent was no better than other serious media, belying its name and founding principles, and echoing all the other media, by emphasizing after the trial (29th October 2011) that the jury was not told about Vincent Tabak’s “fetish for strangling blonde women”. What possible difference did they expect it could have made to the jury’s verdict of murder? Its journalist had had six months to reflect on the bizarre representation by the prosecution of the bespectacled young academic in court as a sexual pervert who stood accused of a motiveless murder with no sexual assault involved. Its journalists did not tell their readers that the jury was not told about Vincent Tabak’s irreproachable character, high education and well-paid job (except by the defendant himself), owing to a sordid lawyers’ deal that was kept from the public. With newspapers like that to dance to the polices and the prosecutions tune, who needs a Propaganda Minister and a secret police? Journalist Terri Judd described Vincent Tabak as “a fan of submission pornography in which women were choked, bound and gagged. His computers revealed violent images of females being held by the neck, degraded and sexually abused”, she continued luridly. “He surfed sex sites for escorts, using the cover of business trips for his assignations... His double life can only be revealed now... police revealed that his DNA had been sent out to forces around the UK, as well as his native Holland, to see if it matched with other sex attacks.” She did not bother to identify the police officers who made this peculiar revelation, nor did she seem to have taken in the fact that all the evidence presented in court had suggested that the attack on Joanna obviously had some other motive than sex.

Mr. Justice Field casts the first stone

The judge Mr. Justice Field refused to let the sex-fixated Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC tell the jury about Vincent Tabak’s allegedly “reprensible secret life” of viewing everyday internet pornography and contacting prostitutes, but after the trial he removed reporting restrictions on these. The judge entered into a deal with counsel to groom the journalists so that they would blazen Vincent Tabak’s innocuous secrets in return for even the serious media not drawing the public’s attention to his obvious lack of any real motive for the killing.

With the help of telephone numbers furnished by the prosecution, the tabloids had a field day after Vincent Tabak’s conviction, publishing interviews not given under oath, in which the call girls the journalists had contacted recounted their alleged encounters with Vincent Tabak the woman strangler. These encounters are certainly complete fabrications, as Detective Inspector Joe Goff told SWNS (November 1st, 2011),  “We never got as far as tracking any of the escorts down.”. DI Goff would have been well aware that the most that the shy Vincent Tabak did would have been to engage in sexy telephone chat, because the prosecution would have lost no opportunity to present a sworn testimony in court to support its allegation of Vincent Tabak’s strangling fetish if he had ever tried anything like it with any prostitute. Not even the serious media stopped to think that publishing these allegations turned their readers and viewers into voyeurs and was a cruel violation of the innocent girlfriend’s private life. In further demonizing Vincent Tabak, even the serious media also disregarded the obviously huge scale of the sex industry and its implications for the large number of normal, non-strangling, loving men on business trips other than Vincent Tabak who pay for bedroom comforts as a substitute for those they are missing from their regular (and in many cases glamorous and loving) partners.

Until well into the 18th century, women who were convicted of prostitution in France and other countries were publicly humiliated as well as being cruelly punished. It can be conjectured that the men who had patronized them were particularly prominent among the crowds who turned out to watch their humiliation. After the ending of the 2nd world war, some of the women in the liberated countries who had fraternized with German soldiers were publicly humiliated by being stripped naked and shorn of their hair. It can also be conjectured that the lawyers and journalists who were so eager to humiliate Vincent Tabak publicly after his trial are themselves enthusiastic viewers of internet pornography and frequent clients of prostitutes while they are away on professional assignments.

There was something phoney about the way the media threw themselves upon Vincent Tabak’s harmless personal and private secrets after the trial, mercilessly fuelled by the relentless and false insistence of the prosecution behind the jury’s back that he had strangled Joanna Yeates for sex. It exposed the trial itself and the lawyers themselves as imposters. The orgy of the public humiliation of Vincent Tabak as an alleged sexual pervert with a strangulation fetish after the trial was deliberately instigated by the judge in collaboration with the prosecution. It had the effect of giving the media a very strong incentive never to reveal this obvious miscarriage of justice. If Vincent Tabak ever lifts his head again, the media all risk libel settlements that would make the landlords look like pin money by comparison. Did the Attorney General, The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC, give the media an unreported licence to defame Vincent Tabak, on condition that they never reveal what they know about the sordid deal between Mr. Lickley and Mr. Clegg?

The lynch mob from Fleet Street

After Vincent Tabak was sentenced, a police spokesman read out a statement on behalf of the Yeates family, containing the following text: “The best we can hope for him is that he spends the rest of his life incarcerated, where his life is a living hell, being the recipient of all the evils, deprivations and degradations that his situation can provide.” The purpose of the police’s unsubstantiated allegation, made after the trial, about images of child abuse being found on Vincent Tabak’s computer, was directed at the inmates of the prison where Vincent Tabak would be serving his sentence. In reporting this uncritically without exposing it for the fraud that it obviously was, the media was acting as a pseudo-judicial agency to instigate those inmates to carry out the Yeates family’s wishes.

Is this the Sobbing Girl?

Hilary Douglas
Chilled to the bone by this weird cyclist: HIS piercing eyes were chilling as he talked, feigning sorrow for Joanna, writes Hilary Douglas. Wearing shorts and a grey cycling helmet, Tabak was a big man, tall and heavily built, towering over me as I interviewed him on a cold and damp afternoon just days before he was arrested. It is easy to see how he would have overpowered her. I had to stand quite close as he spoke surprisingly softly with just the hint of an accent. His calm struck me as odd. Everyone in pairs and no one wanted to speak to strangers but Tabak was pleased, even keen, to chat. It was unnerving. In a conversation that now sends a chill down my spine, he showed no emotion. He spoke carefully and was a convincing talker. All I sensed was a self-pity that I was to see again in court. Even today it makes me feel sick to my stomach.
- Sunday Express, 30th October 2011

The fact is that Hilary Douglas’s interview with Vincent Tabak was discarded until after he was arrested. If she really had found him to be weird, spine-chilling, unnerving, eye-piercing, feigning sorrow, self-pitying etc., then she would have told her editor that she had interviewed someone who behaved like a killer. She would then have tipped off the police and gone down in history as the Sobbing Girl. But none of these things happened, and grey little Hilary Douglas will be remembered as the journalist who screwed up the scoop of the century. She also lied that Vincent Tabak said he had been away on the night when Joanna disappeared and she lied that his girlfriend had left him.

Nice work, if you can get it

“THE killer of Joanna Yeates will receive up to £500,000 from taxpayers to fund his attempt to escape justice!” – The Daily Star, 12th February 2012.

“The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies”

On 10th & 11th December 2014, ITV screened the two parts of a high-profile drama about the landlord that had been filmed in Bristol a year earlier. If the film-makers had read this blog, they certainly avoided answering any of the obvious questions posed by it. ITV left the viewing public with no hint of how far they were being led up Joanna Yeates’s garden path.

Lord Leveson’s Inquiry

Sir Brian Leveson
The Prime Minister announced a two-part inquiry investigating the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal, on 13th July 2011. Lord Justice Leveson was appointed as Chairman of the Inquiry, which was constituted like a court of law. The witnesses who had submitted signed statements were cross-examined by Sir Robert Jay QC. Although the public gallery in courtroom 73 at the Royal Courts of Justice could seat only 14 persons, both live and recorded video and transcripts of the Inquiry proceedings were made public via the internet. The witness statements were also published. Lord Leveson also put questions of his own to the witnesses.

Robert Jay QC
On 27th March 2012, Chief Constable Colin Port, Head of Corporate Communications Amanda Hirst and Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones were cross-examined at the Leveson Inquiry into the witness statements they had submitted about the conduct by Avon & Somerset Constabulary of the Joanna Yeates investigation, and about the role played by the media. The Inquiry failed to expose even a whisker of the massive conspiracy at the Old Bailey to delude the public, pervert the course of justice and subject the defendant to a subsidiary “trial by media” by the use of the so-called “bad character evidence” and the unreported suppression of “good character evidence” between 4th May and 28th October 2011. Mr. Jay failed entirely to confront the deceitful Phil Jones with the astonishing tissue of bare-faced lies and evasions with which this manifestly untrustworthy witness had answered nearly all of the legitimate questions put to him by journalists at the news conference held by the police the day after the initial post-mortem examination on Joanna’s body had been completed.

Although the brief arrest and unique, prolonged bail of Mr. Jefferies was the pretext for a major abuse of power, whereas the equally unlikely suspect Vincent Tabak was arrested, charged and eventually convicted, Lord Leveson showed no interest in the huge ethical and legal issues raised by media attention paid to the young Dutch engineering expert, but focused solely on issues relating to the retired landlord. His Inquiry took these at their face value, however, and the public remains totally unaware that Leveson allowed himself to be completely taken in by the false witness of both the police and the landlord himself. This proves that no credibility can be attached to the Inquiry as a whole, let alone the political process resulting from it. It was a whitewash.

Richard Wallace testifies
(source: The Telegraph)
Richard Wallace, editor of The Mirror, testified to the Leveson Inquiry that, after the landlord’s arrest, his newspaper had received off-the-record information from the police that they were confident that they had the right man in custody. Colin Port expressed outrage at this and insisted that his force never gave off-the-record briefings, nor behaved in a collusive manner. This is at odds with the facts:
  • The journalists were evidently briefed not to reveal the scale of the recovery operation by four pumping tenders and 23 fire officers at Longwood Lane.
  • They were absolutely forbidden to make any mention of the inquest.
  • The Old Bailey hearing was in effect an off-the-record briefing for the media, as the public were tricked into staying away. The journalists were formally prohibited from reporting the lawyers’ discussions about the “evidence of bad character” until authorised to do so, and the dates and venues of these discussion were subject to a permanent reporting restriction.
Colin Port
The entire timeline of the case reveals numerous serious instances of collusion between Colin Port and his officers, William Clegg QC and his instructing solicitor, Ann Reddrop of the CPS, and various specific news media. The Leveson Inquiry also failed to cross-examine the witnesses from Avon & Somerset Constabulary about other issues of major ethical significance related to the Joanna Yeates case.

Ten days before Vincent Tabak’s arrest, The Mirror published a hare-brained scorned-suitor theory for Joanna’s killing, attributed to unnamed detectives, which closely pre-empted the unlikely scenario that formed the basis of his defence at the trial. The Leveson Inquiry never asked any questions about this.

On his arrest, Vincent Tabak formally protested about the misuse of his case to promote LGC Forensics by means of a long succession of stories about DNA leaked to selected newspapers. This can be seen both from the stories actually published and also from the trial, which was the first occasion when the general public learnt of his objections. The fact of his conviction does not lessen the legitimacy of this as a serious matter for public concern.

After Vincent Tabak’s arrest, unattributed stories (mostly citing the police as source, but all bearing Amanda Hirst’s stamp) were leaked to selected tabloids alleging that:
  • his arrest was the result of an anonymous tip-off that the police had received from a sobbing girl
  • his girlfriend had left him some time ago. Since the absence of any foundation for both of these allegations emerged at the trial, the systematic manipulation by police of the media to alienate a suspect’s partner or spouse is a legitimate matter for public concern that is not lessened by his conviction
  • his girlfriend’s brother was 100% certain that he would be charged with murder
  • DNA found on Joanna’s breast pointed to a sexual assault by her killer
  • Vincent Tabak and Joanna knew each other professionally
  • he had been unusually cheerful at work on the day Joanna went missing
  • the landlord had told Vincent Tabak that Joanna’s boyfriend had gone to Sheffield, leaving her alone
  • the bricked-up doorway between the two flats made it easy for sound to travel between the two ground-floor flats at 44 Canynge Road
  • Joanna’s body may have been taken from her home in a large bag or suitcase
  • the car carrying it had been captured on CCTV crossing the Clifton suspension bridge
Amanda Hirst
None of these leaks was discussed during the cross-examination at the Leveson Inquiry of the three witnesses from Avon & Somerset Constabulary who were involved in the Joanna Yeates case. With four exceptions, none of the items was referred to in the trial. The DNA on Joanna’s body did form part of the evidence, though, and it does also seem likely that her body had been transported in a large bag or suit-case – though not by Vincent Tabak. All the other leaks must, therefore, be assumed to have been pure fabrications.

These numerous leaks to the news media were timed so as to prejudice Vincent Tabak’s duty solicitor and the QCs she instructed, the magistrates who were asked to approve his continued detention, and the 12 members of the public who would subsequently form the jury at his trial. The jurors would certainly remember at least some of these false news stories when they came to listen to the testimony during the trial, yet the judge instructed them neither to research the case outside the courtroom nor to take account of anything they did not hear inside the courtroom. The failure of the Leveson Inquiry to address any of these issues during the cross-examination of three senior staff from Avon & Somerset Constabulary shows that the Inquiry was contaminated by the imposition of some kind of gag. It was another example of Sherlock Holmes’s curious case of the dog that did not bark in the night.

The ‘missing’ sock was evidence
that the killing had been personal,
rather than arbitrary as the SIO
was so determined to pretend
Amanda Hirst told the Leveson Inquiry: “On 4th January 2011 we were contacted by the crime editor of The Sun, who had heard that three items of clothing – a sock, a shoe, and something else – were missing when Joanna’s body was found. This was information that the SIO did not want in the public domain as it may have been a matter which he wanted to put to any possible offender. However, it was clear that The Sun would run the story on a ‘scoop’ basis regardless of our view. As a result the decision was taken to hold a press conference the following day when The Sun story broke.”

In her witness statement, Amanda Hirst answered a question about leaks from Avon & Somerset Constabulary to the media and/or private detectives by stating: “I am not aware of any leaks from the Constabulary and have never come across private detectives”. Like Chief Constable Colin Port, she lied directly to the Leveson Inquiry.

Hypocrite, first cast out the beam from thine own eye

Hugh Grant and Divine Brown in police custody
The hypocrisy and malice of the media is revealed by the difference between their reaction in 2011 to Vincent Tabak’s alleged use of an adult services portal while away on two business trips with their reaction to that of British actor and Leveson Inquiry witness Hugh Grant, who in 1995 was convicted of illegally having sex with a prostitute in a car parked in a Los Angeles street. In contrast to the reporting of Vincent Tabak, no newspaper reported Grant’s misdemeanor as “Respectable life of loving boyfriend revealed as a sordid lie”. Even the journalists employed by the serious media - who themselves, of course, never view an adult pornographic video, nor visit a prostitute - were unanimous that it was a scandal that the jury trying Vincent Tabak was left ignorant of what “the police believed was important evidence”. The real scandal is that the Leveson Inquiry remains ignorant of the important evidence Vincent Tabak could testify about his own “trial by media”.

Hugh Grant testified to the Leveson Inquiry on 21st November 2011. He had submitted a witness statement and followed this up with a supplement. A further supplement and a submission from him followed in February and July 2012 respectively. None of his evidence had any bearing on the Joanna Yeates case as such nor his encounter in Los Angeles.

A man of integrity is compromised

Christopher Jefferies
Journalist Rachel Cooke,
The Observer
Christopher Jefferies told The Observer’s Rachel Cooke (18th December 2011) that it was important for him that Vincent Tabak admitted killing Joanna Yeates. “Had he maintained his innocence, there would have always have been a slight suspicion around me.” However, these so-called admissions by Vincent Tabak were cleverly faked by the lawyers. There is now little doubt that Mr. Jefferies’s innocent tenant was wrongly convicted, so the landlord is by no means off the hook. He may not have the power to prevent his tenants from killing each other, but the case has certainly given him the power, the resources and the public respect to take some responsibility for the appalling fate and public humiliation of another of his tenants. The educated Mr. Jefferies can hardly fail to be aware how bizarre the conviction of a highly educated, courteous, civilised Vincent Tabak was for killing another tenant out of boredom. Mr. Jefferies knows only too well what it is like to be dragged out of bed and arrested for a crime you have not committed. His mysterious failure after more than three years to receive compensation from the police for the violation of his human rights is another factor that implicates the landlord himself indirectly in this sordid miscarriage of justice.

Both Christopher Jefferies and Hugh Grant are prominent members of the Hacked-Off campaign, which lobbies for press restraints that favour the police. This role may have been imposed on the landlord as a condition for his release from custody.

DCI Phil Jones
DCI Phil Jones lied to the Leveson Inquiry about the reason for Mr. Jefferies’s prolonged bail, attributing it to the need to complete forensic examinations in the landlord’s apartment. These were delayed, he added luridly, by the discovery of a pair of bloodstained trainers at the back of a cupboard. The draconian real reason was to silence one of the last people to have seen Joanna alive – probably at a time when the jury would be told she was dead.

There is a grim irony in the rise to fame of this 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 truth it contains about Joanna’s last weekend and about the innocence of Vincent Tabak. In his testimony to the Leveson Inquiry, Mr. Jefferies blamed the news media alone for his vilification, even though both he and his lawyer knew full well that it was the police’s Amanda Hirst who, with full intent, actually triggered the entire media circus by leaking the garbled version of the landlord’s 2nd witness statement to Sky News on the very day when DCI Phil Jones was appointed CIO for “Operation Braid”.