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Tabloid Jo reports 'in contempt'

Two tabloid newspapers were in contempt of court because of the way they covered the arrest of a suspect by police investigating the killing of landscape architect Joanna Yeates, the High Court has been told.

The Government's chief legal adviser said reports in The Sun and Daily Mirror would have posed a "substantial risk" of prejudicing any trial Miss Yeates' landlord, Christopher Jefferies, might have faced.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve said material in the articles gave an "overall impression" that Mr Jefferies had a "propensity" to commit the kind of offences for which had had been arrested.

He argued that the newspapers' publishers were in contempt of court, and called for them to be penalised.

Both newspapers dispute Mr Grieve's claims and deny contempt.

A panel of three judges, which included Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, reserved judgment to a date to be fixed after listening to arguments from all sides at a day-long hearing in London.

Miss Yeates, 25, who lived in Clifton, Bristol, disappeared on December 17, 2010 after going for Christmas drinks with colleagues. Her frozen body was found on a roadside verge in Failand, Somerset, on Christmas Day.

The court heard that Mr Jefferies, a retired teacher in his 60s, was arrested on December 30. He was subsequently released without charge and was "entirely innocent of any involvement", Mr Grieve told judges.

He said his concerns related to articles in the Mirror on December 31 and January 1 and in The Sun on January 1.

Judges were told that one Daily Mirror front page carried the headline "Jo Suspect is Peeping Tom" beneath a photograph of Mr Jefferies, and another front-page headline read "Was Killer Waiting In Jo's Flat?", with the sub-headings "Police seize bedding for tests" and "Landlord held until Tuesday" below.

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