Thursday 22 February 2018

Joanna Yeates’s landlord slams his treatment in the media

Christopher Jefferies
Christopher Jefferies

David Wilcock

Joanna Yeates's landlord hit out today at the "extraordinary tissue of fabrication and misrepresentation" spread in the media after his arrest on suspicion of her murder.

Christopher Jefferies was the subject of a barrage of news stories after he was arrested on December 30 last year - stories, he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, which meant he was essentially a prisoner unable to leave the house where he was staying with friends.

His bail was not lifted by Avon and Somerset Police until March 4, after Dutchman Vincent Tabak, who was jailed for life last week, had been arrested and charged with Miss Yeates's murder.

The Daily Mirror was fined £50,000 and The Sun £18,000 earlier this year after being found guilty of contempt of court, and Mr Jefferies received damages for libel from eight papers - The Sun, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Record, Daily Express, Daily Star and Scotsman.

He told the Today programme that he had effectively been housebound while on bail because of the Press interest.

"Those nine weeks or so from the beginning of January to the beginning of March were a particularly stressful period for me," he said.

"During the time I was in custody, the solicitor who was representing me had very, very wisely decided that it was certainly not a good idea that I should be made aware of that (the news stories) and friends after my release protected me from a great deal of it."

He said he had suggested walking into Bristol to buy new clothes and items for washing but his solicitor advised him against it.

"It was at that point the solicitor emphasised in no uncertain terms that this would be an extremely bad idea and that, if necessary, he would come down from London to dissuade me in person," he said.

"It was at that point that I realised how much of a household name, for all the wrong reasons, I had become."

He added: "When one is arrested one is in a particularly defenceless position and it is then made doubly worse if on to that defenceless person is imposed the entirely defamatory and entirely unreal personality that was imposed upon me."

Mr Jefferies was speaking to the Today programme in support of the Hacked Off campaign against the Government's plans to reform "no win, no fee" Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), arguing that he would not have been able to sue the newspapers without them.

The family of murdered Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler are also campaigning against the changes, which the Government says are designed to stop spurious legal action.

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