Other High Profile Cases and Persons of Interest > The murder of landscape architect Joanna Yeates in Bristol in December 2010.

The Defence Will State Their Case

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After Dr Vincent Tabak was arrested, there were many questions people had be speculating about hoping for the answers to come out at trial... I being one of them..

One of the major issues I had with the trial and what also started me to really question Dr Vincent Tabak guilt was the distain the defence Counsel had for their own client.. It concerned me greatly..

How can they influence a jury as to the guilt of their own client rather than show mitigating circumstances as to why it was a Manslaughter plea Or Object at the many discrepencies that the prosecutions case posed.

There are many examples of the lack of Defending the Defence council did (IMO) below are some of the comments...

1:  his conduct after Yeates died when he hid the body was “frankly disgusting” and had caused untold anguish and agony to her family.

2:  “I’m not going to ask you to like Vincent Tabak. There’s probably nothing to like.”

3:   And Miss Morson seems to agree, having failed to make a single  appearance at court.

4:  He had told “lie after lie to the police.

5: “did everything he could to cover his tracks”.

6: He added that he would not try to justify Tabak’s actions after her death, saying his client was “living a lie” by attending dinner parties and attempting to carry on his life as normal.

7:  “I’m not going to ask you to have any sympathy for him. He deserves none.

8: “I’m not going to ask you to excuse his conduct. There can be no excuse.

9: “If I was to set out to win a popularity contest I would lose.

10: He told the court: “Of course, afterwards his behaviour is utterly disgraceful. It’s not going to be justified by me

With comments like these who needs enemies???? (IMO)


William Clegg QC has a long history of defending difficult clients, some of whom were presumably bad characters with plenty of previous, and even men accused of war crimes. The remarks on your long list might well have been used by him before, and would have been appropriate to defend, e.g., a Balkan guerrilla who had been present at the massacre of women and children. But to put these same remarks to a jury confronted with the placid Vincent Tabak, who had never been inside a police station before, never had a parking ticket, and was normally cheerful and in robust good health, is a curiosity, to put it mildly.

That is only the beginning of the strange Mr Clegg's defence.

The Prosecutor had a strong case for claiming that Joanna Yeates was murdered (rather than killed accidentally) - even though the evidence that it was Vincent Tabak (rather than another person) who killed her was much weaker - and was not actually tested in court:

(1) Strangling someone accidentally is improbable, unless the victim has a health issue, or the strangler and/or the victim is seriously under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

(2) Joanna's body sustained 43 injuries, at least some of them incurred prior to death

(3) Her boyfriend testified to "strange movements" indicating a sustained struggle in the flat.

Mr. Clegg certainly knew about points 1 and 2 beforehand, though it is possible that point 3 was not known to the defence until they heard it in court. Nevertheless, his team made no attempt whatsoever to mitigate the damaging influence of these items of evidence on the jury.

(1) Joanna was known to have health issues, as she suffered from really bad headaches, and had been off work the day before she was at the Bristol Ram pub. Mr. Clegg should have ensured that the court heard evidence of her health. He should have cross-examined the pathologist to establish the actual alcohol content of Joanna's blood, as the percentage that the jury heard was hearsay.

(2) Mr. Clegg should have challenged the location at which witnesses in court alleged the body was found, so as to show that at least some of the bruises and grazes were attributable, not to the attack by her assailant, but by the circumstances that handicapped recovery of the body and required fire engines and a crane.

(3) Counsel should have cross-examined Greg Reardon to challenge his claim that he had tidied up the flat so that there were no "strange movements" for Joanna's parents to fall over when they arrived.

Having unaccountably decided to allow his client to admit having entered Joanna's flat at all, letting Vincent Tabak deny categorically that there was any struggle was a giveaway. Since she couldn't tell her side of the story, they didn't HAVE to pretend that Joanna was sparkling one minute, and screaming the next. There was absolutely no need to introduce flirting and kissing, as this could only lead to disaster. It is not my job to speculate, but he could have claimed instead to have inadvertently provoked a tipsy, temperamental Joanna into a rage, for example by declaring that Chris Bates was bound to win the final of "The Apprentice", or that he hated cats, or that she had the sound on her TV turned up so loud that it interfered with the classical music he had been listening to.

Defence Counsel, Mr William Clegg, QC’s opening speech:

‘If Jo Yeates had stayed for just one more drink she would be alive today. If Vincent
Tabak had gone to Asda as he had planned that same time, he would not be in the dock
She turned on the oven to bake.
She phoned several male friends and told how she was bored.
She texted Samuel Ashcroft:
“Where are you this fine eve?”
His reply was “Home- sorry”.
She then texted Peter: “Where are you?”
Peter replied “On my way to a wedding. Where are you?”
She replied: “At home- on my todd”.
She texted a third male friend

She has said she was bored and she was looking for company.
It was the Christmas period and many people were at parties.
In the next flat was Vincent Tabak.
They never really knew each other, save for a nod.
Vincent Tabak was also alone- and bored.
He decided to go to Asda – not for anything special but to fill in time.
He left his flat; was walking towards his car and went past her kitchen window.
The kitchen blind was broken and so stayed up all the time, as Greg Reardon had
Vincent was walking towards his car when he passed Joanna’s kitchen window. She saw
him, there was a nod of acknowledgement and she beckoned him to come in. She had
opened the door and invited him in.
 He took off his coat.
 He hung it on her coat rack.
She offered him a drink and he declined as he was driving.
 She said her boyfriend was away and she was alone and he said that his girlfriend was
away and he was alone.
 Vincent Tabak misread her friendliness toward him and made a move towards her as if he
was about to kiss him on her lips.
He put one hand in the middle of her back as if he was about to kiss her, and she screamed
 He put his hand over her mouth and said sorry and when he moved his hand away she
screamed again.
 He put his hand to her mouth and throat and she went limp. She was dead.
He had never touched her before other than to shake hands as he went into her flat.
That moment was all it took and she was dead.
 Nothing was timed.
He thinks that maybe he was in the flat for 10 minutes before she screamed.
The incident when he put her hand on his throat was far less than a minute.
Defence expert Dr Carey will give evidence on Friday 21 December 2010 on this matter.
Prosecution pathologist expert witness, Dr Delaney, said on 18 October that it may well
have been 10 seconds.
Those arriving at the party at Number 53 said they heard screams.
 It is for the jury to decide whether a scream from inside Flat 1 could be heard from
outside 53 Canynge Road.
The jury will have to decide whether anybody could have heard.
But one thing is that three witnesses heard screams spread out over some ten minutes.
This cannot be.
The couple arriving outside number 53, a short time after they were filmed on CCTV at
number 83.
But the weather conditions were icy. How long did it take them to get there?
Warren Sweet said he did not arrive at Number 53’s party until 8.50pm on Friday 17
December 2010.
 When he arrived at No. 53, Warren Sweet said he heard a scream. That cannot be the
same scream that the couple heard.
 The reaction of all four people who heard screams was initially put down to students out
celebrating as term had finished that day.
You may think that the whole of those screams is totally unconnected.
You just couldn’t hear anybody from that distance.

This does mean that one really hasn’t got a real clue as to when Tabak went into
Joanna’s flat except that it was between the time he went to Asda and the time he texted
his girlfriend, say, between 9.00 pm and 11.00 pm.
 Were you to conclude that the couple heard Joanna’s screams and not the scream that Mr
Sweet heard; if the Laymans and Sweet‘s evidence were to be dismissed, it would tie in
with the scientific evidence.
One thing is certain. Joanna Yeates was killed between 21.00 and 21.30 pm on Friday 17
December 2010.
It was not something he planned.
 It was, in the words of Dr Delaney, expert prosecution pathologist witness, that death had
occurred in less than half a minute; less than 20 seconds, less than 10 seconds even.
 A very important piece of evidence is that what Tabak wrote in his statement is nearly the
same and corroborated the undisputed pathologist expert witnesses.But his conduct
afterwards was frankly disgusting.
He took her body and disposed of it.
He caused anguish to her family.
His defence will not be heard to excuse this behaviour.
He was obviously concerned with the incident, trying to track everything.
 It was only a matter of time before the police came to arrest him.
Again he told lie after lie and you will hear no excuse from me about that. It shows a very
calculating person trying to wriggle out of her death but it does not help in thinking of
what happened at the flat….
He went to his flat and left Joanna’s flat door on the latch.
He returned.
He turned off the oven that she had turned on.
 He took the Tesco pizza that was in the kitchen.
 He carried the body from her flat to his flat.
He then put her body in the bag that he used to cover his bike.
He then went to get his car, placed the body in the boot of his car, went to Asda, a trip he
formerly planned, and drove aimlessly around whilst deciding what to do.
He tried to put the body over the wall.
It was too heavy and so he left it by the roadside.
When he got back home, he put the pizza, the cycle cover and the sock into a corporate
And then, despite the awful secret that he was carrying, he tried to carry on as before:
going to parties, living with his girlfriend, etc, instead of going to the police.
There will be no excuse from me for that. He will be called to give evidence on Thursday
20 October

He is not being tried for his behaviour after Joanna died. He is not being tried for
dumping the body. What he is being tried for is whether he killed Joanna Yeates,
intending to kill or cause really serious harm to her, or whether, he panicked and did it
without thinking of the consequences.

--- Quote ---Most of what the prosecution has stated does not go this fact: it goes to what happened
--- End quote ---

From : http://www.criminal-lawyer.org.uk/39-CLN-JAN-2012.pdf    Sally Ramage

I find inconsistencies within this opening speech!!!!!


--- Quote from: Nine on April 03, 2017, 10:10:59 AM ---Defence Counsel, Mr William Clegg, QC’s opening speech:
 Nothing was timed.
--- End quote ---

Well I will agree with him on that score.... NOTHING was timed!!!

(1): Trip to Asda

(2): trip to Longwood Lane

(3): The difficulties moving a dead weight around a flat then outside round the building into another flat etc etc.....

(4): The ability to dispose of a body without being seen..

(5): The exact time Joanna Yeates arrived home....

The defence contradicts themselves on many occasions.... With the opening statement saying Joanna Yeates died between 9:00pm and 9:30pm, they don't realise they go on to say later when Dr Vincent Tabak is on the witness stand that he was at home till 9:29pm....

--- Quote ---One thing is certain. Joanna Yeates was killed between 21.00 and 21.30 pm on Friday 17
December 2010.
--- End quote ---

Well... it couldn't have been your client if you have him in his flat till 9:29pm!!!!!

--- Quote ---Defence Counsel: Can you look at item where you sent message to Tanja ‘missing you’
Can you remember if you sent it before you decided to go to Asda.
Recapping- you come off the Internet at 7.37pm (our entry 47) & remain in your flat until
9.29pm (our entry 88).
--- End quote ---

Which gives him exactly 1 minute to commit this crime......


From The Mirror :Dated 11th October 211

--- Quote ---"I remember at some point before he was arrested but after Joanna was known to be missing that Tanja and I were staying at her parents' house in Cambridge for Christmas," Tabak's statement said.

"The police had phoned us at least twice while we were there. Tanja and I discussed the business of being asked to help move his car in the icy drive on Saturday December 18.

"Tanja felt maybe we should tell the police but I thought it might wrongly incriminate him and that it probably wasn't important."
--- End quote ---

With Dr Vincent Tabak refering to Tanja Morson,you would think that was even more reason for her to have been a witness, so she could confirm or deny his statement.



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