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Landlord faces fresh quiz over Joanna murder

The landlord being held on suspicion of the murder of Joanna Yeates was today facing a second day of police interrogation.

Retired public school teacher Chris Jefferies (65) was arrested yesterday at his Bristol flat directly above the basement Victorian property he rented to the 25-year-old landscape architect and her boyfriend Greg Reardon (27).

The bachelor's arrest came just 24 hours after he claimed he had watched as three people left Miss Yeates' flat in Canynge Road, in the upmarket area of Clifton on the night she vanished.





Nutty

Neighbours have described Mr Jefferies, who sports a distinctive mane of straggly white hair, as a "nutty professor-type" who was active in his community -- playing a prominent role in his local Neighbourhood Watch group.

He taught English at Clifton College, just yards from his flat, from the early 1970s before taking early retirement in 2001.

Mr Jefferies, an enthusiastic activist for the Liberal Democrats in Clifton, is also a member of the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society (CHIS), which campaigns to conserve buildings in the area.

Resident Tony Buss (51) said his arrest yesterday came as "a shock and surprise".

He said the community had been worried about a killer on the loose.

Another neighbour, a 26-year-old man who did not want to be named, said: "It's all been pretty scary, especially for my girlfriend as I'm away most of the week so it's been pretty scary for her to be home alone."

Referring to Mr Jefferies, he said: "We see him all the time on the road. He's a bit of a nutty professor-type by the looks of it."

CHIS secretary RoseMary Musgrave said: "He's certainly an active member and does come to meetings from time to time, but he's not a committee member."

Ray Lowman, who lives in a flat opposite the mansion where Mr Jefferies and Miss Yeates lived, said: "I'm amazed by it really but also find it quite disconcerting. He is basically a pillar of society. One of the well-known familiar locals."

Mr Lowman acknowledged Mr Jefferies' at times unconventional manner of dress.

"It is one of the problems. His appearance is unusual," he said.





Pleased

Clifton College head Mark Moore said Mr Jefferies had at one time been the school's head of English and said there were no disciplinary issues recorded against him.

"There was nothing in his record at all and he took early retirement, which he is perfectly entitled to do," Mr Moore said.

Forensic officers spent the day in both Miss Yeates' flat and Mr Jefferies' property -- taking away large brown evidence bags from both.

Miss Yeates was last seen on December 17 and her snow-covered body was found on Christmas morning by a couple walking their dogs in Longwood Lane in Failand, North Somerset. She had been strangled.

Her parents, David (63) and Theresa (58) said they were pleased an arrest had been made.

hnews@herald.ie


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