Vincent Tabak guilty of Joanna Yeates' murder

3:14pm Friday 28th October 2011

JURORS have found Vincent Tabak guilty of murdering Hampshire born landscape architect Jo Yeates.

The jury of six men and six women found the Dutchman and former neighbour of Miss Yeates guilty of her murder.

Tabak was sentenced to life imprisonment, and must serve a minimum of 20 years.

The Judge had ruled earlier today that he would accept a majority verdict in the case.

They took 13 hours and 56 minutes to come to a decision.


To read the full archive of stories relating to the murder of Joanna Yeates, including all the reaction from the sentencing, see the In-Depth Joanna Yeates section.

Tabak, 33, had admitted killing Miss Yeates before dumping her body which was found on Christmas Day last year, but had denied murdering her.

Giving evidence in his own defence Tabak claimed it was "pure chance" that he strangled her and that he misread her signals by trying to kiss her after she invited him in for a drink.

Tabak says that he put his hand to his 25-year-old victim's throat after she protested at his advances.

But the jury did not believe him and convicted him of murdering the 25-year-old who was a former pupil of Sherborne House School in Chandler's Ford, Embley Park School near Romsey and Peter Symonds College in Winchester.

Police believe Tabak throttled the 25-year-old after watching violent sex videos of women being strangled during sex, it can be revealed.

Tabak also paid for sex with a prostitute in the United States two weeks before killing Miss Yeates, detectives found.

Mr Justice Field began sentencing by telling the jury: ''I think there was a sexual element to this killing.''

Miss Yeates died ''in pain and fear'' and her disappearance left her family suffering ''seven days of agonising uncertainty'', the judge added.

Mr Justice Field told Tabak: ''You have been convicted of the murder of Joanna Yeates on sound and substantial evidence.

''When you entered her flat on the evening of December 17 last year you did not even know her name and had had virtually nothing to do with her.

''You proceeded to strangle her, intending, in my judgment, to kill her.

''A dreadful, evil act committed against a vulnerable unsuspecting young woman in her own home.

''That wicked act ended the life of a young woman who was entitled to expect a life of happiness and fulfilment.

''In my judgment, you are very dangerous. You are also thoroughly deceitful, dishonest and manipulative.

''You have caused devastating heartache and distress to Joanna's family and her partner, Greg Reardon.''

As Mr Justice Field passed his sentence, the jury watched him intently.

Mr Reardon shot a look over his shoulder at Tabak as other members of Miss Yeates's family supported each other, holding hands and fighting back the tears.

Tabak was led away from the dock by six officers under Mr Reardon's watchful eye.

In the corridor outside court, Miss Yeates's family members cried as they shook hands with the senior investigating officer on the case, Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones.

The judge went on: ''Not only by taking Joanna's life but also by hiding her body, with the result they had to go through seven days of agony wondering what had happened to her.

''The sentence for murder is the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment and that is the sentence I must pass on you.''

The judge said there were no migating features in this case - only aggravating factors - and he proceeded to outline them.

''There is a sexual element to the killing of Joanna Yeates,'' the judge said.

''On your own evidence, after an acquaintenceship of only a few minutes, you moved to kiss Joanna and I am quite satisfied that you did not intend to stop there and intended to go much further.

''It was only because of her loud and gestured screams that your sexual purpose was frustrated.''


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