Monday 19 February 2018

Jo was her ‘usual jovial self’ on night she was killed – friends

Tom Morgan and Rod Minchin

JOANNA Yeates had been her usual "jovial" self on the night she was killed, friends told a court today.

Darragh Bellew, a landscape architect colleague of Miss Yeates, said she bought him a pint during post-work festive drinks.

Before leaving the Bristol Ram pub to walk back to her flat on December 17, she told him she was planning to bake cakes and bread, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Irishman Mr Bellew said Miss Yeates had been in good spirits.

When prosecution barrister Nicholas Rowland asked him whether she was drunk, Mr Bellew told the jury: "Not at all, just jovial, her usual self."

CCTV footage showed Miss Yeates and Mr Bellew leaving their office on Park Street, using a cashpoint, then walking up the hill to the Ram.

Mr Bellew told how colleagues and friends from an Irish Gaelic football team were joining them in the pub, which was packed with Christmas revellers.

When asked whether she left before other drinkers, Mr Bellew said: "She would always leave before most of us - when we would go on drinking she would go to be with Greg (Reardon, her boyfriend) really."

Mr Bellew asked her what she had planned for the weekend.

"She replied that she was going to bake some cakes and bread over the weekend because Greg was away," he told the court.

"We had a joke and said she was going to bring them in to the office on Monday morning."

He was alerted that something might have happened to Miss Yeates when Mr Reardon called him at midnight on the Sunday.

Mr Bellew added: "He said he had got back to the flat and found it strange that all Jo's belongings were there."

He was subsequently called by police at 3am on Monday, the court heard.

Jurors heard the first witnesses this morning after visiting Miss Yeates's home which had been preserved with personal belongings and Christmas decorations since she was killed at her home in Clifton.

Her next-door neighbour Vincent Tabak, 33, admits manslaughter but denies murder.

Michael Brown, who worked with Miss Yeates as an architectural assistant at BDP, met her and other work colleagues at the Ram on December 17.

In a written statement read to the court, Mr Brown said he had spoken to Miss Yeates in the Ram about her plans for Christmas and who would win the final of The Apprentice, which was being aired on the Sunday night.

"I remember texting Jo and betting her 50p that Chris was going to win The Apprentice show on the BBC," he said.

"She said she didn't have any plans for the weekend and appeared bored and she planned to do baking."

Mr Brown said he had a joke with Miss Yeates but added: "Jo was not in the best of moods and appeared bored."

He said that colleagues had bought Miss Yeates a pint and a half of cider but added she was not slurring her words and did not appear unsteady on her feet.

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