Joanna Yeates was strangled reveal police

Joanna Yeates, whose snow-covered body was found by dog walkers on Christmas Day, was strangled, police said today.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones of Avon and Somerset Police revealed the results of a post mortem examination as he declared that her death was now officially being treated as a murder investigation.



He said Joanna, who disappeared on Friday, December 17, had died as a result of compression of the neck.



He appealed for any information about her murder, adding: "Somebody out there does know what happened to Joanna."



Speaking at a press conference he said police believed her body had been at the spot where she was found for several days.



"What we have to do next is to try and find out why she was killed and who was responsible," he added.





The 25-year-old landscape architect had been missing for eight days when her clothed body was discovered on Longwood Lane, close to Bristol and Clifton Golf Club, in Failand, North Somerset, about three miles from her home.

The frozen condition of her corpse meant pathologists could not immediately examine it - leaving detectives and family members with an agonising wait to find out her cause of death.



Miss Yeates, from Clifton, Bristol, was last seen alive on December 17 when CCTV showed her in a Tesco store on her way home to her flat in Canynge Road.



Miss Yeates's body was formally identified by parents David, 63, and Theresa, 58, who yesterday made an emotional visit to the site where she was discovered.



The distraught pair, who were joined by a small clutch of family members that included their son Chris and their daughter's boyfriend Greg Reardon, 27, laid a bouquet of yellow roses with a picture of their daughter on her graduation at the scene.



Forensic investigators have been examining the site since the tragic discovery in an attempt to find clues about her suspicious death.



Detectives are also examining CCTV footage from Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol, which is on the main route from Miss Yeates's house to where she was found.



The last known sighting of Miss Yeates was on CCTV as she bought a pizza at a branch of Tesco Express in the Clifton area on the evening of December 17.



Miss Yeates, who worked at BDP with Mr Reardon, was making her way home from the Ram pub in Park Street at about 8pm after a night out with work colleagues.



On her way home she rang her best friend Rebecca Scott to arrange to meet on Christmas Eve.



Miss Yeates lived with her boyfriend, who reported her missing on Sunday night after returning home from a weekend away in Sheffield visiting family.



Officers released footage of Miss Yeates buying the pizza in Tesco, which has become a key part of the investigation.



There was no trace of the pizza, the wrapping or the box in her home - despite the fact that the receipt, the coat she was wearing, and her mobile phone and keys were inside.



Anyone who can help the investigation can call the Operation Braid incident room on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Questioned by reporters, DCI Jones said Mr Reardon was being treated as a witness not a suspect.

His laptop and mobile telephone have been examined by detectives but officers have stressed that this was a routine procedure in such inquiries.



DCI Jones said police were pursuing various lines of inquiry into why Miss Yeates was murdered.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'