Yeates murder suspect held as police search neighbour's flat
Published 21/01/2011 | 05:00
Detectives hunting the killer of Joanna Yeates were last night questioning a man on suspicion of her murder and searching the flat of one of her neighbours.
A 32-year-old man was arrested early yesterday morning. Avon and Somerset Police have not named him, but last night forensics officers were searching the flat of Vincent Tabak, a 32-year-old Dutch engineer who lived in the same block of flats as Ms Yeates.
Scaffolding and a green tarpaulin was erected at the rear of the converted Victorian property on Canynge Road and a screen covered the entrance to the flat where Mr Tabak lived, and the rear of Ms Yeates's rented home. Police sealed off both ends of the street as officers searched the property.
The arrest is believed to have taken place at a house in Aberdeen Road, one mile away from the block of flats.
Ms Yeates's father welcomed the latest development, which came almost five weeks after she disappeared and four weeks after her body was found.
Speaking at the family home in Ampfield, Hampshire, David Yeates (63) said: "We were told at 6am that someone was arrested on suspicion of Jo's murder and their age. Both Teresa and I are very pleased an arrest has been made and the investigation is moving forward."
Mr Tabak, who worked as a people-flow analyst for engineering firm Buro Happold in Bath, lived with his girlfriend, Tanja Morson in Clifton.
Eindhoven University of Technology confirmed that Mr Tabak, from Veghel in the Netherlands, had completed a PhD three or four years ago.
Last night, a close university friend said he was shocked that Mr Tabak had been linked to the investigation.
Erik Blokhuis (29) added: "Vincent was a colleague of mine for two years and we were quite close.
"We keep in regular contact via email at least once a month. I last heard from him just after New Year's Eve. He sent me an email wishing me all the best on behalf of him and Tanja.
"He met her in England in February 2009. She is a very open person. The first time I met her it felt like we were friends already. I liked her from the moment I saw her.
"I know he enjoys living in England a lot. And he is very happy with his girlfriend.
"I saw them together in Eindhoven a few times when he came back to visit and they looked happy. I think they had plans to maybe get married.
"We went to pubs often. I considered him a very good friend and still do. We would watch movies together and go to bars often.
"He told me he had made many friends at work and also through Tanja. He is a a very sociable person."
The arrest was the second to be made since Ms Yeates's frozen body was found dumped in Longwood Lane, four miles from her home, on Christmas Day.
Chris Jefferies, Ms Yeates's landlord, was arrested on December 30 and questioned for three days on suspicion of murder before being released on bail. He has since told friends he expects to be cleared and has denied any involvement with Ms Yeates' death.
She disappeared on December 17 after going for Christmas drinks with colleagues at her architectural firm.
Police have said there was no evidence that Ms Yeates had been sexually assaulted but they have not ruled out a sexual motive.
It is understood that police are investigating whether Ms Yeates's body was taken from her home in a large bag or suitcase. It has also been claimed that police found three separate foreign DNA traces on different parts of her body. (© Independent News Service)