Tuesday 16 January 2018

Joanna Yeates trial: Vincent Tabak 'was determined to kill'

Murdered: Joanna Yeates. Photo: Getty Images
Murdered: Joanna Yeates. Photo: Getty Images

Martin Evans

VINCENT Tabak had a continued determination to kill when he held Joanna Yeates by the neck for 20 seconds, a court was told today.

In his closing remarks to the jury Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, said there could be no doubt as to his intention when he grabbed the 25-year-old landscape architect round the throat on December 17 last year.

Mr Lickley said Miss Yeates would have been struggling and fighting as he held her and Tabak could have chosen to walk away, but he did not.

He said 6ft 4in Tabak was in control throughout the situation and was deliberate and calculating when he strangled her.

As the trial entered its final stages, Mr Lickley said: “It’s a method of killing that takes time. It is not instantaneous. It is protracted and it’s persistent.”

He added: “Twenty seconds is a long time...t’s a long time when you have your hands around the throat of another person.

“Every second means a continued determination to kill.”

Mr Lickley told the jury at Bristol Crown Court: “We know that Tabak strangled Jo Yeates by putting his hand or hands around her neck. It was deliberate and calculating.

“He knew she would die if he held her neck for long enough…He knew she was struggling and fighting and he knew she was in pain, he knew she was frightened. He knew she could not breathe but instead of letting her go and releasing his grip he carried on and carried on until she fell limp in his hands, her life extinguished.”

Mr Lickley told jurors that the prosecution case was that the killing had been motivated by a sexual element.

He said: “The whole incident is linked to sex. This is a killing linked to sex.”

He also told them that Tabak’s behaviour after the killing was not that of someone in panic as the defendant had suggested but of someone was “cool”, “calculating” and “detached”.

Mr Lickley said: “His girlfriend had no inkling as to what he had done because he was able to mask his feelings completely. He has known her for sometime. There was no clue, no trace of emotion for her to see.

There was no panic, no inner turmoil, he was cool and detached.”

Closing his remarks to the jury Mr Lickley said: “There is no doubt as to how that woman died and we suggest there can be no doubt as to his intentions at that time.”


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