20 Jan 2011

Joanna Yeates murder: police search neighbour’s flat

Following the arrest of a 32-year-old in connection with the murder of Joanna Yeates, police search a flat belonging to Dutch national Vincent Tabak. Channel 4 News looks at his background.

Joanna Yeates murder: police search neighbour's flat

Police closed off Canynge Road in Clifton, Bristol, today, where 25-year-old Joanna Yeates lived before she was found strangled on Christmas Day in Somerset.

Miss Yeates went missing on 17 December after a night out with colleagues in the city. Her frozen body was later found on 25 December. A post-mortem found that she had been strangled.

Police are currently searching the neighbouring property to where Miss Yeates rented a ground-floor flat prompting speculation that police were investigating fresh leads.

Dutch architect Vincent Tabak, 32, is registered as living at the address with his girlfriend.

Channel 4 News has learned that the trilingual architect worked as a people-flow analyst for engineering firm Buro Happold. He is an expert in the use of space in office buildings and holds a masters science degree and PhD.

The police response
Channel 4 News reporter, Darshna Soni, writes on the police approach to this latest development:

"Avon and Somerset police have handled news of this latest arrest very carefully. When we arrived at Jo Yeates' flat this morning, a cordon had gone up outside her house, restricting access to the street where she lived. Up until now, the public, camera crews and journalists have been allowed to wonder up outside the Victorian house in Clifton quite freely.

"Police also tried to control access to an address less than a mile away from Ms Yeates' flat, where I understand the suspect was arrested this morning. When I arrived there to film, there were no officers ourside the quiet, residential street. A team of forensic officers were inside the ground floor flat. But as soon as our camera was spotted, three police vans arrived and this street too was suddenly cordoned off.

"It seems that the Avon And Somerset force want to avoid a repeat of what happened when they arrested their first suspect, Ms Yeates' landlord. Detectives were critisied for their handling of the investigation and concerns were raised about some media reports. The landlord's solicitor told me shortly after he was bailed that Mr Jeffereis may be taking legal action against some newspapers.

"This may have influenced some of the latest reporting, which has been considerably more restrained. After all, the suspect hasn't been charged with anything and may yet be released without charge."

Eindhoven University of Technology confirmed Mr Tabak completed a PhD in “User Simulation of Space Utilisation” three or four years ago.

According to his CV, Mr Tabak has co-authored a number of papers relating to his profession. His interests include travelling in America and Asia, photography and sailing.

Mr Tabak’s girlfriend Tanja Morson is reported to work as an analyst at Dyson, in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

Scaffolding and a green tarpaulin were erected at the rear of the substantial converted Victorian property today.

The screen covers the entrance to flat two, where Mr Tabak lived, and the rear of Miss Yeates’s rented home. Police sealed off both ends of Canynge Road as officers in white forensic outfits arrived at the property.

Suspect arrested

Avon and Somerset Police have not named the suspect who was arrested early this morning on suspicion of murdering Miss Yeates.

He is the second person to have been arrested in the police investigation. The first, landlord Chris Jefferies, was released on bail pending further inquiries earlier this month.

“I would like to thank the public for their continued support for the investigation.” Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones

Miss Yeates’s father welcomed the latest development, which came almost five weeks after she disappeared.

Speaking at the family home in Ampfield, Hants, David Yeates, 63, said he was “pleased” the police investigation was “moving forward”.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, who is leading the inquiry, thanked Miss Yeates’s family and boyfriend for their support.

He said: “I would like to thank the public for their continued support for the investigation and the information they have provided to us.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Jo’s family and to Greg, who continue to be unfailing in their support to me and my team at what is an incredibly difficult and painful time for them.”