Joanna Yeates trial jury considers verdict

Jurors at the Joanna Yeates murder trial retired today to consider their verdict.

The judge urged the six men and six women trying Vincent Tabak to reach a unanimous verdict.

Jurors at Bristol Crown Court "should not allow emotion or sympathy" to cloud their judgment in deciding whether Tabak intended to kill Miss Yeates, Mr Justice Field said.

The defendant, 33, denies murder but admits the manslaughter of the 25-year-old at her Clifton flat.

The judge told the jury: "It is your responsibility, and your responsibility alone, to judge the evidence and decide all the relevant facts, and that is a heavy responsibility.

"The defendant is charged with murder - the most serious charge in the calendar of the criminal law.

"Please do not allow emotion to enter into your deliberation.

"This is a tragic case. A lovely young woman, with a promising future ahead of her, has been robbed of her life.

"Her death will have, and doubtless continues to have, a devastating effect on her family and Greg.

"You must not allow emotion or sympathy for Joanna and her family and for Greg to cloud your judgment."

Mr Justice Field said the jury needed to focus on what was Tabak's intention at the time the landscape architect died.

"Did he intend to kill her or cause her really serious harm?," the judge asked.

"The fact that afterwards the defendant may have regretted what he had done does not amount to a defence.

"If having examined the evidence, and despite the defendant's denial, you are sure that when the defendant strangled Joanna Yeates he intended to kill her or cause her really serious bodily harm, your verdict will be guilty.

"If you are not sure of his intentions when he strangled Joanna Yeates your verdict should be not guilty."

Mr Justice Field carefully recounted the evidence taking the jury through Tabak's oral evidence and his account of his movements on the night of December 17.

He also spoke of the evidence given by pathologists Dr Russell Delaney and Dr Cary.

The judge said that of the 43 injuries on Miss Yeates's body some could have been caused from the same impact.

He also said that the jury should put to one side the injuries classed as abrasions as they could have been caused after death.

Instead they should focus on the bruises to Miss Yeates's body as they could only have been caused in life.

The judge said jurors should carefully weigh up the evidence of the two pathologists as to the time it took for Miss Yeates to die and the degree of force used.

Mr Justice Field said another factor for the jury to consider was at what time Tabak strangled Miss Yeates.

Mr and Mrs Lehman, who were walking to a party in Canynge Road, gave evidence as to hearing a scream, a two second pause and then another muffled scream coming from the direction of No 44 at around 8.45pm.

Other residents living nearby also heard it but a neighbour of Miss Yeates's, also living at No 44, did not, the judge told the jurors.

Tabak maintained in evidence that he did not kill Miss Yeates until after 9.25pm.

"It is a matter for you to consider whether you are satisfied that these two screams that the Lehmans heard were Joanna's screams," the judge said.

"If you are, this attack occurred well before the time that Vincent Tabak gave you and it would have been over before he sent the first text at 9.25pm to Tanja Morson in which he said he was bored."

Mr Justice Field told the jurors to exercise "care and caution" in considering the lies Tabak admits telling.

"You have heard that he accepts he cynically deceived Tanja Morson and he was very busy on the internet," the judge said.

"The defendant admits he told a series of calculated lies to the police."

The judge said Tabak's self-confessed lying could assist the jury in assessing the evidence.

"First, the fact he lied in these very important matters may affect your assessment of him as to whether he is a truthful witness," he told the jurors.

"It does not necessarily follow that because he told lies he admits to he has lied to you in the witness box.

"It is a matter you are invited to take into account."

The judge said it was up to the jury to decide whether Tabak's lies supported the prosecution assertion that he murdered Miss Yeates.

"However, you must not assume that because he lied he must be guilty," the judge said.

"You must consider why he lied.

"He told you that he lied because he wanted to conceal the fact he had killed Joanna.

"What does that tell you about the intention he had when he killed Joanna?

"It will only be that if you are sure he lied, not only to conceal his guilt of strangling Joanna but also to conceal that he intended to kill her or cause her really serious physical harm, that his lies can be taken into account as to supporting the prosecution's case that he had the necessary intention to murder."


ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform