Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Jo 'strangled for sexual thrills'

Joanna Yeates
An artist's sketch of Vincent Tabak giving evidence at Bristol Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook)

Joanna Yeates's killer has faced allegations that he strangled her for sexual thrills.

Vincent Tabak, who denies murder but admits manslaughter, denied claims he had been aroused as he was asked to imagine his victim's last moments.

Miss Yeates's relatives watched in a hushed courtroom as he closed his eyes for 20 seconds - the time he claims it took to throttle her. She may have been home for only a few minutes before Tabak was at her door with her cat, Bernard, the prosecution put to him.

On his second day in the witness box, Tabak, 33, said he was attracted to Miss Yeates, but claimed sex was not on his mind. He told Bristol Crown Court Miss Yeates had been cheery and happy while flirting with him before the attack.

Prosecution QC Nigel Lickley then asked him: "What's the difficulty in accepting it is sexual? Is it because there are other sexual elements to what happened?" Tabak replied: "There were no other sexual elements."

Mr Lickley asked: "Is the holding of her throat sexual in your mind? Did you derive sexual gratification from holding her throat?" Tabak replied: "Definitely not."

Mr Lickley asked: "Were you sexually aroused when you were holding her throat with your hand over her mouth?" The defendant replied: "Definitely not."

Tabak admitted he had misled police as a search was launched for her body and apologised for raising suspicions about landlord Christopher Jefferies. "I am sorry I dragged him into this," he told the jury.

He said he was "in a state of panic, turmoil" after dumping her body on a snowy verge in Failand, Somerset, on December 17. He said: "I was exhausted that evening after moving Joanna's body."

The court was adjourned until Monday.

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