Tuesday 24 October 2017

Jurors shown pictures of Joanna Yeate’s snow covered corpse on country road

Tom Morgan

PICTURES of Joanna Yeates's snow-covered corpse were shown to a jury today.

Forensic officers used a broom handle to help recover her frozen body from a country lane on Christmas Day, the court heard.

The body was found by dog walker Daniel Birch, who told officers he realised his grim discovery after spotting a pocket on her jeans.

Mr Birch and his wife Rebecca had been walking their chocolate labrador Roxy shortly before 9am after opening their presents early.

They discovered a "lump" at the side of Longwood Lane, Failand, Somerset, after parking their Mini One car nearby, Bristol Crown Court heard.

In a police statement read out to the jury, Mr Birch said: "After walking for about 100 metres I saw a lump in the snow and what appeared to be a denim jeans pocket on the left-hand verge.

"I didn't think about it straightaway and continued walking.

"After about 10 paces, my mind was saying 'that's a body' to me."

Miss Yeates's next-door neighbour Vincent Tabak admits manslaughter but denies murder.

Mr Birch handed Roxy's lead to his wife before turning round to inspect the body.

"I said to Rebecca 'That was a body'," Mr Birch said.

Miss Yeates was lying adjacent to the road with her knees pointing towards a quarry wall.

In his statement, Mr Birch remembered the top of Miss Yeates's white knickers and part of her bare back being exposed through the snow.

Martin Faithfull, a forensic officer who reached the scene after police arrived shortly after 9am, told how he tried to prevent Miss Yeates's body thawing out.

Officers avoided putting a tent over her body amid fears that evidence could be compromised, the jury heard.

Tabak's QC, William Clegg, questioned why photographs were not taken of a broom being used to arrange straps underneath the body so her body could be taken away.

"I can't comment on why that was the case," Mr Faithfull said.

"The straps that we used are hooked around the broom so it would have to be the straps that come into contact with the body."

Miss Yeates suffered 43 injuries after being strangled by Tabak at her Clifton flat on December 17, the court has heard.

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