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Deceitful Tabak intended to kill Joanna Yeates, court is told

By Terri Judd

Vincent Tabak saw the fear in Joanna Yeates's eyes as she struggled for her life, but refused to stop strangling her until she died, Bristol Crown Court was told yesterday.

In his closing remarks, Nigel Lickley, for the prosecution, said Tabak, a 33-year-old Dutch engineer both taller and stronger than his victim, had been in full control that night; with sex on his mind; he had intended to kill or harm Ms Yeates.

Pointing out the discrepancies in Tabak's original defence statements and his evidence in the witness box during the murder trial, Mr Lickley described the defendant as a "deceitful liar" who had covered up his crime in a cool and detached way.

Tabak, who admits manslaughter of Ms Yeates, a 25-year-old landscape architect, but denies murder, stared at the floor, during the QC's speech.

During the three-week trial, the jury heard how Ms Yeates had been strangled after returning home from drinks with colleagues on 17 December last year.

"This is a killing linked to sex," said Mr Lickley. He said Tabak "knew she was struggling and fighting, he knew she was in pain, he knew she was frightened, he knew she couldn't breathe." In conclusion, Mr Lickley said: "He could have at any point released his grip and walked away. He chose not to. Joanna Yeates had no choice in the matter."

William Clegg QC, defending Tabak, urged the jury to base its verdict on the evidence, which he insisted did not back up the prosecution's assertion that Ms Yeates's death was "planned, premeditated and sexually motivated".

The trial continues.

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