How a night out ended in a brutal murder...
It was just an ordinary night out with colleagues for Joanna Yeates, 25. At 8pm on 17 December 2010, the landscape architect left the pub for home. On the way, she bought a pizza, some cider, and made a phone call to her friend to make plans for Christmas Eve.
After that, no-one would hear from Jo again…
Two days later, her boyfriend, Greg Reardon, returned from a weekend away and reported her missing. A huge police hunt began. Then, on Christmas Day, her body was discovered on the outskirts of Bristol.
She’d been strangled and suffered 43 injuries. Police searched drains close to her flat and filmed a reconstruction of Jo’s last movements. A national newspaper offered a £50,000 reward for information.
Then finally, on 20 January 2011, a 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of her murder. That man was Vincent Tabak – Jo’s next-door neighbour.
In May 2011, Tabak appeared at the Old Bailey and admitted manslaughter, but denied murdering Jo. He said he’d strangled Jo when she’d screamed after he’d put his arm around her, misreading what she thought was a flirty comment.
He denied his motive for the killing was sexual. However, after Tabak was convicted and sentenced to life for Jo’s murder, the public learned what the jury had not been told.
Tabak had an obsession with pornography showing women being choked. He’d watch one such sick clip on the morning of Jo’s murder. And in the weeks that followed, Tabak used the internet to flick between news reports of Jo’s disappearance and pictures of women being throttled.
As he’d done this, the police must have been swarming outside, searching all around Jo’s flat for clues. At that point, like Jo, no-one had thought to suspect the neighbour she didn’t even know posed such a danger.