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January 26 - February 1 2011
By Martin Evans and John Bingham THE parents of Joanna Yeates wish to come face to face with the man accused of killing their daughter, they insisted this week.
Vincent Tabak, 32, a Dutch national, who lived next door to Miss Yeates in the Clifton area of Bristol, appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court on Monday charged with murdering the 25-year-old landscape architect.
He was arrested in the early hours of last Thursday after a month-long police investigation.
Detectives questioned the former PhD student for three days before announcing that he had been charged with murder on Saturday night.
David and Theresa Yeates this week expressed their relief over the latest development in the case and said they wanted to face Mr Tabak in court when he appeared.
Speaking from their home in Ampsfield, Hampshire, Mr Yeates, 63, an IT professional, said: “We don’t yet know if we will go to magistrates’ court, but we do want to see Vincent Tabak sometime. I believe he will probably be sent to Crown Court next week and we will go to that hearing.”
Relatives of Mr Tabak were preparing to travel to Britain to visit him. They have expressed shock at his arrest and have protested his innocence.
Mr and Mrs Yeates also said that they hoped their daughter’s body could be released so they could go ahead with her funeral, but admitted it would be the “worst day of our lives”.
Describing their constant struggle to come to terms with her death, Mr Yeates said: “Nothing will ever bring Jo back – we will always have this massive loss in our lives. I know time is supposed to heal some things but I cannot believe anything will ever change our feeling of loss.
“The most important thing now to us is Jo’s funeral. We have a date in mind and all the paperwork is being done for her to come back here – she is going through the official process.’’
Miss Yeates disappeared on December 17 following an early evening drink with colleagues at the Bristol Ram pub in the city centre.
Police confirmed that she had returned home to the flat in Canynge Road, Clifton, where she lived with her boyfriend Greg Reardon, 27, as her keys, mobile phone,
Vincent Tabak with girlfriend, Tanja Morson. Inset: Joanna Yeates purse and coat were all found there.
She was reported missing on Sunday December 19 when Mr Reardon returned home from a weekend in Sheffield, where he had been visiting his brother.
Miss Yeates’s snow-covered body was discovered by dog walkers on Christmas Day about three miles away in Longwood Lane in the village of Failand. She had been strangled.
Mr Tabak, who came to Britain three years ago after landing a job with the architectural firm Buro Happold, lived in the adjoining flat to Miss Yeates and Mr Reardon with his girlfriend Tanja Morson.
He was arrested at an address in nearby Aberdeen Road, which is understood to belong to Emily Williams, who is away travelling in Chile.
Mr Yeates, 58, said he did not believe Mr Tabak and his
A SISTER of Vincent Tabak insisted this week that her “little brother” could not be a killer.
Dr Cora Tabak, who is an adviser on public health in Holland, said the family had been dumbfounded by the news that he had been charged with murder.
Mr Tabak’s brother, Marcel, suggested he had been made a “scapegoat”. At the weekend, members of the Tabak family were attempting to make plans for some of them to travel to Britain to attend Monday’s court hearing.
Marcel Tabak and his elderly mother, Sonja, were seen leaving his home in the village of Doornenburg, eastern Holland, carrying overnight bags. Speaking at her home in Utrecht, Dr Tabak, one of three sisters, said: “I have been sitting open-mouthed since Vincent was charged.
“It’s unbelievable – he is my little brother and I know him very well.
‘‘He is innocent. The whole family were shocked, we’re completely overcome.
“We can’t believe it. Anyone who knows him knows he could never be a killer. He is very gentle and social. There is no aggressiveness in him in any way. He is a straightforward and open person. What you see is what you get.”
She dismissed claims by a neighbour in Bristol that her brother and his girlfriend had separated.
“His girlfriend Tanja is as upset and shocked as well, they are still very much together and she is very concerned about him,” Dr Tabak said.
“We’ve been speaking to her twice a day, the rumours that they have split up are very much wrong.”
Of the murder charge, Marcel Tabak insisted: “It is nonsense, Vincent has been made a scapegoat. I can’t imagine they have got anything on him – the police have panicked and arrested him and then charged him. There is no way that Vincent could have done this.
“It is completely impossible. My mother is very upset by this, we all are.”
John Bingham and Bonny Kramer daughter knew each other socially or professionally.
“I’ve seen him just the once, I’ve never spoken to him,’’ Mr Yeates said. ‘‘I didn’t know his name, I didn’t know what he did. Jo and Greg never mentioned him, they didn’t socialise. As far as I know their paths never crossed.’’ Mrs Yeates, 58, added: “Although I did not recognise Vincent Tabak when I saw his picture, I believe I may have seen him once on one of my three visits to see Jo there as I did see people in the vicinity of his flat.”
By Richard Spencer A BRITISH woman arrested after being attacked by a love rival who discovered her in bed with her ex-boyfriend has been released after a month in Dubai’s “awful” police cells.
Danielle Spencer faces charges of having sexual intercourse outside marriage after Priscilla Ferreira came into the flat one morning before Christmas and found her in bed with Toby Carroll, an analyst for HSBC.
Miss Ferreira is said by Dubai police to have gone on a rampage with a knife, slashing curtains and the door to the bathroom where Miss Spencer was hiding. All three were arrested after Mr Carroll called police for help.
“It has just been awful,” Miss Spencer said after being bailed in the early hours of Sunday morning. “I can’t even begin to think about speaking about it.”
Miss Spencer, 31, is originally from Hull and worked as a pole-dancer before ending up in Dubai after a round-the-world trip. She has worked in the Gulf emirate in property and as an investment consultant before moving to a firm that sells yachts last year.
She went back to Mr Carroll’s flat, where Miss Ferreira, who had been in a relationship with him for five years, found them together.
Miss Ferreira, who faces criminal damage charges, was released on bail at the weekend, while Mr Carroll was freed last week. Miss Spencer and Miss Ferreira became friends after being forced to share a mattress in the women’s cell at Bur Dubai police station, which is meant to house 40 but often holds between 70 and 100 inmates.
Amanda Genta, Miss Spencer’s mother, flew out to help get her daughter released, accompanied by representatives of a British tabloid newspaper.
POLICE claim they have now established a motive behind the murder of Anni Dewani, the bride killed during her honeymoon in Cape Town.
The Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele, said detectives knew why Mrs Dewani had been killed and planned to disclose the details at an extradition hearing in London last week.
However, Mr Dewani, 31, failed to attend the extradition hearing after he was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with an acute stress disorder and a depressive adjustment disorder, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
The businessman from Bristol is facing charges of conspiracy to murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and obstruction of the administration of justice.
The South African authorities are seeking to have Mr Dewani, from
Westbury-on-Trym, in Bristol, taken back to the country to stand trial. Mrs Dewani, 28 and from Sweden, was shot when the taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town on November 13. She was found dead in the back of an abandoned cab with a bullet wound to her neck after cabbie Zola Tongo drove the newlyweds to the township. Mr Dewani claims the vehicle was carjacked and that he and Tongo were forced out of the car unharmed before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed. However, Tongo turned state witness and, in return for a reduced sentence, alleged that Mr Dewani paid £1,400 for his wife to be killed.
The hearing was adjourned to February 8 at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court. Chief magistrate Howard Riddle extended Mr Dewani’s bail.