Monday, October 10, 2011

#JoYeates #Tabak : Tabak Played The Concerned Neighbor

Joanna Yeates was strangled by her next door neighbour Vincent Tabak, who texted his girlfriend moments later to say he was bored, a court has heard.

Vincent Tabak and Joanna Yeates
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Vincent Tabak and Joanna Yeates Photo: PA
After the killing he drove to a local Asda store to buy rock salt and crisps possibly with the body of Miss Yeates "in his car, parked nearby" at the time, the jury heard.
From there Tabak texted his girlfriend saying: "Missing you loads. It's boring here without you. Vxx".
The Dutchman then calmly picked up his girlfriend from a Christmas party and carried on with his life as if nothing had happened, a jury was told.
On the first day of his trial at Bristol Crown Court, the prosecutor, Nigel Lickley QC, told the jury that Tabak has admitted manslaughter but denies murdering Miss Yeates.

Mr Lickley said it was the prosecution’s case that Tabak was guilty of murder, because: “He strangled her with his hand or hands. He held her throat hard enough and for long enough to kill her.

“He was in complete control of that and knew what he was doing. At the same time he knew Joanna Yeates was resisting and fighting for her life. Her injuries are consistent with her struggle, her desperate struggle, and violence to her.”

Mr Lickley said there could be “no doubt as to his intention – he held her neck long enough to enough to squeeze the life out of her, he intended to kill and he did”.

In the days after her death, Tabak surfed the internet to research the differences in sentencing for murder and manslaughter and looked up information on the decomposition of bodies “no doubt hoping there would be nothing left of his victim”.

Mr Lickley said Miss Yeates, whose boyfriend was visiting relatives, returned home to her flat in Clifton, Bristol, at about 8.45pm on Dec 17. She had bought cider and pizza on the way home, but shortly after getting back “she was interrupted by Vincent Tabak,” who lived in the next-door flat on the ground floor but did not know her name.

“After what may only have been a few minutes,” said Mr Lickley, “there were screams heard by people attending a party. Those screams were of Joanna Yeates as Vincent Tabak attacked her.”

At 10.25pm that night Miss Yeates’s boyfriend, Greg Reardon, texted her but received no reply.
“She had, in all probability, been dead for an hour and three quarters by the time that message was sent,” said the prosecutor.

The Tesco Finest mozzarella and basil pizza bought by Miss Yeates, which was missing from her flat and became a key clue for police in the weeks that followed, was never found, the jury was told.

One of Miss Yeates’s socks was also missing from her body.

“Vincent Tabak took (the pizza) as he took one of her socks. Why he took those items, ladies and gentlemen, only he can say.”

After Tabak strangled Miss Yeates, he drove her body in the boot of his Renault Megane and dumped it on a verge next to Longwood Lane, a few miles from Clifton.

He covered it with leaves and it snowed a few hours later, hiding the body from view.

Mr Lickley said: “He went home eventually but only after he had sent a text message to his girlfriend, in fact two texts, after the killing, telling her that he was bored.

“He went out again and collected his girlfriend after the Christmas party. He took her to the flat next door to the one where hours before he had taken a woman’s life.”

Mr Reardon returned home on Dec 19th and after finding no sign of Miss Yeates and discovering her personal belongings, including her coat and her keys, he reported her missing in the early hours of Dec 20th.

“Next door,” said Mr Lickley, “a few metres from the increasingly concerned Greg Reardon, Vincent Tabak had realised that sooner rather than later people would start looking for Joanna Yeates.”

Tabak went online and looked up the location where he had dumped her body, and also checked the Avon and Somerset Police website “on an almost hourly basis”.

Mr Lickley said: “It is a striking feature of this case that as a young man was becoming increasingly concerned about his girlfriend there, on the other side of a party wall, was her killer, carrying out research that reflected his involvement in what he had done.”

In the days before Miss Yeates’s body was discovered, said Mr Lickley: “Vincent Tabak continued in his life, going to work, going away for Christmas and to dinner parties. Despite his terrible secret he joined in conversations about Joanna Yeates and was perfectly normal.
“He was able to manipulate others and mask his inner feelings.”

Miss Yeates’s body was found by a couple out walking their dog on Christmas Day, when the missing person inquiry became a murder investigation.

Tabak, who helped design large buildings by studying the movements of people through them, used the internet to look up the times of rubbish collections from the local area, because, the prosecutor suggested, “he had thrown away things that might be incriminating”.

When forensic evidence linked Tabak to the murder in January, “his initial reaction was to accuse the forensic scientists of forgery and taking bribes”, said Mr Lickley.

The trial continues.