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 Police, their Prisoner, and their Witness

“The law is a ass – a idiot”

– Mr. Bumble, in “Oliver Twist”, by Charles Dickens, 1838

Joanna Yeates
Officers from Avon & Somerset Constabulary known to have been involved in the Joanna Yeates case

Most of these are listed below in the order in which they became involved in “Operation Braid”, starting with the senior officers. Vincent Tabak was questioned by WPC Anneliese Jackson on 20th December 2010, by an unidentified detective on 21st December 2010, and by DC Karen Thomas on 31st December 2010. His arrest and interrogation began with DC Geoffrey Colvin on 20th January 2011.

(The evidence of a very high-level cover-up to shield their “witness”, Joanna’s boyfriend, is listed at the end of this post)

Chief Constable
Colin D. Port 
The name of the Port family has been associated with Etwall, Derbyshire, since the 15th century. Bequests from Sir John Port the Younger were used to found one of England’s most eminent public schools at nearby Repton. As High Sherriff in the reign of Catholic Queen Mary 1st he had been associated with the execution in Derby of a blind 22-year-old, Joan Waste, for holding Protestant views. His father Sir John Port the Elder had also been a firm upholder of law and order, and was involved in the trials of Sir Thomas More, John Fisher and Queen Anne Boleyn.

Colin D. Port (57), Chief Constable, Avon & Somerset Constabulary, throughout the period of the Joanna Yeates case. Witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry, 21st March 2012: “My career in the police service began in 1974 in the Greater Manchester Police. I was promoted through the ranks to Chief Inspector with a strong emphasis on criminal investigation work. In 1989 I joined the Warwickshire Constabulary on promotion to Detective Superintendent and took charge of Crime Operations. I was promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent and appointed Head of CID in 1991. In 1994 I was appointed as the Investigations Co-ordinator to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In this capacity I led a large multi-disciplinary/multi-lingual/multi-cultural team operating in differing geographical locations throughout the former Yugoslavia and the Netherlands. In 1995/96 I was appointed Director of Investigations to the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda which involved leading and developing an investigative/prosecution team for the Tribunal. I returned to Warwickshire in 1996 to establish a new organisational development department and later as Acting Assistant Chief Constable I had responsibility for leading and co-ordinating Operational Policing. Later that year, I was appointed as the Assistant Chief Constable and head of the South East Regional Crime Squad (SERCS). This was an organisation of approximately 700 people investigating the top echelon of criminality who were engaged in such activities as contract killings, armed robbery, gun running, people smuggling and drug distribution. I was appointed the Deputy Chief Constable of Norfolk in June 1998. In April 1999 I was appointed the “Officer in overall command” of the Rosemary Nelson murder investigation in Northern Ireland. This was the first (and to date the only) time that a police officer from England has headed a live criminal investigation in Northern Ireland. I left that investigation officially in 2002 and returned to my duties in Norfolk. I became Acting Chief Constable of Norfolk and was appointed to my present position on 27th January 2005. I am currently the ACPO lead for international policing.”

In his Witness Statement about the conduct of “Operation Braid”, Colin Port made a fleeting reference to Amanda Knox, who had flown home to Seattle, after four years in an Italian prison, on the very day that Vincent Tabak’s trial opened. Although the Chief Constable is the only person to have publicly linked these two cases, there is no doubt that his detectives had learnt a great deal about scapegoating from the successes and mistakes of Monica Napoleoni, Perugia’s counterpart to DCI Phil Jones.

No stranger to scandal

From 2007 or 2008 until 2011Colin Port was a member of the board of Southwest One, a joint venture company for supplying back-office services, formed between IBM, Avon & Somerset Constabulary, Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council. His wife, Susan Barnes, had been hired as a consultant to set up the project and also became a member of its board. The stated purpose of this venture was to save the taxpayer money, but, according to Ian Liddell-Grainger MP and other critics, it ended up costing them several hundred million pounds instead. Caesar’s wife should be seen to be above suspicion. Colin Port resigned his directorship on 15th September 2011.

In May 2009, the High Court in London ordered Colin Port to return 87 computer hard discs and several hundred illegal photographs showing children being abused, which had been seized by police from the home of an expert witness, Trevor James Bates. Jim Bates was a respected middle-aged computer “geek” who evidently fell foul of some police officers and had thereupon been subjected to a campaign of character assassination. The Chief Constable refused to comply with the order, so in June 2009 Colin Port was summonsed to appear before the Royal Courts of Justice in London, and given the choice of complying with the order or facing prison for contempt of court. With great reluctance, he chose to comply.

Ann Reddrop
of the Crown Prosecution Service
A Chief Constable who is no stranger to scandal is vulnerable to pressure from powerful outside interests to abuse his position on their behalf. These two cases suggest that one or more of the influential persons who kept Colin Port out of trouble when he was in office may, in return, have pressed him to endorse all the large and small irregularities of policing that made possible the cruel scapegoating of Vincent Tabak, so as to ensure that the real killer of Joanna Yeates escaped punishment. There is, furthermore, a thin blue line linking the involvement of Colin Port and Ann Reddrop with child abuse images to Vincent Tabak’s demonstrably fabricated charge for possessing some of these.

Don’t give off-the-record briefings?

Richard Wallace, Editor of The Mirror
Richard Wallace, editor of The Mirror newspaper, in his witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry: “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.” Colin Port’s reaction to this on 27th March 2012 was that this 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.” Colin Port was asked on the same occasion why Christopher Jefferies was held on bail for six weeks after Vincent Tabak’s arrest. In his answer he explained that Vincent Tabak went “no comment” except for a very small part of the interview, so there’s always a question hanging.

The docile Dutch dog

A well-known remark by Sherlock Holmes (in a story published in 1892) refers to “the curious incident of the dog in the night”. The dog was in the stable, yet did nothing when a thief stole a valuable race-horse in the night. Holmes deduced that the dog knew the thief well enough not to bark. The Royal Netherlands Embassy did nothing when Vincent Tabak was remanded in Long Lartin prison, nor when he was denied visitors for nearly three weeks after his arrest, nor when a detective constable from Bristol testified at his trial that she had interviewed him as a suspect at Schiphol apparently without cautioning him and without respect for Netherlands sovereignty. The inference is that the Dutch authorities knew Chief Constable Colin Port well enough from the period when he was stationed in the Netherlands not to make a noise. This inference is reinforced by their silence in the face of Vincent Tabak’s gratuitous public humiliation in the British media after his trial.

In November 2012, Sue Mountstevens was elected as the first Police & Crime Commissioner for Avon & Somerset. She informed Colin Port that if he wanted to remain Chief Constable, he would have to re-apply for the job. He declined to do so, and resigned with immediate effect.

The Corporate Communications chief

Amanda Hirst
Amanda Hirst: Head of Corporate Communications at Avon & Somerset Constabulary since April 2009. As such, she bears a major part of the responsibility for using Joanna’s parents and her best friend to make “Operation Braid” a high-profile case. This enabled Ms Hirst to groom the press and the public to engender exaggerated sympathy for the victim so as to pave the way for the subsequent witch-hunt against the scapegoat. She used the methods of politics to whip up hatred against Vincent Tabak, just as if he were a fallen dictator, thereby distracting public attention from the weakness of the case against him.

In her witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry dated 28th February 2012, she maintained that all contact with the media passed through her department. “My responsibilities span media and public relations, marketing and communications, web, social and other digital media. I have worked in the public sector for many years, previously as Head of Communications and Customer Relations at the London Borough of Southwark for seven years and prior to that as Head of Communications at Reading Borough Council for a similar length of time. My early career was spent in marketing and communications roles within the private sector. I have never worked directly for a media organisation.”

Christopher Jefferies
This indicates that it was Amanda Hirst who authorised the leak of a garbled version of the landlord Christopher Jefferies’s 2nd witness statement to Sky News or another news medium on 28th December 2010. The initiative for this leak, however, may be attributed to the CPS’s Ann Reddrop, and its authorisation to DCI Phil Jones, who had just been appointed leader of “Operation Braid”. Amanda Hirst may very well have been the true source of the numerous negative anecdotes about Mr. Jefferies attributed to unnamed ex-pupils and ex-tenants of his that were published in many of the news media just after he had been arrested.

Amanda Hirst told the Leveson Inquiry: “On the evening of Sunday 2 January [2011] ... there were negotiations with a journalist and the editor of a national tabloid newspaper to avoid the publication of potentially compromising detail relating to DNA found on Joanna. In this instance we reached a compromise.” The newspaper was The Mail, whose editor is Paul Dacre, and the source for the exclusive report it carried the following day is unspecified. Was this the leak that Vincent Tabak on his arrest alleged had been leaked to the media by a privately employed forensic scientist for financial gain? Was LGC Forensics an active player in these negotiations in the immediate aftermath of the arrest and release of the landlord Christopher Jefferies?

Not until 8th January 2011 did officers issue any statements indicating that they were investigating any persons with sex offences, known histories of violent behaviour, and attacks against women. According to The Mail: “Murder squad officers will focus their inquiries on sex offenders who have a ‘predilection’ for violence towards adult women. A police source said: ‘As the inquiry continues, it will be necessary for officers to eliminate who might fall into a category of potential killer.’ A senior probation source said: ‘Detectives will be liaising closely with Mappa officials to identity potential suspects. Men who have a history of stalking or obsessive behaviour towards women will also come under close scrutiny.’” No explanation ever emerged as to why Vincent Tabak, whose history was exemplary, should have fallen under the police’s suspicion, rather than any of the thousands of other persons who did not know Joanna Yeates and could not prove that they were not in the vicinity of her route home at the time. None of the officers was identified, so this must be assumed to have been one of Amanda Hirst’s smokescreens.

The victim’s parents, Teresa & David Yeates
Amanda Hirst must have been the instigator of the manipulative campaign against Vincent Tabak’s girlfriend. It began with an emotional appeal from the victim’s parents to anyone who was shielding the killer, staged three days before Vincent Tabak’s arrest. Unattributed allegations were then circulated in some media that she had dumped him, and an exclusive story that his arrest on 20th January 2011 was the result of an anonymous tip-off from a “sobbing girl” was leaked to The Sun newspaper (21st Janury 2011). Witness testimony during the trial showed both of these to have been completely false, and the “sobbing girl” story shows signs of having been devised by Ann Reddrop as part of the CPS’s strategy for tricking the duty solicitor. The day after Vincent Tabak’s arrest, other media quoted an unattributed statement from the police first reported in The Sun newspaper (21st Janury 2011) that partial DNA traces on Joanna Yeates’s breast and jeans might show that she had been sexually assualted (contrary to earlier statements about the pathology of the body and witness testimony in court that had revealed that she had not been raped). The unidentified source in the police asserted that the traces could rule out suspects, but might not be sufficient to prove that an individual is guilty.

Ms Hirst was the first, and for a long time the only, officer to have been named in connection with the allegations of Vincent Tabak’s possession of illegal images of child abuse.

ACC Rod Hansen,
Gold Commander,
“Operation Braid”
Assistant Chief Constable Rod Hansen

According to evidence given by DCI Phil Jones to the Leveson Inquiry, ACC Rod Hansen was the Gold Commander for the investigation into the fate of Joanna Yeates. He had been a hostage negotiator since 1998 and acted as the South-West Regional Co-ordinator for negotiating.

Bristol’s Chief Superintendent 

Chief Superintendent
Jonathan Stratford
Chief Superintendent Jonathan Stratford was the public face of “Operation Braid” on Christmas eve and Christmas day. According to This is Bristol, 24th December 2010, Avon and Somerset Police Chief Superintendent Jon Stratford today told reporters outside the Clifton home of the 25-year-old architect that the hunt for Joanna will carry on right through Christmas, and that he was hopeful of finding her alive. He said: “This is still a missing person investigation and we hope there is some explanation behind this and to return her back to her family. We have 30 detectives working full time on this and another 40 officers in forensics and in search and other roles. It is very, very unusual for someone to go missing from their home in Clifton, which is why we have serious concerns about Joanna but we are determined to get to the bottom of this and find her.”

Journalists asked if there are any links between Joanna’s disappearance and cases such as Melanie Hall [whose murder in 1996 was still actively being investigated] or Claudia Lawrence, the [York] chef who went missing in March last year [2009]. Mr Stratford confirmed that the officers involved in the Claudia Lawrence case have been in touch with police in Bristol, but there is no suggestion as yet that there is any connection between the case. He added that they have found nothing to suggest that Jo has come to harm and they will continue the search. Mr Stratford said: “We are a 24/7, 365 day organisation, I can reassure people that our team will not stop for Christmas and we will continue to look for Jo throughout the period.”
CS Jon Stratford and Darren Bane (right)
at Longwood Lane on 25th December 2010.
(Source: frame grabbed from BBC video report) 
The deputy district commander for Bristol told the Bristol Evening Post on 6th January 2011 that he had complete faith in the investigation team working tirelessly to track down whoever was responsible for the death of Joanna Yeates. He added that there was nothing to suggest that there was an increased threat to women in the area. In connection with Joanna Yeates’s disappearance and the discovery of her body, the police did not issue warnings to the general public to be especially vigilant until after her landlord was released on bail. Then the police warned women not to go out alone after dark.

Darren Bane, Deputy Head of Corporate Communications until February 2012. Initial lead press officer on the Joanna Yeates murder enquiry. Since April 2012, Temporary Media and Communications Officer with Avon & Somerset  Fire & Rescue Service. On 28th December 2010, he told “This is Bath”: “The difficult conditions in which she was found, particularly the frozen condition of her body, means that the post-mortem has still not been concluded.”

The leader of the search for the missing princess

DS Mark Saunders
Head of the Major Crime Review Team
(Frame captured from The Telegraph)
Detective Superintendant Mark Saunders: The leader of the investigation into Joanna Yeates’s disappearance and its public face for the first three days. On 21st December 2010, Det. Supt. Saunders said Joanna’s disappearance was a “complete mystery. This is out of character for Jo. There is no obvious explanation as to why she has disappeared. This is not something she has ever done before. She is a vivacious, sensible, professional woman. We are concerned for her welfare and need help from the public. We have gone through every normal scenario as to where she could be but nothing has turned up.” He added that Joanna had been suffering from headaches in the week before her disappearance but had not checked into any hospital for treatment. Joanna had no plans for the weekend when she vanished. Her boyfriend Greg Reardon had returned home from a family trip to Sheffield at 8.00 p.m. on Sunday to find Joanna missing. He called friends and worried family and alerted the police in the early hours of Monday morning when he found no one had heard from her since Friday.

CCTV of Joanna Yeates in Waitrose
According to the report in “This is Bristol” on 22nd December 2010, Det. Supt. Mark Saunders said: “We have uncovered CCTV of her road from Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning and there was a lot of movement on the street. There were people in cars and pedestrians and we are asking anyone who may have seen anything to contact us. We have further CCTV of Jo in Waitrose in Clifton at around 8.10 p.m. after she left The Ram pub which shows what she was wearing. The last sighting we have of her is in Tescos on Regent Street at 8.40 p.m. on Friday. To the best of our knowledge, no one has heard from her from then. It is completely baffling. It is very unusual.” Det. Supt. Saunders added that Joanna had no mental health problems or any apparent reason that would lead to disappearance. He refused to comment on whether she had been seen on CCTV from her road on Friday night. Det. Supt. Saunders said there were no signs of a struggle at the flat. He failed to reveal that Joanna’s own landlord had reported seeing two or three persons on her front path on the evening she disappeared, nor did he appeal to them to come forward.

Joanna was captured twice by this camera in Waitrose,
first crossing from left to right, then, after a few
moments, returning the way she had come. In between,
a tall shadowy figure is seen abandoning his trolley (right)
and making his way purposefully towards the exit (left). 
“As her disappearance was so out of character, the police were already concerned for her safety,” wrote journalist Tina Orr Monro in the February 2012 issue of Police magazine, “and several items, including the bedding from the couple’s first floor flat, were sent to a forensic laboratory for analysis, although nothing of significance was discovered.”

From the outset, the investigation was codenamed “Operation Braid”, after a video game about a man searching for a princess who has been snatched by a horrible and evil monster. Princess Joanna’s own hair was never long enough to be braided, but the personalities of all those involved became increasingly ambiguous and untrustworthy, just as they do in the game. Det. Supt. Mark Saunders was evidently never in any doubt that she had been abducted, and that a major crime had been committed.

A murder is announced

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones: (From testimony to the Leveson Inquiry, 28th February 2012) “I am a Detective Chief Inspector with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary. I have 23 years service and during this time I have worked in a variety of operational roles both in uniform and as a detective, I have spent the last 11 years in a detective role and have progressed from the rank of Detective Sergeant to Detective Chief Inspector, Upon promotion to Detective Chief Inspector in October 2008, I was posted to the Constabulary’s Major Crime Investigation Team as a Senior Investigating Officer (“SIO”). This team takes the investigative lead for all homicides within the Avon and Somerset force area and following collaboration in January 2011 this has included the Wiltshire Police force area. In June 2010 I gained PIP Level III accreditation as an SIO. PIP (Professionalising Investigation Programme) is a national formal academic accreditation which recognises the professionalism and competence of investigators within the Police Service through assessment in the workplace. To achieve this accreditation I was required to evidence my competence as a Senior Investigator in the investigation of major crime and demonstrate my ability to deliver professional, ethical and effective investigations.”

Tuesday 28th December 2010: Chief Superintendant Jonathan Stratford chaired a press conference. He introduced Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, who read out a prepared statement:

“The investigation into the death of 25-year-old Joanna Yeates is now a murder investigation and I am leading that investigation. As you know, the post-mortem examination has taken longer than usual, because of the frozen condition of her body. The pathologist completed his examination last night and concluded that the cause of her death was compression of the neck, in other words strangulation. As a result of the findings of the post-mortem we believe that Joanna’s body has been in the roadside verge off Longwood Lane, Failand, for several days before being discovered on Christmas morning.”

The entrance to Durnford Quarry
“I am keen to hear from anybody who saw or heard anything or anyone acting suspiciously in the Longwood Lane area, particularly the area near to the entrance of Durnford Quarry over the last week, but in particular the weekend of Friday, December 17th to Sunday 19th December. This is the weekend when we experienced heavy snow in the area.”

“However small or insignificant you think your information might be, please come forward and speak to us. Please don’t assume that we may have been told the information that you have. We would rather be told the same piece of information several times over than not be told it at all.”

“Today we are continuing our meticulous search of the area in which Joanna was found in order to make sure that we capture any potential evidence that may be there. There are a number of other lines of inquiry that we are pursuing. One of these is inevitably going to be how Joanna got from her home in Clifton to Longwood Lane, which is about three miles away. This means that we will be looking at any possible routes that could have been taken to get to and from that location. This includes reviewing relevant CCTV footage from cameras on the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which is an obvious link between the locations. However, this is just one of a number of routes that could have been taken, and we need to make sure that we cover every possibility.”

After listing the shops Joanna had entered on her way home, DCI Jones went on: “At the time she would have arrived home, which would have been approximately 8.45 p.m., there were other pedestrians and vehicles in Canynge Road at that time, and we would like anybody in the area of Canynge Road to please come forward.”

“I met Joanna’s family yesterday, and we have informed them of all the very latest developments and findings. I do of course offer them my heartfelt condolences at this tragic time. As you know, they were in the Bristol area yesterday, where they formally identified their daughter’s body, and also visited the scene where she was found.”

“Somebody out there does know what happened to Joanna. Somebody out there is holding that vital piece of information we need to provide Joanna’s family with the answers they need and they want. We know how she died – What we have to do next is to try and find out why she was killed and who was responsible.”

Chief Superintendant Stratford then gave journalists seven minutes in which to ask questions. Subsequent testimony in court by the pathologist and other witnesses under oath would reveal that DCI Jones’s answers to the following questions were bare-faced lies:
  • Caroline Gammell, Daily Telegraph: “Was there any other sign of injury or marks on Joanna’s body?” – Jones: “None significant. As I say, the cause of death was a compression to the neck which was strangulation, and that was the cause of death.” Caroline Gammell: “There were no marks on the hands?” – Jones: “Well, nothing significant.”
  • Ryan Parry, Daily Mirror: “Was Joanna fully clothed when she was found?” – Jones: “She was clothed, yes.” Ryan Parry: “Was there anything missing from her person, items of clothing, a shoe or…?” – Jones: “She was fully clothed.”
  • An unidentified journalist: “Can I just check – her coat – we heard her coat was in the flat. Is that correct?” – Jones: “Yes.” [unidentified]: “Did she have a coat on when she was found?” – Jones: “As I said, she was fully clothed.” [unidentified]: “But did she have a coat on?” – Jones: “Well, I’m not prepared to discuss that.”
The deceitful and manipulative DCI Jones was well aware of the Home Office pathologist’s report describing Joanna’s fractured nose and the forty or so bruises distributed all over her body. These were hardly insignificant. DCI Jones was well aware that she was dressed only in indoor clothes, that one of her feet was bare, and that she was without shoes. “Fully clothed” may mean that she was not wearing knickers under her jeans. DCI Jones answered the following sensible questions with evasive answers such as: “We are pursuing several lines of inquiry”, even though he already knew the answers to most of these:
  • Neil Fison, The Sun: “Had Joanna eaten the pizza or not?”
  • Alison Mostyn: “Do you believe that Joanna was held somewhere before she was killed? Do you think she was killed at the spot where she was found?”
  • Mark Stone, Sky News: “Have you got any suspects in mind? I’m wondering whether anything unexpected came out of the post-mortem.”
  • Ryan Parry, Daily Mirror: “Were there any indications at all at the flat that there was anyone there other than Joanna, any signs of a struggle or an intruder?”
  • Nigel Dandy, BBC Radio Bristol: “Was any attempt made to hide Joanna’s body? Locals are saying it couldn’t have been there for a long time as they would have seen it.”
  • Steven Morris, The Guardian: “Any sign of any sexual assault?”
  • Ryan Kisiel, Daily Mail: “Have you heard from any other women who have been approached by strange men in the area in recent months, who hadn’t come forward before?”
  • An unidentified jornalist: “Have you got any suggestion that the person who murdered her was known to her or a stranger, or is there no way you can tell at this stage?”
DCI Jones was well aware that the pathologist had found no evidence of sexual assault.
  • A journalists for ITN News: “Is Greg Reardon a suspect?” Jones: “No, he’s a witness in this investigation.”
  • Jim Morris, Evening Post: “What about his mobile and laptop?” Jones: “That forensic examination is still on-going.” 
As Chief Investigating Officer for “Operation Braid”, it must have been DCI Phil Jones who assigned the officers to arrest Christopher Jefferies on 30th January 2010 and the detectives who questioned him until his release on 1st January 2011. The names of these officers have never been made public. The police spokesman who announced the arrest and release was also anonymous.

A light-coloured 4x4 vehicle in Longwood Lane
3rd January 2011: DCI Phil Jones held his first press conference of 2011. He said: “At this time I cannot say where or when Jo was killed, or when her body was left on Longwood Lane. The significant snowfall in the early hours of Saturday 18th December 2010 has a considerable impact on this, and I am working with numerous forensic specialists to determine the timings... We have had a number of reports of vehicles in Longwood Lane during the late Friday evening and early hours of Saturday morning, including a possibly light-coloured 4x4 vehicle. This 4x4 and the other vehicles may be completely unconnected but I urge anyone in that car or any other driver in the vicinity that night to come forward.”

It is very probable that both this vehicle and the witnesses were invented by DCI Jones, to reinforce the theory that Joanna’s body had been dumped by the roadside before the heavy snowfall had taken place, and that the 4x4 had been driven either by the killer himself, or by an accomplice attempting to locate and hide the body after the killer was elsewhere obtaining an alibi. This vehicle would never be referred to during the trial.

DCI Phil Jones with a sock
similar to the one found on
Joanna Yeates’s left foot
5th January 2011: Eleven days after Joanna Yeates’s body had been found, the police revealed that one of her socks was missing. At a press conference, DCI Phil Jones told journalists: “When Jo Yeates was found on Christmas Day morning in Longwood Lane, although she was fully clothed, she was not wearing her jacket, she was not wearing her boots, and she was only wearing one sock. The jacket and the boots have been found at her home address. That would indicate that Jo had returned home. However, at this present time, the sock has not been found. It has not been found at Longwood Lane and it has not been found at her home address. The sock itself is similar to this, similar in colour. This is a ski-type sock, and this would fit a Size 5, which was Jo’s shoe size. I would emphasize that this is similar in colour to the sock that we have found on Jo and the sock which is missing.”

He did not rule out the possibility that this sock had been used to strangle her nor that it had been taken by her killer as a trophy. By that time he had in his possession the report of the pathologist Dr. Russell Delaney, who had noted that no ligature had been used for the killing. In contrast to his unimaginative colleague DC Karen Thomas, DCI Phil Jones is gifted with a lurid imagination: after the trial, he still maintained that the reason Vincent Tabak took the missing sock was to keep it as a trophy (Bristol Evening Post, 31st October 2011). If that were the case, why did detectives not find it among his trophy collection after he was arrested? Surely someone as intelligent as Vincent Tabak would have avoided the risk of taking a trophy from a victim who lived next-door, knowing that the police would be turning the entire house over looking for clues? Wouldn't a more plodding, unimaginative officer have told the media that he did not rule out the possibility that Joanna had been undressed and was interrupted in the act of dressing before she had had time to put her second sock on?

The Old Bailey,
After the plea and case management hearing at the Old Bailey on 5th May 2011, DCI Jones told reporters: “The ‘Not guilty’ plea to Joanna Yeates’s murder, entered by Vincent Tabak today at the Old Bailey, means that there will be a full trial in due course. Tabak has entered a plea to manslaughter. However this has not been accepted by the Crown. Until this trial takes place it would be inappropriate and potentially prejudicial for us to comment further.” Vincent Tabak was not at the Old Bailey in person: the plea was entered via a video-link. No one who knew the defendant was in court that day. DCI Phil Jones was the only person at the Old Bailey that day who might have met him before, while he was being interrogated at the police station. However, since his remarks were made afterwards to journalists outside the courtroom, it is possible that Jones remained outside during the hearing so as to avoid compromising himself. Therefore, there is no one else who can guarantee that it wasn’t an actor who entered the plea. The plea was unsound: it is certain that Vincent Tabak himself would never have chosen to plead guilty to manslaughter, as the case against him was built up out of nothing.

Standing outside Bristol Crown Court on 28th October 2011, Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, the senior investigating officer, told journalists: “Today Vincent Tabak has been found guilty of the murder of Joanna Yeates. Over the past four weeks we have heard numerous pieces of evidence from witnesses and experts that have secured this conviction. Vincent Tabak is an intelligent and manipulative man – a man who killed Jo, and then had the presence of mind to dispose of the body, and evidence linking him to her flat.” There was no trace of satisfaction in DCI Jones’s manner as he went on to read out the rest of his prepared statement about how his team of detectives had achieved this triumph. The words he spoke told one story, while his body language conveyed only unhappiness, doubt and and remorse.

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.

Christopher Jefferies had been one of the last people to see Joanna alive, yet his testimony to this was never heard by the jury – so the real purpose of holding him on bail was most probably to prevent him from telling journalists the identities of the persons he had seen together with Joanna and when he had seen them.  Would LGC Forensicss Lindsey Lennen agree with this depiction of slow plodding scientists?

In a newspaper interview, Mr Jones said: “A forensic examination of DNA found on Joanna Yeates’s body revealed a link to the sample Tabak had given in the Netherlands on New Year’s Eve – but further painstaking work was required.” ... It was early in January before police could begin putting together a picture of what DNA had been found on Miss Yeates’s body. It was then that they established components of Tabak’s DNA, as well as an unidentified profile... Mr Jones said DNA retrieval in the case was a meticulous process which took time. “I didn’t want to arrest Tabak until I was confident of the case we were building against him.” (Bristol Evening Post, 31st October 2011) LGC Forensics had the samples they needed from the body within 48 hours, i.e., on 27th December 2010. Contrary to what he claims here, the scientists did not need to wait for swabs from possible suspects before they could “enhance” and analyze the samples from the body, nor did the enhancement process take weeks to carry out, as he is asserting. He told the newspaper that Vincent Tabak had volunteered a swab of saliva, and that it was the DNA that caused him to be made a suspect - whereas DC Karen Thomas’s testimony had made it clear that it was she who made Vincent Tabak a suspect during the interview at Schiphol on 31st December 2010, and that he was reluctant to supply the swab that she requested.

Where is Joanna?

DCI Gareth Bevan
Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Bevan held a press conference on 23rd December 2010. This was the officer who only a few months earlier had made statements about developments in the investigation into the unsolved murder in 1996 of Melanie Hall.

“I believe on the Friday night in question Joanna got back to her flat and this would have been shortly after 8.30 p.m. We know from CCTV that she went into Tesco’s in Clifton Village at 8.30 p.m. and when she was in Tesco’s she bought a pizza similar to this one here. This is a Tesco Finest tomato, mozzarella and basil pesto pizza. I believe she then went back to her flat and this is because we found within the flat her coat, her mobile phone and her keys but what we have not found is any evidence of this pizza or the box or the wrappings. I want to make an appeal, firstly a general appeal to anyone who knows what’s happened to Joanna or where she might be now, but in particular, I want to appeal to anyone who knows where this pizza is now or where the box is or any information at all that might suggest where it is.” Asked about Miss Yeates’s family’s belief that she had been abducted, Mr Bevan (according to a Daily Mail reporter) said: “That’s one of the things we are considering.” He made no appeal to the persons seen and heard on Joanna’s path by the landlord, nor even mention this new evidence.

His one-off appearance in front of the TV cameras to make a big mystery out of a pizza, which a hungry Joanna probably devoured as soon as she could get it into an oven, signalled that the police now suspected, or perhaps even knew for certain, that Joanna had been murdered. DCI Bevan was never to be heard of again in connection with this case,

44 Canynge Road, Clifton. Greg Reardon told the
police that his girlfriend should have been there
WPC Anneliese Jackson was the young police officer who came to 44 Canynge Road in response to Greg Reardon’s telephone call at 00.45 on 20th December 2010 to say that his girlfriend was not where she should be. She contacted local hospitals to see if Joanna Yeates was there, and returned to 44 Canynge Road about 4.00 a.m. to speak to Mr. & Mrs. Yeates. At 4.15 a.m. she and an accompanying colleague took Greg Reardon to the front door of the adjoining flat and roused the occupants to ask them whether they knew anything about Joanna’s disappearance. In her witness statement that was read out in court, she would say that Vincent Tabak looked as if he had just woken up, and that he calmly answered “No”, whereas Tanja Morson was “visibly shocked and concerned”. The jury was sent out while points of law were discussed after hearing the first part and the second part of this officer’s statement. Although this has not been reported publicly, it seems likely that WPC Jackson went on to rouse the other residents of the house from their beds to inquire whether they they knew anything about Joanna’s disappearance.

Detective Constable Simon Mills interviewed Tanja Morson and Vincent Tabak shortly after Joanna Yeates had been reported missing about their movements on the night Joanna had last been seen. This interview probably took place on 21st December 2010 (the same day as the landlord was first interviewed), but it may have taken place on 23rd December 2010 in connection with the police’s first systematic search of Tanja and Vincent’s flat, just before they left Clifton for Cambridge.

After the body is found

Police Constable Martin Faithfull was the first on the scene after Mr. & Mrs. Birch had discovered Joanna Yeates’s body in Longwood Lane, Failand, on 25th December 2011. He was shown the body and caught a glimpse of denim. He closed the road.

Forensics co-ordinator
Andrew Mott
Forensics co-ordinator Andrew Mott was among the first to be called to the scene in Longood Lane on 25th December 2010. He said the snow was undisturbed around Joanna Yeates’s body and there was blood staining on the wall next to her. He tried to prevent the body from thawing out. Cross-examined on 14th October 2011 by Counsel for the Defence as to why no photographs had been taken of the broom-handle that was used to position straps under her body to facilitate its removal, he replied, “No comment”. He explained that the straps he and his colleagues had used were hooked round the broom, and it was the straps that came into contact with the body.

A person outside Bristol
Crown Court believed to be
scene-going scientist
Tania Nickson
In an article in the February 2012 issue of Police magazine based on an interview with forensic scientist Lindsay Lennen, journalist Tina Orr Monro wrote: “On Boxing Day, Avon and Somerset police requested a scene-going scientist, Tania Nickson, from a forensic company to attend the place where Jo’s body had been dumped. While forensic scientists do not attend crime scenes as a matter of course, in this instance the police had very little to go on. Also, the fact the body had been left in freezing temperatures posed its own set of problems for the investigation. At first investigators thought she may have frozen to death...”

“It was a difficult scene. It was very cold and there was a lot of snow on the ground,” says Lindsay Lennen, who is a case leader for homicides. “The first issue was whether or not to disturb the snow. There were discussions on whether to remove the snow which could interfere with any evidence or examine it in situ. In the end, the snow was removed and blood was recovered from the wall behind the body.”

Dr. Karl Harrison
Tina Orr Monro’s article went on to explain how Dr. Karl Harrison (then on the staff of LGC Forensics) came to be involved: “An ecologist was also asked to attend the scene. By examining the layering of leaves over the body, it was hoped they would be able to give some indication as to how long the body had lain there. Once the body had been removed to the mortuary, swabs were taken in the hope scientists could extract enough of the all-important DNA to get a profile of the suspect. Clothing was also recovered and analysed. But  extracting the DNA from the swabs was to prove a painstaking and complicated process.”

Who was this mystery woman captured on video by ITN
leaving Longwood Lane?
Was she the head of the Complex Case Unit at the CPS?
Or was she a forensic scientist?
Or was she Rebecca Birch, whose dog found the body?
Presumably it was Andrew Mott who made the request for these two scientists to attend the scene, and presumably neither of them made their examinations until after Joanna’s body had been taken to the Mortuary.

Detective Sergeant Mike Rourke was overseeing the crime scene at Longwood Lane when the Yeates family and Greg Reardon came to visit it and lay flowers on 27th December 2010.

The Coroner’s Court was no stranger to scandal and cover-ups. It had been housed in a former school building in Backfields in the centre of Bristol until 2004. It was then relocated to Flax Bourton, 6½ miles away out in the country (and just a couple of miles from Longwood Lane), making it less accessible to the general public. In August 2008 the then Coroner for Avon HMC, Paul Forrest, was suspended over a dispute he had with Bristol City Council, and dismissed in February 2011, less than two months after Joanna Yeates’s death. The High Court found that he had exhibited “high-handedness and aggression”.

The inquest on Joanna Yeates, which had been opened and adjourned by Coroner for Avon HMC Maria E. Voisin on 29th December 2010, was held  on 28th March 2011, four days before the deadline for the Crown to present the case papers for the trial of Vincent Tabak. According to the death certificate, the inquest adjourned by Maria E. Voisin found, astonishingly, that the date of Joanna’s death was 25th December 2010, and the place of her death was Longwood Lane, Failand. Registrar S. L. Thomas registered her death on 30th March 2011. Joanna Yeates’s death was initially dealt with by Deputy Assistant Coroner Terry Moore, but there was no informant, nor any signatures on the certificate. The inquest went unreported by the news media, even though the Coroner’s policy is 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.” Not wishing to incur the same fate as their ex-colleague, Maria Voisin and Terry Moore had strong incentives to ensure that the public would hear only what Avon & Somerset Constabulary wanted them to know about the pathology of Joanna’s body.

Spokesman Martin Dunscombe: According to This is Bristol, 11th January 2011, a couple walking along Longwood Lane who saw a car being driven up and down the lane several times in succession on the morning of Saturday 18th December 2010, just hours after Joanna Yeates vanished, became so suspicious that they reported it to the police, even though no one except her killer knew she was missing at that time. Avon and Somerset police spokesman Martin Dunscombe said: “We take every piece of information we receive from the public seriously, and this is one of many lines of inquiry we’ve pursued.” He did not say whether this car was the light-coloured 4x4 reported previously, or another vehicle entirely.

Detective Constable Karen Thomas
Detective Constable Karen Thomas: Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson were in the Netherlands for the new year when on 29th December 2010 they saw on television (or a laptop) their landlord Christopher Jefferies being mobbed by journalists outside 44 Canynge Road. They also saw that police had removed the front door of Joanna’s flat for forensic examination. As soon as they saw next day that he had been arrested on suspicion of murder, the couple discussed whether to contact the police. After Joanna was first reported, missing their landlord had told them that he thought he had seen her with two other people – yet on TV he had been denying it. They also recalled that the landlord had moved his car during the night when Joanna disappeared, so that it was facing the opposite direction the following morning. It was Tanja who picked up the phone and dialled Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s number. The landlord, a central person in the case, was never called as a witness to testify about his sightings of Joanna, nor about the curious case of the car in the night.

Tanja Morson
Detective Constable Thomas, a member of the police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, flew with an unidentified colleague to Holland on 31st December 2010, having arranged to interview Vincent Tabak and Tanja Morson in a hotel at Schiphol Airport. There is no doubt that the sudden introduction of this international aspect to the case would have made the headlines, and improved the public image of Avon & Somerset Constabulary, if the media had been told about it. But they weren’t told. Was this coyness part of a plan to mislead the duty solicitor at the subsequent interrogation of Vincent Tabak at the police station? Was it also kept secret to avoid alerting the airport police of a possible violation of Netherlands sovereignty and Europol regulations?

DC Thomas took 18 pages of notes during the interview, which lasted six hours. She would tell the jury that the main reason for her trip had been to question the couple about Mr. Jefferies’s car, saying nothing about his sightings of Joanna – even though these probably occupied the main part of the interview. DC Thomas noted that Vincent Tabak changed his story since an earlier interview, telling her that he had gone out on two occasions during the evening. She would tell the court that he seemed to be overly interested in the removal of the front-door. She was also to testify, quite rudely, that both Tanja Morson and Eileen, one of Vincent Tabak’s three sisters, had been over-fussy towards him “– a bit more than you would expect for a grown man. I would describe the sister as a bit of a mother hen and very concerned that he was tired.” She did not tell the court that the reason for their fuss was that the group may have suddenly realized that DC Thomas had begun to treat Vincent as a suspect rather than a witness, without cautioning him as she should have done according to the rules. She took a swab of his saliva and his finger-prints.

A & S Constabulary’s Chief Constable Colin Port had been stationed in the Netherlands in the 1990s on an international assignment, and may have tipped off one of his police contacts there to turn a blind eye to this apparent violation of Netherlands sovereignty. At no time did DC Karen Thomas tell the court anything to suggest that she had ordered Vincent Tabak to meet her at Schiphol. However, the fact that the interview lasted six hours – the maximum time that Dutch law allows a suspect to be held for questioning – suggests that the detectives from Bristol may have been provided with a Letter of Request prepared by the CPS’s Anne Reddrop to the Dutch police for Mutual Legal Assistance to compel him to attend.

DC Emma Davies (photo: The Independent)
DC Emma Davies, a family laison officer, accompanied the Yeates family to lay flowers in Longwood Lane on 27th December 2010.

She also read out a statement from the Yeates family at the harbour front in Bristol on 1st January 2011. Astonishingly, she also read one out from Joanna’s boyfriend Greg Reardon, even though he was a potential suspect. These two statements, sympathetic yet private, were reproduced by all the national news media, turning Joanna into an iconic victim like Princess Diana, and assisting the process of national demonization of the person who would have to pay the price. DC Davies knew perfectly well that it was doing “fun things” behind her boyfriend’s back (possibly for pecuniary gain) that had got Joanna killed. The boyfriend’s statement included a thinly veiled attack on the press for their vilification of Christopher Jefferies, who, as DC Davies very well knew, had in fact been systematically groomed and set up by her own police force to prevent his witness testimony from coming out. DC Davies was winding up the general public using the methods of a politician.

David & Teresa Yeates arriving at the Old Bailey,
London, in the company of a family liaison officer
resembling Detective Constable Emma Davies
(frame captured from Channel 4 news video)
On 5th May 2011 a family liaison officer resembling DC Davies accompanied Joanna’s parents, David & Teresa Yeates, to London to attend Vincent Tabak’s plea hearing at the Old Bailey. After the hearing, David Yeates told The Mirror: “What has happened today has come as no surprise to both of us. “We expected for him to plead guilty to manslaughter and that’s exactly what has happened.” This suggests that DC Davies told them beforehand how he was going to plead. If the plea were sound but had been revealed to the police in advance, then she was party to a serious breach of professional conduct. However, there are numerous indications that the plea was unsound, and that DC Davies knew this.

PC Steve Archer was guarding 44 Canynge Rd on 2nd January 2011 when Vincent Tabak and his girlfriend came to pick up some belongings. Tabak seemed “relaxed” during this short return to the flat. The couple then went to stay elsewhere.

Julian Moss was the Chief Superintendant who issued a press release on 4th December 2013 announcing that Vincent Tabak was to be prosecuted for possessing illegal images of child abuse that were alleged to have been found on his computer at the time of his arrest.

Vincent Tabak becomes their prisoner

Vincent Tabak
in custody wearing
borrowed glasses
DC Geoffrey Colvin arrested Vincent Tabak, who was “shaky” and “shocked”, at 5.55 a.m. on 20th January 2011 at the flat in 37 Aberdeen Road, Cotham, where he and his girlfriend Tanja Morson had taken refuge from all the unpleasantness at 44 Canynge Road. Like Anne Frank in Amsterdam, Vincent Tabak was hustled out of his refuge and taken away to meet his fate. DC Colvin took him to Trinity Road police station. The timing of the arrest was probably influenced by the high-level 28-day review of “Operation Braid” that would probably have had to be conducted by a senior officer from another force if no one had been charged for the crime by 22nd January 2011. Avon & Somerset Constabulary could not afford to let anyone from another force uncover what was going on inside this case. The choice of a Thursday gave the police the maximum period of custody before the next magistrate’s hearing.

It was three weeks to the day after the arrest of Christopher Jefferies. This reinforces the proposition that both arrests were planned well in advance and that their timing had little to do with the process of collecting actual evidence. The real reason why the police waited so long to arrest Vincent Tabak must be a matter for speculation. They may have been pressured by LGC Forensics into maximising the publicity for the role to that DNA would be alleged to have played. They may also have had difficulty in finding a convincing witness who would be willing to help fabricate his prison confession.

As soon as  Vincent Tabak arrived at the police station on 20th January 2011Nurse Ruth Booth-Pearson asked him for his consent to make a medical examination. He appeared upset but did not cry. He “consented” to his medical examination. He told her that he was normally physically well but had been taking herbal sleeping pills. He told the nurse he was normally “happy” and had no previous mental health problems. The nurse found a 6 cm x 1 cm scar with a scab on his left arm and a bruised toe nail. She photographed these injuries. He told the nurse that in the weeks before his arrest he had been drinking, and running, more than usual. Nurse Booth-Pearson did not give him a chance to shave.

Being forced to strip for an examination by a woman you do not know is humiliating and embarrassing when it is not for your own good but is carried out under duress. By obtaining intimate carnal knowledge of Vincent Tabak when he was not in a position to refuse consent, the nurse was instrumental in his rape.

The nurse asked his “consent” to take DNA samples from him. She was not aware that LGC Forensics would be in no hurry to analyse the swab she took from his mouth, as they had already furnished the police with his DNA profile from the swab taken from him at Schiphol three weeks earlier. This swab would be used primarily to trick the duty solicitor from Crossman & Co.

Nurse Booth-Pearson took away his clothes, including his black wool overcoat, allegedly for forensic analysis, and provided him with unfamiliar clothes to deprive him of his own identity. She took away Vincent Tabak’s customized glasses, allegedly for forensic testing. He was provided with standard glasses temporarily. Although he protested strongly that he could not see properly who he was talking to with these borrowed glasses, he nevertheless would be forced to make do with them for his appearance on 24th January 2011 before the Magistrate and for the bail hearing before Mr. Justice Treacy next day. No results were ever reported from the tests on his own glasses.

Nurse Booth-Pearson behaved in flagrant violation of the Code of professional standards laid down by the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council, which includes the obligations to “Treat people as individuals and uphold their dignity… respect and uphold people’s human rights… recognise when people are anxious or in distress and respond compassionately and politely… respect a person’s right to privacy.

Det Con Richard Barnston was the first officer to question Vincent Tabak at Trinity Road police station on 20th January 2011. He was subsequently awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation for his part in securing the conviction of Vincent Tabak. His interviews with detectives in the police station were tape recorded and carried out in the presence of a solicitor from Crossman & Co of Radstock

Trinity Road Police Station
(Photo: Chris Evans)
DC Paul Derrick
(Photo: Metro Co UK)

DC Barnston told the accused that the grounds for his arrest on suspicion of murdering Joanna Yeates were:
  • An anonymous tip-off from a sobbing girl, whom the police believed to be Tanja Morson
  • His absence of an alibi on the evening of Friday, 17th December 2010, and his earlier statement to police that he was at home alone that evening
The detective did not say anything about possible DNA or other forensic grounds for his arrest. At some stage during police custody, DC Barnston was relieved or joined by DC Paul Derrick. Vincent Tabak was asked a succession of up to eighty questions after he had been arrested, including those listed below. Questions marked with an asterisk were listed in The Mirror, 18th October 2011. The other questions in the lists have been inferred from reports of his cross-examination at his subsequent trial in the news media, the reported contents of the statements he made, allegations perportedly made by unnamed police sources, neighbours or colleagues, leaked to selected newspapers during the interrogation by Amanda Hirst’s department, and a variety of other news sourcesIn the presence of the duty solicitor from Crossman & Co of Radstock  and on her advice  Vincent Tabak exercised his legal right to answer “no comment” to most of the questions put to him throughout the time he was held at the police station.
  • Have you and Tanja Morson separated?
  • Did you know Joanna Yeates through working together on joint schemes for your respective companies?
  • Did you meet her in her office or on location?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Did you watch Joanna coming and going and develop a secret crush on her?
  • Could you hear through the wall what was going on in the adjoining flat where Joanna lived?
  • Had she ever been in the Renault Megane?
  • A colleague of yours claims you were very happy, happier than normal, while you were at work on 17th December 2010. What made you so happy?
  • Did Christopher Jefferies talk to you just as you arrived home on 17th December 2010
  • Did your landlord tell you that he had helped Joanna’s boyfriend to start their car so that he could drive on his own to Sheffield for the weekend?
  • Did you tell Gunter Morson that you were 100% certain that Christopher Jefferies would be charged with Joanna’s murder?
  • What were your movements on the evening of 17th December 2010?
  • What did you have for tea that evening? – “Pizza, I think”.
  • Why did you send so many text messages and e-mails to Tanja Morson?
  • Were your text messages to Tanja Morson intended to give you an alibi?
  • Why did you go to Asda in Bedminster, on the other side of the river Avon, when Tesco Express in Clifton Village was nearer?
  • Were you invited into Joanna’s flat?*
  • Did her cat go into your flat?
  • Did you make sexual advances to her?*
Vincent Tabak in Asda at Bedminster. Was it the
police who blurred the lower left-hand corner of
the video so that the time could not be made out?
During his interrogation, DC Barnston probably showed Vincent Tabak and the duty solicitor the CCTV clips capturing him in the Asda supermarket at Bedminster on the evening in question.

In response to these questions on his first day in custody, 20th January 2011, he gave police the first of three statements which the solicitor prepared and he signed. In the first statement he explained his movements on the night that police alleged Joanna Yeates died. He stated that he had gone out to take photos of the snow immediately after getting home from work at 7.15 p.m. He claimed to have slipped on the ice outside Joanna’s flat, without seeing anything unusual, and to have moved the car round from the street into the driveway to defrost it prior to collecting his girlfriend after her firms party.

The first picture of Joanna Yeates
released to the press
In his first statement, he also declared that he did not know Joanna Yeates, and that he had never spoken to her nor her boyfriend. “Until her picture was shown prominently in the press, I would not have recognised her”, the statement concluded.

It was probably not until his second day in police custody that Vincent Tabak and the solicitor were informed that components of the DNA analysed from traces of a fluid, possibly saliva, that had been found on Joanna’s breast, midriff and jeans at the time that her body was examined, partially matched Vincent Tabak’s DNA. Detectives did not mention that this match was based on the analysis of the swab taken from him at Schiphol, made nearly three weeks earlier, so the duty solicitor would believe that the laboratory had been very quick to analyse the swab taken the day before at the police station. The failure of the police to arrest Vincent Tabak as soon as they allegedly had had sufficient grounds to do so, immediately after the Schiphol swab had been tested, proves that these grounds were unsound.

The questions continued:
  • How do you account for the presence of your DNA on Joanna’s body and clothes?
  • Did she reject your advances, embarrassing you so much that you panicked?
  • Did you pull her top up?
  • Did you touch her breast?
  • Were you sexually aroused when you held her throat?
  • Did you derive sexual gratification from holding her throat?
  • Did you do anything to stop her screaming?*
  • Did you strangle her from the front or behind?*
  • Did she get away from you at one point during your attack?
  • How did you get the scar on your arm?
  • Did you attempt to revive her?*
  • Why did you need to put your hands around her throat?*
  • Did you use one hand or two?
  • Was she up against something when you strangled her?
  • Where did the strangulation take place?
  • Did you have a conversation with her?*
  • Did you go into the bedroom or the lounge?*
  • Did she do anything to lead you on?*
In his second statement Vincent Tabak disputed the validity of the forensic analysis that linked his DNA to the victim’s body, asserted that he had no knowledge of how such a match could have been obtained, and contended that this result had been leaked to the media by a scientist from the laboratory for financial gain.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court.
Vincent Tabak was probably taken there
from the police station for the application for
permission to hold him longer than 36 hours
As Vincent Tabak continued to answer “No comment” to most of their questions during Friday, 21st January 2011, detectives applied to a magistrate for permission to hold him longer than 36 hours. Their application was probably based on the match they claimed to have between his DNA and samples taken from Joanna’s body. Furthermore, they may have included the claim that forensic examination of his black wool coat siezed after his arrest, which he was seen wearing in the CCTV clips from the Asda supermarket on the night of Joanna’s disappearance, had revealed that its fabric matched eleven fibres found on her body. This claim would be repeated at his trial, but was never contested by his defence lawyers.

It was probably at this stage in the questioning that the police may have played a short video clip to show Vincent Tabak and the duty solicitor a car captured on CCTV being driven across a bridge. They claimed that the clip showed the Renault Megane registered to Tanja Morson being driven across Clifton Suspension Bridge (on the way to or from Failand) on 18th December 2010. The report in The Mail on Sunday on 23rd January 2011 implies that the police had spotted the car in the video, interviewed its owner, and eliminated “him” as a suspect. The police questioning Vincent Tabak began to ask him about how Joannas body got to Longwood Lane.
  • Was she dead when you put her in the boot of the Renault Megane?*
  • Did you use a large bag or suitcase to move her body?
  • When you texted Tanja Morson that you were buying crisis at the Asda supermarket, was this because you were in a panic about Joanna’s body in the car and where to dump it?
  • When did you take her to Longwood Lane?*
  • How many cars drove by while you were trying to lift her body over the wall?
  • What did you do with Joanna’s pizza?
  • Did you have sex with your girlfriend when you got home after collecting her from her works party?
  • Does your girlfriend take part in strangulation games during sexual intercourse?
  • Does she watch adult movies together with you?
  • Do you fantasize about strangling women in connection with sex?
  • Did your drinking increase following Joanna’s death?*
  • How do you explain your intensive internet research into the police investigation into Joanna’s disappearance and death and other unsolved murder cases?
  • Did Tanja Morson know about this internet research?
  • Did both you and Tanja Morson use your laptop to research what the English media were reporting about the discovery of Joanna’s body and the arrest of Christopher Jefferies while you were in Cambridge and the Netherlands?
  • Did you ask Tanja Morson to protect you in relation to the investigation?
  • How many prostitutes did you patronize while you were in California?
In his third statement, Vincent Tabak declared that, after the disappearance of Joanna Yeates, he had been the sole user of a computer that he and his girlfriend had shared.

Under cross-examination by Counsel for the Defence at the subsequent trial, DC Paul Derrick denied that there was tension between himself and Vincent Tabak’s female duty solicitor (from Crossman & Co of Radstock) and refuted Mr. Clegg’s suggestion that she had been inexperienced and out of her depth. She had probably instructed the Detective Constable to retrieve the prisoner’s own glasses, to enable him to see properly, and had her demand refused.

The Renault Megane used by Vincent Tabak
Vincent Tabak was charged with murder 28 days after Joanna’s body was found, at 9.30 p.m. on 22nd January 2011. The police probably claimed that they had received a report overnight from LGC Forensics, to the effect that minute traces of blood that their scientists had found on the floor carpet of the luggage compartment of the Renault Megane used by Vincent Tabak matched Joanna Yeatess blood. They may also have included a claimed match between the fabric of this carpet and other fibres found on Joanna’s body and clothes.

After Vincent Tabak was charged at the weekend, Inspector David Horwood, from Avon and Somerset police, said: “We’re now considering the impact of the charge on other aspects of the investigation.” (This is Bristol, 26th January 2011)

DC Mark Luther, Officer in Charge of the Case, talked through photographs from inside the flat at 44 Canynge Road that Vincent Tabak shared with his girlfriend, on the eighth day of the trial.

Lyndsey Farmery
Lyndsey Farmery (believed to be a Criminal Intelligence Analyst) testified at Vincent Tabak’s trial to the identity of each of the web sites that Counsel for the Prosecution alleged the defendant had visited before and after the death of Joanna Yeates. Counsel also referred to her as an IT Expert but she did not tell the court anything about her qualifications. Any competent computer user would have been able to give the testimony that she gave. She did not state whether it was she who had examined Vincent Tabak’s computer hard discs after his arrest – a task which would have called for some proficiency in reading Dutch. Was she also present at Schiphol, the Trinity Road interview room, and the Magistrate’s Court? She did not testify in connection with the allegations that he had carried out internet researches into prostitutes, nor his alleged viewing of internet adult pornography, nor his alleged acquisition of adult pornographic videos, nor the thirty illegal group 4 images of child abuse allegedly found on his computer.

Family Liaison Officer
Russ Jones
(Still frame from ITN video)
Family liaison officer Russ Jones accompanied the Yeates family to lay flowers in Longwood Lane on 27th December 2010.

He read out a statement from the Yeates family after the verdict on 28th October 2011. The statement concluded: “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 evils, deprivations and degradations that his situation can provide.”

Detective Inspector
Joseph Goff
Detective Inspector Joseph Goff was the Deputy Senior Investigating Officer for the Joanna Yeates inquiry. He is a Senior Investigator at the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. Is he a Dutch speaker?

He claimed to journalists after the trial that Vincent Tabak was a misfit – a complex character who had been almost a social inadequate in the Netherlands. The murder had shocked people who knew Vincent Tabak in Holland. DI Goff said: “He was somebody who was not particularly comfortable around women, uncomfortable in his social circumstances – even around his peers – and, from their perspective, not the sort of person you would imagine could commit this sort of violent crime.” Detective Inspector Joe Goff was part of the team, according to an interview DCI Phil Jones gave to The Bristol Evening Post, 31st October 2011.

From SWNS, 1st November, 2011: In a press conference following Tabak’s conviction, Detective Inspector Joe Goff, one of the senior detectives in the case, was asked if police visited sex workers Tabak had used. He said: “We never got as far as tracking any of the escorts down. What we had in the USA and other times he was working away was that he would be seeking to make contact with escort girls. That was in his make up. In evidence, we never got as far as contacting any of the girls. We looked at the pattern of internet research, the withdrawal of sums of money from his bank account and telephone contact between him and numbers linked to escort girls.”

Police Standard of Professional Behaviour

The Police Standard of Professional Behaviour include a clause on Confidentiality: “Police officers treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of police duties.” Investigating Vincent Tabak’s telephone records and computers in the course of their duties would have given the police access to all kinds of confidential information – both about the accused man, and also about innocent people – that had nothing to do with the case. Revealing any of this information – especially highly sensitive, personal and private information relating to adult porn and prostitutes – to third parties was obviously a flagrant violation of the police’s own standards.

Material seized by the police in connection with the investigation of crime (usually under the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act) must not be disclosed to a third party unless the owner has consented to the disclosure. The police’s willingness to publish unsubstantiated allegations about Vincent Tabak’s legal viewing of everyday pornography and contacts to a couple of prostitutes in spectacular breach of these provisions reinforces the evidence of other misdemeanours, including removing all guarantees against the defendant’s manslaughter plea’s being entered by an imposter.

Nevertheless, the police passed on to the prosecution a package if anonymous unsubstantiated allegations about Vincent Tabak’s private and personal sexual activities, in which it was claimed that he viewed internet porn and telephoneed to call girls while on a couple of business trips. With the judge Mr. Justice Field’s consent, Counsel for the Prosecution Nigel Lickley QC passed it on to a ravenous media, who passed it on to the public, despite the fact that they all knew that Joanna Yeates had not been raped, nor had had consensual sex with Vincent Tabak, and that without a named witness testifying under oath it could not be described as “evidence”. The police, led by DCI Phil Jones, went out of their way to misrepresent her killing as a sex crime, even though they had now got the conviction they wanted. The police told the media that they were looking into other sex crimes with which they believed Vincent Tabak might be connected, they told the media they “believed” that Vincent Tabak’s viewing of adult pornography had turned him into a sexual pervert with a strangling fetish, and they fed the media with unsubstantiated allegations that he possessed illegal child pornography. It was very phoney and contrived and demonstrates that the police knew very well they had convicted an innocent man and would stop at almost nothing to try to cover their tracks.

The following extract from the Daily Mail, 13th February 2012, shows how Avon & Somerset Constabulary exploited the victim’s family to whip up further public hatred against Vincent Tabak and even his devastated family in Holland more than three months after his trial was over:

Joanna’s parents David & Teresa Yeates
at Longwood Lane, together with her brother
Christopher Yeates, and DC Emma Davies
Joanna Yeates’s parents spoke of their anger last night as it emerged that the legal bill for their daughter’s killer could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds. Yesterday Miss Yeates’s parents said they were ‘outraged’ by the revelation. ‘It’s ridiculous he should get that level of legal aid,’ her father David, 63, said yesterday. ‘He comes from a wealthy background and he showed contempt to the court, to us, to his girlfriend and her family. ‘He should never have received taxpayers’ money to defend himself.’ Mr Yeates added that Tabak could have saved the family additional heartache, as well as reducing the costs of his trial, by admitting murder earlier on. ‘He prolonged the case by lying to the police and lying during his trial,’ he said. ‘To this day, he has never acknowledged outside court that he killed Jo. We feel he should now be held to account in every way possible.’

The Witness

29th December 2010
While the police are bound to try to protect those close to a murder victim from the hurtful effects of inconsiderate public speculation, the blind eye that Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s turned in the direction of Greg Reardon was very conspicuous. Joanna did not accompany her devoted boyfriend to Sheffield for a family christening, but instead sent texts seeking the company of other men as soon as his back was turned. There could have been an innocent explanation for why she stayed in Bristol, but its failure to emerge publicly is evidence that she had secret plans that he could guess. She thereby gave him a strong motive for murder, namely jealousy, and perhaps he returned on Sunday to find her in the arms of a lover. He had no alibi for the Sunday evening, so he also had the means and opportunity to kill her. The pathology of her body pointed to domestic violence. Yet instead of arresting Greg Reardon and charging him with murder, “on good and sufficient evidence”, DCI Phil Jones declared him to be a witness.

Did Joanna have a married lover so influential that Greg Reardon could not be allowed to reveal his identity? Was she killed because she was pregnant? Was her surprisingly healthy bank balance of over £40,000 evidence of illegal or immoral earnings? Or is her killer a member of a powerful fraternity or mafia that has power over architects, the police, and the legal profession? The following evidence indicates a “resonance” between Joanna Yeates’s boyfriend and police officers. (A summary of the evidence implicating him in her killing is listed at the end of the post about him. The evidence that the police and the CPS made Vincent Tabak a scapegoat, and that he is “Guilty until proven innocent” is listed separately in the corresponding posts.)
  • A number of clues suggest that Joanna never actually reached home on her last Friday evening, or, if she did, that she left again of her own free will, perhaps taking the pizza with her. Her possessions could have been planted in the flat by her killer after her death, but the police never even discussed this scenario. A killer who was unfamiliar with the way real-life detectives approach a case would have been much more likely to dispose of her possessions. The 4½ hours that passed before Greg Reardon reported her disappearance may have been used by someone else with inside knowledge of police methods devising a plan for him, or this may even have been the time when Joanna was killed and her body dumped.
  • The police responded with alacrity to the boyfriend’s call to report her missing. Instead of suggesting waiting a few hours to see if the 25-year-old architect turned up at work, advising patience on the basis that there could be numerous possible explanations, such as a misunderstanding, an argument, drunkenness, forgetfulness or infidelity, or asking him to come to the station, the police at once sent two officers out to 44 Canynge Road, checked local hospitals, and got neighbours, friends and colleagues out of their beds in the middle of the night. That Greg Reardon accompanied young WPC Anneliese Jackson in this task suggests that it was he who was in charge.
    Greg Reardon, David & Teresa Yeates and Chris Yeates
    making their first TV appeal for Joanna to return
  • Styling the search for Joanna “Operation Braid” from the outset shows that Det. Supt. Saunders’s officers were convinced that she had not disappeared of her own free will, contrary to what Greg Reardon had at first persuaded her parents to believe when they made their own first appeal. So the police must right from the outset either have suspected his involvement or known of it with certainty.
  • There could be several possible explanations why Joanna’s disappearance received immediate attention from the national press, unlike three other persons reported missing in England the same week, including the influence of her godfather, Detective Sergeant Peter Yeates, 48, of Dorset Police, a family connection between her boyfriend and a senior officer, or an influential lover who put pressure on the police to publicise her disappearance.
    Joanna’s godfather, Peter Yeates,
    Detective Sergeant with Dorset
  • There could be an innocent explanation for why Joanna did not accompany Greg Reardon to Sheffield despite having no specific engagements or plans for the weekend, but the absence of any explanation at all suggests that the police knew that it was not an innocent one.
  • According to his subsequent testimony in court, Greg Reardon had found a state of disorder, which he tidied up, on his return to the flat. However, this evidence of a struggle was not mentioned in any of the statements made to the press. The public was told that there were no signs of forced entry.
  • It is normal practice for police to describe as best they can what a missing person was last seen wearing, especially their colours. Joanna’s light-coloured outdoor jacket was found in the flat, yet neither Det. Supt. Mark Saunders nor other police appealing for her return made any attempt to describe accurately the indoor clothes her colleagues had seen her wearing in the Bristol Ram. While she was still a missing person, neither the pink colour of the patterned top that she was apparently wearing when her body was found, nor the green colour of the fleece she had worn under her jacket, nor  the multi-coloured striped top she had been wearing earlier in the day, were mentioned. This surprising omission shows that the police were not following the procedure used for other missing persons.
  • Greg Reardon’s body language in the first video appeal by Joanna’s father on 21st December 2010 was unconvincing. Her parents evidently believed what her boyfriend had told them, that Joanna could have left of her own accord. The video appeal by Greg Reardon, released by Avon & Somerset Constabulary on 22nd December 2010, in which he spoke as if he already knew she was dead, was removed from the internet within 24 hours.
  • The landlord, who had been interviewed by a detective during the morning of 21st December 2010, rang the police that evening because he had subsequently remembered seeing Joanna together with two other people at 44 Canynge Road at a time he thought important. Perhaps there was a discrepancy between what had been said in the video appeal and the content of the 2nd witness statement that Christopher Jefferies made to the detective who called next day in response to his phone call that led police to pull the video from the internet so abruptly.
  • The police were very slow to investigate private CCTV recordings that might have revealed suspicious persons in the neighbourhood of Joanna Yeates’s route home during the critical period, and encouraged the owners of these installations to conduct their own examinations of the footage! Det. Supt. Saunders was evasive when asked if Joanna had been captured on the CCTV that his detectives had viewed from Canynge Road. This suggests that the police suppressed evidence that would have corroborated the landlord’s testimony. It has never been reported whether the Neighbourhood Watch vice-chairman had installed CCTV at 44 Canynge Road.
    The security light above the path leading to Joanna’s
    flat. The landlord saw two or three persons on this path.
    Whether he had installed CCTV has never been reported. 
  • An anonymous police spokesman issued a statement on the evening of 22nd December 2010 in which he said “Mr. Reardon is not a suspect”. So far, neither the police nor her family had suggested explicitly that Joanna had been the victim of a crime. That this was neither a ruse nor a smokescreen was proved by subsequent developments, and it shows that the police were aware that they ought to be seen to be suspecting him. At this stage, they could not have had enough knowledge to rule him out even if he had been innocent, so this statement revealed that the police must have known by now what had happened to her, who was implicated, probably also that she was dead, probably even where her body lay – and, if he were guilty, that they would not be allowed to prosecute him.
  • Joanna’s call in Waitrose on her way home was captured on CCTV and reported in the news media on 22nd December 2010. It is unlikely that the police could have known about this so quickly if she had not bought something and thus collected a receipt, yet the jury would be told that she did not buy anything in Waitrose. As she was seen in subsequent CCTV clips to be carrying a black plastic bag, whose contents the police would not reveal, it may be inferred that these two clues would have suggested that she was anticipating male company while her boyfriend was away.
    Greg Reardon visiting
    Longwood Lane
  • Greg Reardon did not take part in a second video recorded by Joanna’s parents two days after the first, nor a third video appeal in January 2011, nor was he seen again in public until Boxing day, when he accompanied her family to Longwood Lane, where her body had been found.
  • The media reported that police had seized his mobile telephone and computer. Their source for this information was Greg Reardon’s own Facebook profile, where he explained it as a reason why he could not respond to phone calls or e-mails, inviting inquirers to contact Joanna’s parents. An anonymous police spokesman confirmed that they had indeed seized these items. As he must have had access to another computer to update his Facebook profile, this cannot have been the reason why he had cut off contact from the outside world, so the police must have been complicit in directing journalists away from him.
  • The the police very publicly took away for forensic examination the cars belonging to the other residents of 44 Canynge Road, and even the Jeep belonging to the neighbour Peter Stanley, whereas Joanna’s Ford Ka, which Greg Reardon had used to travel to Sheffield in, was never seen at all by journalists, nor did the police ever mention whether it had been subject to forensic examination.
  • Approached on 22nd December 2010 by a reporter from The Daily Mail, Greg Reardon’s half-brother Francis would not say anything to confirm the boyfriend’s alibi, explaining that he had given a statement to the police. His wife Helen responded with exactly the same words when a reporter from The Express Online approached her on 12th January 2011. However, no police officer ever confirmed publicly that these statements had actually been taken by police.
  • On 23rd December 2010 DCI Gareth Bevan, talking to journalists, made a great mystery out of the disappearance of Joanna’s pizza and its packaging, diverting public attention from the possibility that she had had time to heat it up and share it with someone else. His press conference indicates that he was already implicated in a plan to get the scapegoat to admit to stealing the pizza.
  • On 28th December 2010, police leaked a “garbled” version of the landlord’s 2nd witness statement to Sky News that did not conflict with Greg Reardon’s account of the weekend. An angry and probably panic-stricken Christopher Jefferies was inundated by journalists the next day. He refused to clarify the errors in the leaked account of what he had seen. Neither of his witness statements has ever been made public and it seems most unlikely that his evidence was as vague as he was to tell the Leveson Inquiry. Even though the landlord definitely believed he saw and heard Joanna later and closer to home than the other witnesses whose testimony was heard at Vincent Tabak’s trial, the jury never heard his evidence.
  • The public has been left with the impression that the arrest of the landlord, on very slender grounds, was a result of police incompetence or their pressing need to be seen to be energetic. If this perception were correct, then even very unimaginative detectives would have known that the most probable source of violence against a woman is a man in a close relationship to her. Nor would the public have thought so badly of the police if Greg Reardon has been arrested and then released again after a few days.
  • At a press conference on 28th December 2010, DCI Phil Jones stated that the boyfriend was being treated as a witness and not as a suspect. The front page of The Daily Mirror the following day showed clearly that the newspaper was suspicious of this decision. At dawn the next day, the landlord was arrested on suspicion of murder, diverting the attentions of all the media away from Greg Reardon. The true purpose of his arrest and subsequent prolonged house arrest was probably to prevent him from ever revealing that he had seen Joanna after the time when Vincent Tabak was supposed to have killed her, and Greg Reardon at a time when he was supposed to be in Sheffield.
  • It is significant that DCI Jones did not mention at this press conference the alibi for the boyfriend that was reported exclusively in The Sun, on 29th December 2010. “It was understood police discounted the possibility of his involvement in her death after studying his credit card receipts at petrol stations and examining his phone records”. The newspaper gave no source for this claim.
    What was Joanna Yeates’s
    relationship to her
    boyfriend Greg Reardon?
  • The Coroner and the press must have undertaken not even to mention that an inquest was opened into Joanna’s death on 29th December 2010, adjourned, and eventually closed. This secrecy in itself is evidence of a cover-up. The main reason for the secrecy about the 40-odd bruises on her body may have been to give Crossman Solicitors as little time as possible to prepare Vincent Tabak’s bail application, and also to prevent the public from drawing the obvious conclusions about Joanna’s relationship to her boyfriend. Furthermore, an inquest would probably also have revealed evidence of Joanna’s recent sexual activity, and certainly of her possible pregnancy, both of which could have enormous bearing on the case.
  • Journalists and the public might have worked out for themselves that Greg Reardon may have caught Joanna in a state of déshabille with another man, and interrupted her before she had managed to put her second sock on, or that the missing sock came off with her boots. So the police creatively diverted people’s attention with the lurid theories that the killer may have used the sock as a ligature and that he may have taken it as a trophy.
  • On 10th/11th January 2011, ten days before Vincent Tabak’s arrest and interrogation, The Mirror reported unnamed detectives’ hare-brained theory that Joanna’s killer may have had a secret crush on her and flipped out when his advances were snubbed. As this astonishing invention could not possibly have been deduced from forensic evidence, it must have been intended to distract a gullible public from the much more likely motive, namely partner jealousy. It was almost identical to the bizarre scenario in the “enhanced” statement that Vincent Tabak’s lawyers got him to sign 9 months later, proving conclusively that the defence were colluding with the prosecution.
  • Unlike Joanna’s parents, who had never met Vincent Tabak, Greg Reardon did not travel to London for the Old Bailey hearing on 5th May 2011. He might have noticed that the face on the video screen who pleaded guilty to manslaughter was not that of his former neighbour.
    Defence QC William Clegg.
    He made no attempt to probe into
    possible domestic violence as
    the cause of Joanna’s injuries
  • Vincent Tabak’s defence counsel made no attempt to examine the likelihood that some of Joanna’s injuries had been the result of a prior instance of domestic violence not directly connected with her death.
  • In the course of protracted testimony and cross-examination of two independent pathologists, nothing was ever said about any evidence of Joanna’s recent sexual activity or the absence of it, nor whether she were pregnant. The inference is that the answers to these obvious questions would have prejudiced the case against Vincent Tabak and thereby pointed towards Greg Reardon.
  • After Vincent Tabak’s conviction, Greg Reardon shook hands with senior police officers.
  • The expenses and disbursements that have been made published show that “Operation Braid” and the prosecution of Vincent Tabak were exceptionally expensive. This is suggestive. There was only one victim and only one person was convicted, yet the CPS, unaccountably, designated it as a “complex case”. To shield a guilty person and contrive the successful conviction of an innocent scapegoat without breaking the law calls for a great deal of planning and co-ordination by highly skilled officers and very experienced lawyers – all of them highly paid.