'It's with regret that capital punishment is not a possible option,' say grieving Yeates family

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The Independent Online

"Deceitful and manipulative" Vincent Tabak was convicted of murdering Joanna Yeates yesterday, as the truth behind his sordid sex life was exposed.

The prosecution had always claimed he had strangled his 25-year-old neighbour to death for sexual gratification and, as the jury convicted him of murder with a majority of 10 to two, it was revealed that he was a fan of pornography in which women were choked, bound and gagged.

Far from being the devoted boyfriend and hard-working employee he claimed, the 33-year-old Dutchman surfed sex sites for escorts, citing business trips as his cover. He had been looking at pornography online on the morning of 17 December 2010 – the day the prosecution said he turned from "observer to participator" and murdered Miss Yeates.

Tabak – at 6ft 4in, a giant of a man compared to his petite victim – simply hung his head in the dock when he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years. Police revealed that his DNA had been sent out to forces around the UK as well as his native Netherlands to see if it matched any found at the scene of other sex attacks.

It had been a "dreadful, evil act" against a vulnerable young woman, which caused "devastation, heartache to her family", said Mr Justice Richard Field.

"That wicked act ended the life of a young woman who was entitled to expect a life of happiness," he said. "You are very dangerous. You are also deceitful, dishonest and manipulative. Joanna died a dreadful death at your hands.

She died in pain, beset with fear, struggling desperately for her life."

For Miss Yeates's parents David and Teresa, and her boyfriend Greg Reardon, 28, the verdict brought little relief.

"This trial has had little effect on our lives. We still lost our daughter, and our son has lost his sister," her mother and father said in a statement.

''We saw no emotions of remorse for what he did to Jo. We felt that all emotions expressed by him were false – all we heard was self-pity. For us, it is with regret that capital punishment is not a possible option for his sentence."

Bristol Crown Court heard how Miss Yeates had been planning a quiet weekend at her flat in Clifton, Bristol, as her boyfriend was away.

Within minutes of her return home, neighbours heard screams. Tabak dumped her body in a remote lane where it was found on Christmas day.

Tabak, who admitted manslaughter but denied murder, claimed he had simply placed his hand over Miss Yeates's mouth when she screamed because he tried to kiss her.

The prosecution called him a "deceitful liar" and, yesterday, the jury agreed.