Joanna Yeates' neighbour 'heard nothing'


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The Independent Online

A neighbour of Joanna Yeates did not hear any screams on the night she died at the hands of Vincent Tabak, a court heard today.

Geoffrey Hardyman, who lives in the flat on the top floor of 44 Canynge Road, said he was ill with a cold on the night of December 17 last year.


He said that even though he had gone to bed at 11pm - after Miss Yeates was killed by Tabak - he heard nothing of the events inside her ground floor flat.


Bristol Crown Court heard that Mr Hardyman knew nothing of the 25-year-old landscape architect's disappearance until he was told on the following Monday by her and Tabak's landlord Christopher Jefferies.


"On Friday December 17 2010 I fell ill with a cold and stayed in all day," Mr Hardyman said in a statement read to jurors by junior defence counsel Dean Armstrong.


"I was unaware of any activity outside my flat. I went to bed at 11pm. I slept really well until 6.30am.


"The following morning I felt worse and cancelled a lunch appointment that day.


"I sat in my flat all day Saturday and Sunday and was unaware of anything out of the ordinary outside of my flat.


"I finally become aware that Joanna was missing when Christopher Jefferies told me on Monday morning."


The retired teacher, who has owned his flat for around 20 years, said he had met Miss Yeates and her boyfriend Greg Reardon briefly.


"I actually only met Greg and Joanna on three occasions while I was working in the garden," he said.


"I have had a friendly conversation with Joanna about her cat who I like to see in the garden.


"I would describe them both as nice and friendly and I was impressed with them."


Miss Yeates's parents, David and Teresa, and her boyfriend Mr Reardon sat in the public gallery to hear Mr Hardyman's statement read to the court.


After the statement had been read, William Clegg QC formally closed the defence case.


Jurors were told to return to court tomorrow when closing speeches by prosecutor Nigel Lickley QC and Mr Clegg will begin.


Tabak, 33, a Dutch engineer, denies murder but has pleaded guilty to Miss Yeates's manslaughter.


Her snow-covered frozen body was found by dog walkers on Christmas Day last year in Longwood Lane, Failand, North Somerset - about three miles from where she was last seen alive in Clifton.


Jurors have been told that Tabak was arrested on January 20 after a DNA swab he gave matched that of samples found on Miss Yeates's body and clothing.


Giving evidence Tabak tearfully apologised to her family for putting them through hell.


He said his actions were "horrendous" as he showed jurors with his own hand how he strangled his next-door neighbour.


Tabak said he had been attracted to her and "made a pass at her" when she invited him in.