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Joanna Yeates suffered slow and painful death, court is told

By Terri Judd

Joanna Yeates fought a desperate battle for life as she suffered 43 injuries at the hands of her neighbour, a court heard yesterday.

The landscape architect (25) endured a slow and painful death as she was strangled by “cold and calculated” killer Vincent Tabak, Bristol Crown Court was told.

Following his arrest, Tabak kept his crime secret for six weeks before confessing to a prison chaplain, it was alleged. The Dutch engineer (33) was said to have used his height and build to overpower Ms Yeates' 5ft 4ins frame at her flat in Clifton, Bristol.

She fought for her life for some time as he pinned her to the floor by her wrists, said Nigel Lickley QC, for the prosecution.

“There was a violent struggle by Miss Yeates to survive,” he said. “He might have let go but he did not. He knew that Ms Yeates was in pain and struggling to breathe. We suggest he did not panic or lose control. He was controlled and calculated.”

Ms Yeates disappeared after going for drinks with work colleagues on December 17 last year. A couple out walking their dog discovered her body on Christmas morning.

The court heard that Tabak went about his life as normal, “manipulating and misleading” others and protesting his innocence after his arrest on January 20.

The court was told Ms Yeates was strangled by Tabak with his bare hands. Jurors heard that Tabak then drove the body to a country lane, dumped it and covered it with leaves.

When found, Ms Yeates had 43 wounds, mainly to the head, neck and arms, and had been strangled.

The trial continues.

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