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."

















PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there