10 Oct 2011

Vincent Tabak on trial for murder of Joanna Yeates

The trial of the man accused of murdering Joanna Yeates has heard he strangled the 25-year old before going shopping while her body was in the boot of his car.

The court also heard the internet searches of Vincent Tabak became more and more consumed with the investigation into her disappearance.

Outlining its case against the 33-year-old Dutch engineer the prosecution said the accused strangled landscape architect Joanna Yeates then went shopping in Asda with her body in his car boot.

The defendant – who admits manslaughter but denies murder – texted his girlfriend to say he was bored just minutes after murdering the 25-year-old, the jury at Bristol Crown Court was told

In the days after killing Miss Yeates, Mr Tabak attended parties and dinners as he coolly maintained the pretence of a worried neighbour, the prosecution claims.

But they add that when alone at work or at home his internet activity became ever more consumed with following the police investigation as it unfolded.

Miss Yeates’ body was discovered at the side of a snow-covered road on Christmas morning by a couple walking their dog.

The 25-year-old architect had gone missing on December 17 and was found in Failand – a few miles from the flat in Clifton that she shared with her boyfriend Greg Reardon.

Prosecution said Tabak went shopping with Yeates' murdered body in his car boot

Internet searches

Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, said when detectives announced they were looking for a box of the pizza that Miss Yeates bought on the night she was last seen alive, Tabak began searching the internet to see when the rubbish had been collected in the Clifton area.

“Why? Because we suggest he had thrown away things that might incriminate him,” Mr Lickley said.

“He looked up information on body decomposition, no doubt hoping nothing would remain of his victim.

“He looked up information on the sentences for murder and manslaughter and constantly searched the Avon and Somerset Police website for information about the case.”

Tabak sat with his head bowed as a recording of Mr Reardon calling police to report Miss Yeates missing was played to the jury.

On the night Miss Yeates went missing she had been at the Ram Pub on Park Street for Christmas drinks with work colleagues.

She walked home at about 8pm via a Bargain Booze shop and a local Tesco, picking up a mozzarella and basil ‘Finest’ pizza.

Mr Lickley said: “The pizza and its box have not been found. Joanna Yeates did not eat it.

“Vincent Tabak took it, as he did one of her socks. Why he took these items only he can say.”

Miss Yeates had got home after drinks and “settled down for the evening when she was interrupted by Vincent Tabak”.

“There were screams heard by neighbours at a nearby party,” Mr Lickley said. “Those screams were Vincent Tabak attacking her.”

Mr Lickley added: “Having killed her, he drove her body in the boot of his Renault Megane car and deposited her in Longwood Lane.”

Mr Lickley said Tabak had attempted to hide Miss Yeates’ body by covering it with leaves.

He may even have tried to lift the landscape architect’s body over a wall into a quarry in Longwood Lane, the prosecutor said.

The trial continues.