Jo was strangled to stop her from screaming – defence team
Published 17/10/2011 | 13:17
Vincent Tabak claims he strangled Joanna Yeates for 20 seconds after she screamed when he put his arm around her, a court heard today.
Brief extracts from Tabak's defence statement were read out to a jury for the first time as the pathologist who inspected her body was re-examined by the prosecution.
Tabak, who admits manslaughter but denies murder, claims he initially put his hand over her mouth to stop the screams, Nigel Lickley QC told Bristol Crown Court.
The defendant claims to have used "no more than moderate force", Mr Lickley added.
Referring to Tabak's statement, Mr Lickley said: "He removed the hand from the mouth and the screaming continued and then he put the hand around the throat.
"He believes it was the one from around her back and held it there for about 20 seconds."
In the statement, Tabak claims he "didn't intend death or serious injury", Mr Lickley added.
Mr Lickley asked pathologist Russell Delaney about Tabak's statement that he held Miss Yeates's throat "for about 20 seconds".
Dr Delaney replied: "That period of time would be sufficient to cause the signs of venous obstruction and would be long enough to result in her death."
The statement was referred to after Tabak's QC William Clegg suggested his client used just one hand to strangle her.
Dr Delaney said he "cannot exclude the use of one hand" as the claim was made.
During cross-examination of Dr Delaney, Mr Clegg said: "My suggestion is that the injuries are consistent with being caused by one hand - a hand larger than the average hand perhaps."
Miss Yeates suffered 43 injuries at the hands of Tabak at her flat in Clifton, Bristol, on December 17, Bristol Crown Court has heard.
Mr Clegg asked whether it would have been impossible for Miss Yeates to scream as her neck was being squeezed.
"That would depend on the nature of the neck compression," Dr Delaney replied.
The lawyer asked again if her injuries were consistent with being strangled with one hand.
Dr Delaney replied: "Or two, yes."