Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Jurors visit preserved flat where Joanna Yeates died

An interior view of the flat of Joanna Yeates on October 12, 2011 in Bristol, England
An interior view of the flat of Joanna Yeates on October 12, 2011 in Bristol, England
An interior view of the flat of Joanna Yeates on October 12, 2011 in Bristol, England
An interior view of the flat of Joanna Yeates on October 12, 2011 in Bristol, England
An interior view of the flat of Joanna Yeates on October 12, 2011 in Bristol, England
An interior view of the flat of Joanna Yeates on October 12, 2011 in Bristol, England
Vincent Tabak is charged with the murder of Joanna Yeates

Jurors at the Joanna Yeates murder trial yesterday entered a home that was frozen in time.

They visited Joanna Yeates's flat which was poignantly preserved with personal belongings and Christmas decorations since she was killed on December 17.

Mr Justice Field helped the jury retrace Joanna’s steps through Bristol's upmarket Clifton district when they briefly saw the garden flat where defendant Vincent Tabak lived before spending 22 minutes next door at Miss Yeates's home.

Inside, many belongings and mementoes had been left unmoved since Joanna’s death.

Among the personal belongings visible throughout the flat were Miss Yeates's Asics running shoes, snow boots, two cat litter trays for Joanna and her partner Greg Reardon’s pet and a scene that showed a home preparing for Christmas; unused wrapping paper, an unopened box of Christmas crackers and tinsel-adorned shelves.

The jury was also shown the bedroom she shared with Mr Reardon. Carpets had been removed by police but the couple's double bed and duvet remained with two wardrobes full of clothes and a bedside table adorned with perfumes, make-up and cuddly toys.

Before visiting the flat on Canynge Road, the jury was taken to Park Street, where Miss Yeates had begun her night.

The bus paused at Joanna’s workplace and again at the Bristol Ram pub where Joanna joined colleagues. Jurors then disembarked near Clifton Village where they were guided on foot. They walked to the nearby Tesco Express where Miss Yeates bought a pizza and then onto a shop, formerly named Bargain Booze, where she picked up some cider.

After CCTV cameras were pointed out to them at the Hophouse pub and on the corner of Canynge Road, jurors were taken to Miss Yeates's home.

Miss Yeates suffered 43 injuries after being attacked by Tabak inside the flat, prosecutors claim.

She was said to have suffered a slow and painful death.

Tabak's QC, William Clegg, had asked the jurors to think about four issues closely during the visit.

He wanted them to consider the time and distance it would take to walk from the Hophouse public house to Miss Yeates's home, and to consider the view from the kitchen window of her flat.

The jurors completed their trip by visiting the verge where her body was found on Christmas Day.

Earlier they had crossed over Canynge Road to No 53 to stand by the front door, at Mr Clegg's request.

The barrister told them: “We would like you to go there and having already been to No 44, whether in your judgment you think it possible that the scream that was made inside the flat of No 44 could possibly be heard if you are standing outside No 53?

“The defence are going to suggest that it was by no means certain that the scream that was heard was connected to this event.”

Background

Vincent Tabak (33) kept his crime secret for more than six weeks before confessing to a prison chaplain, prosecutors claim. Dutch engineer Tabak admits the manslaughter of Joanna Yeates but denies murder. The case was adjourned to return to Bristol Crown Court today when the jury will hear the first evidence from witnesses.

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