Police hunting the killer of Joanna Yeates appeal for information about a car, as officers say there is no evidence to suggest the 25-year-old was sexually assaulted.
Senior Investigating Officer Phil Jones of Avon and Somerset Police said: “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 4×4 vehicle.
“This 4×4 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.”
The officer added that at this stage there was “no evidence to suggest that Joanna was sexually assaulted”.
“However I have not ruled out that there might have been a sexual motive”, he said.
According to reports police have said one “hypothesis” is that an accomplice helped whoever strangled Miss Yeates. But officers added that they did not want to make assumptions about the murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Jones said: “The team and I have been working tirelessly to analyse information from potential witnesses and the public.
“I understand that both the public and the media have many questions. As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, some of these questions could prove vital when it comes to an arrest or prosecution, therefore I have to be somewhat guarded on what I am able to say.
“We are carrying out painstaking, detailed forensic analysis of her flat and the outcomes from this could take a considerable length of time, despite prioritising and working closely with all our forensic service providers.
“I am satisfied that Jo got back to her flat but I’m not able to speculate whether she let somebody into the flat, whether somebody was already in there or whether someone broke into the flat.
“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 December 18 has a considerable impact on this and I am working with numerous forensic specialists to determine the timings.”
Police have warned women not to walk home alone after dark following the discovery of Miss Yeates’s snow-covered body on Christmas Day.
Her landlord Chris Jefferies, the only person to be arrested as part of the investigation so far, was freed on police bail pending further inquiries. The 65-year-old was arrested on suspicion of the murder on Thursday and held until Saturday night, when he was released.
Increased patrols are being maintained in the up-market Clifton area where Miss Yeates lived with her boyfriend Greg Reardon, 27, to reassure the public as more than 70 police officers and other staff continue to investigate the crime.
Police have given assurances that there was nothing to suggest the murderer was a serial killer or that the public should be extra-worried.
Miss Yeates was last seen on the evening of Friday December 17 after she had been drinking with colleagues in the Ram pub in Park Street.
Her body was found by dog walkers in Failand, North Somerset, on Christmas Day. She had been strangled.