Engineer gets life for 'evil' Yeates murder
Parents hope architect's killer endures 'living hell' in prison
THE parents of Joanna Yeates said they hoped her killer, Vincent Tabak, suffered a "living hell" for the rest of his days after he was found guilty of her murder yesterday.
The 33-year-old Dutch engineer will spend at least 20 years in prison after being given a life sentence for what the trial judge, Mr Justice Field, described as a "dreadful, evil act".
Tabak closed his eyes and bowed his head slightly as the jury at Bristol Crown Court returned a guilty verdict after almost 14 hours of deliberation.
He had claimed he strangled Miss Yeates accidentally, but the judge said he had no doubt that the 25-year-old landscape architect was the victim of a sexually motivated attack.
Prosecutors believe that Tabak's "wicked" crime was driven by his fantasies of choking women during sexual intercourse.
In strangling his neighbour, he went from "observer to perpetrator".
Police are also understood to be investigating Tabak for other offences relating to material found on his computers.
David and Teresa Yeates were not in court yesterday to hear the verdict in the trial of their daughter's killer, after admitting they were finding the waiting too difficult to bear.
But in an emotional statement issued at the conclusion of the three-week trial, they said they would never get over their loss and believed the judge in the case should have had the option to sentence Tabak to death.
"We saw no emotions of remorse or regret for what he did to Joanna," they said.
"We felt that all emotions expressed by him were false.
"All we heard were words of self-pity. For us, it is with regret that capital punishment is not a possible option for his sentence.
"The best we can hope for him is that he spends the rest of his life incarcerated, where his life is a living hell being the recipient of all the evils, deprivations and degradations that his situation can provide.
"We will never get over our loss, how she was murdered and the total lack of respect with which her body was treated.
"We so miss her happy voice and seeing her living life to the full."
Miss Yeates's boyfriend, Greg Reardon, who was in court, showed no emotion as the guilty verdict was read out.
But as Tabak was being taken down to begin his life sentence, he turned and stared at him intently.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Field said: "You have been convicted of the murder of Joanna Yeates on sound and substantial evidence."
He said Tabak strangled her, intending to kill her, in a "dreadful, evil act".
"In my judgment, you are very dangerous. You are also thoroughly deceitful, dishonest and manipulative," he told Tabak.
Tabak had denied murdering Miss Yeates but admitted her manslaughter, claiming he had accidentally strangled her after she invited him into her flat on the evening of December 17 last year. He said that Miss Yeates had made a "flirty" comment and he had "misread the situation" and attempted to kiss her.
She screamed and he grabbed her round the neck in an attempt to "calm her down".
But the jury saw through his lies and convicted Tabak by a majority of 10 to two after failing to arrive at a unanimous verdict following three days of deliberations.
Mr Justice Field said, while there were no mitigating factors in his judgment, there were a number of aggravating ones. (© Daily Telegraph, London)