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Joanna trial jury considers verdict

Jurors at the Joanna Yeates murder trial have retired to consider their verdict.

The judge urged the six men and six women trying Vincent Tabak to reach a unanimous verdict.

Jurors at Bristol Crown Court "should not allow emotion or sympathy" to cloud their judgment in deciding whether Tabak intended to kill Miss Yeates, Mr Justice Field said.

The defendant, 33, denies murder but admits the manslaughter of the 25-year-old at her Clifton flat.

The judge told the jury: "It is your responsibility, and your responsibility alone, to judge the evidence and decide all the relevant facts, and that is a heavy responsibility. You must not allow emotion or sympathy for Joanna and her family and for Greg to cloud your judgment."

Mr Justice Field said the jury needed to focus on what was Tabak's intention at the time the landscape architect died.

"Did he intend to kill her or cause her really serious harm?," the judge asked. "The fact that afterwards the defendant may have regretted what he had done does not amount to a defence.

"If having examined the evidence, and despite the defendant's denial, you are sure that when the defendant strangled Joanna Yeates he intended to kill her or cause her really serious bodily harm, your verdict will be guilty.

"If you are not sure of his intentions when he strangled Joanna Yeates your verdict should be not guilty."

Mr Justice Field carefully recounted the evidence taking the jury through Tabak's oral evidence and his account of his movements on the night of December 17. He also spoke of the evidence given by pathologists Dr Russell Delaney and Dr Cary.

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