Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Joanna police launch Facebook plea

Joanna Yeates's body was found on Christmas morning by a couple walking their dogs
Senior Investigating Officer Phil Jones at a press conference in Bristol over the murder of Joanna Yeates

Detectives investigating the murder of Joanna Yeates have launched a national campaign on Facebook to appeal for witnesses.

Avon and Somerset Police have placed an advert on the popular social networking site, appealing for help, in the hope of catching the landscape architect's killer.

The 25-year-old's snow-covered body was found on Christmas morning by a couple walking their dogs just three miles from her home in the Clifton area of Bristol.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, who is leading the murder investigation, said: "The majority of people these days are spending time on Facebook and other social networking sites.

"This has become part of everyday routine for many people. This advert allows us to point people to special features on our website with all the latest information, it allows them to contact the incident room direct online rather than calling in.

"I would once again urge anyone who may have not contacted my team and may have information that could help this inquiry to contact us. Let us decide if this information is significant."

Meanwhile, crime scene investigators were at Miss Yeates's flat, using advanced forensic techniques to examine the scene. There was a sign outside the building in Canynge Road saying "Do not enter, dangerous chemicals."

Avon and Somerset Police have successfully used Facebook in several other high-profile cases. It is a far more cost-effective method than poster campaigns and mass leaflet distribution and, due to the viral nature of Facebook, can be shared much wider.

Scott Fulton, head of e-services for the force, said: "Social media is growing rapidly and has become a daily factor in most people's routine. On this inquiry alone we have had shares of the story from the force's Facebook page of 24,220. Additionally there have been over 63,000 views of the news updates on our website, a further 18,000 on the dedicated Jo page and over 70,000 views of the CCTV clips on our YouTube channel.

"Through the website we have had 260 inbound messages to the incident room. Anyone can send information to the team this way via www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/jo."

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