22 Jan 2011

Yeates murder: police hold neighbour for questioning

A 32-year-old man suspected of murdering the Bristol architect Joanna Yeates is being questioned for a third day.

Officers are still searching a flat next door to the building where Miss Yeates lived. Dutch engineer Vincent Tabak was registered as living there with his girlfriend Tanja Morson.

Forensic teams are also at another address where it is thought Mr Tabak was arrested in the early hours on Thursday.

Specialist search teams have moved into a neighbouring flat in the building where Miss Yeates lived at 44 Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol.

Workers have erected scaffolding and a 12ft high green tarpaulin at the rear of the substantial converted Victorian property where Miss Yeates and Mr Tabak lived.

The screen covers the entrance to Flat 2, where Mr Tabak lived, and the rear of Miss Yeates’s rented home that she shared with her boyfriend, Greg Reardon, 27.

Forensic examinations were continuing yesterday in Canynge Road and at a converted terrace property about a mile away in Aberdeen Road, Cotham, where it is believed Mr Tabak was arrested in the early hours of Thursday.

Police officers have also been seen at the offices of Mr Tabak’s employer, international consultancy Buro Happold, in Lower Bristol Road, Bath.

The firm, and several colleagues, referred all inquiries to Avon and Somerset Police.

Neither Mr Tabak nor Miss Morson, an analyst at Dyson, in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, could be reached by telephone.

It is thought the Dutchman had just returned to Britain from a holiday, having reportedly spent Christmas in Holland with his family. Acquaintances described him as an intelligent and industrious young man.

Former university colleague Jeroen Harink told the Daily Mirror: “He was generally regarded by everyone as being very smart and very hard-working.

Vincent Tabak is being questioned over Joanna Yeates' murder for a third day

“I think he was a nice guy but he didn’t socialise much. You’d never see him out in bars or clubs.”

Another former colleague, Louisa Wickham, 27, who worked with Mr Tabak for a year, described him as quiet but a “very cheerful and friendly guy”.

She told The Sun: “He was well thought of at Buro Happold. He was always being sent to other offices to help out.
“It was clear from the start he was very clever and very good at his job.”

Mr Tabak’s arrest was the second to be made by detectives since Miss Yeates’s frozen body was found dumped in a lane on the outskirts of Bristol on Christmas Day.

Avon and Somerset Police, who have refused to name the man in custody, said in a brief statement yesterday: “This afternoon, police have been to court and successfully applied for a warrant of further detention, which will enable us to continue to question the 32-year-old man we arrested yesterday until late tomorrow evening.

“You will understand that we are therefore unable to comment any further on this investigation at this time.”

Miss Yeates’s father welcomed the latest development, which comes almost five weeks after his daughter disappeared.

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

He said on Thursday: “We know as much as you do. We were told at 6am this morning that someone was arrested on suspicion of Jo’s murder and their age.”