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Joanna Yeates killer misread friendliness, court told

By Terri Judd

Joanna Yeates's killer claims he “misread” the situation when he strangled her, his trial heard yesterday.

Vincent Tabak's barrister insisted that the defendant had first tried to kiss the 25-year-old landscape architect and that her death was a misfortune caused by her horrified reaction.

William Clegg QC insisted the Dutch engineer (33) never intended to kill her. The jury at Bristol Crown Court heard how it was “pure chance” that the two neighbours were alone.

Tabak had walked past her kitchen window and she invited him in, marking, the QC said, an “unfortunate starting point for the defence case”.

The lawyer said: “He misread her friendliness towards him and made a move towards her as if he was about to kiss her on the lips.”

As he put his arm around Miss Yeates, she screamed and he put a hand over her mouth. Mr Clegg said: “He said to her ‘stop screaming'.

“He took his hand away and she carried on screaming. He panicked. He put one hand around her throat and the other over her mouth. In seconds — far less than a minute — Joanna went limp. She was dead.”

The trial continues.

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