Killer weeps over images of Joanna Yeates' body

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Vincent Tabak wept in the dock today as a jury was shown harrowing images of Joanna Yeates's strangled body.

Vincent Tabak wept in the dock as a jury was shown harrowing images of the strangled body of Joanna Yeates, who was found dead in Somerset.

The 33-year-old covered his hands with his face as close-up pictures of her injuries were shown on big screens.

Tabak removed his glasses and wiped his eyes as pictures of her snow-covered corpse were shown.

Further images taken by police after her body was found on Christmas Day show her "in a foetal-type position".

Close-up shots of her face from post-mortem examinations showed her with blood-stained short blonde hair.

Her eyes were closed and one of her earring studs was in place. Red bruise marks were shown on her neck and chin.

Mr Justice Field had warned the jury at Bristol Crown Court to prepare for the images taken after the body was found by dog walker Daniel Birch.

Mr Birch and his wife, Rebecca, had been walking their chocolate Labrador Roxy shortly before 9am after opening their presents.

They discovered a "lump" at the side of Longwood Lane, Failand, Somerset, after parking their Mini One car nearby, the court heard.

Her next-door neighbour Tabak admits manslaughter but denies murder.

As the pictures were shown to the jury, pathologist Russell Delaney told the jury of a host of injuries found around her face and neck.

Images were taken of her both before and after she was removed in a body bag to Flax Bourton mortuary, in North Somerset.

Post-mortem examination pictures showed her lying on her right side with her jeans still intact but her pink top pulled up over her head, exposing her navel and her grey bra.

Her right arm was bent around her head while her left was resting straight across her body.

A picture of her right foot with the sock removed was also shown.

She had been wearing a chunky white watch with a silver necklace and pendant.

Dr Delaney performed the first examination at 6pm on the day her body was found.

Purple bruising above Miss Yeates's right eye and a graze on her cheek were found by Dr Delaney, the court heard.

Injuries on her nose and lip were also suffered while Miss Yeates was still alive, he said.

Dr Delaney said: "Bruising only occurs when the heart is beating - so the injuries occurred during life."

Haemorrhages were noted by Dr Delaney on her eyelids and face.

"The particular haemorrhages in the skin, face and eyelids are signs there has been venous obstruction in the head and neck," Dr Delaney said.

Post-mortem examinations continued on Boxing Day.

There were apparent blood stains on her flower patterned pink top but no signs of injuries to her genitalia, Dr Delaney said.

A Dutch interpreter was brought into the dock to make sure the defendant understood medical terms.

Officers avoided putting a tent over her body amid fears that evidence could be compromised, the jury heard.

Miss Yeates suffered 43 injuries after being strangled by Tabak at her Clifton flat on December 17, Dr Delaney recorded.

Forensic officers used a broom handle to help recover her frozen body from a country lane on Christmas Day, the court heard.

Andrew Mott, a forensic officer who reached the scene after police arrived shortly after 9am, told how he tried to prevent Miss Yeates's body thawing out.

Tabak's QC, William Clegg, questioned why photographs were not taken of a broom being used to arrange straps underneath the body so her body could be taken away.

"I can't comment on why that was the case," Mr Mott said.

"The straps that we used are hooked around the broom so it would have to be the straps that come into contact with the body."

Dr Delaney used photographs to illustrate to the jury the 43 separate injuries recorded on Miss Yeates's body during the post-mortem examination.

These included fingermark-style bruising on her wrists which indicated that she had been gripped by her attacker.

Dr Delaney was asked by Mr Lickley to read out the conclusion of his findings.

He said: "Miss Joanna Yeates died as a result of manual compression of the neck.

"It is not possible to quantify the amount of force applied or the duration of the compression that resulted in unconsciousness and death.

"The physical signs of neck compression indicate she did not die instantaneously.

"The forceful application of pressure to her neck would have been uncomfortable.

"She would have experienced difficulty in breathing and I would have expected her at some point to be in pain.

"Nothing was identified at the post-mortem examination to indicate she was incapacitated by another means and therefore I would have expected her to struggle.

"This may explain in part some of the other injuries to her body.

"I would have expected this death to be a dynamic incident and as such it is not possible to determine the respective positions of Joanna and her assailant.

"The multi-focal nature of the injuries to the front of the neck and the injuries to the back of the neck would favour the use of two hands."

Willam Clegg QC cross-examined Dr Delaney.

"Would you agree with me that death may have been caused in a matter of seconds rather than minutes?" Mr Clegg asked.

Dr Delaney replied: "I can't tell how long it took.

"The death occurred after a period of time sufficient to leave the signs of neck compression.

"It may be a number of seconds but I wouldn't quantify it any further than that."

Mr Clegg asked whether "no more than moderate force" had been used to kill Miss Yeates.

"The evidence is consistent with it being forceful enough," the pathologist replied.

"And in my opinion it is difficult to quantify on a subjective scale."

Pressed again on the use of "moderate force", Dr Delaney said: "I am not disagreeing but it is not the phraseology that I would use if asked to express it."

Mr Clegg referred to the evidence from partygoer Zoe Lehman, who said she recalled hearing a scream, a two-second gap, a second muffled scream and then a thud coming from the direction of Miss Yeates's flat on the night she died.

"In any view, a period of less than 10 seconds," Mr Clegg said.

"Is it your view that what that lady and her husband heard could represent the time span of the events that led to Joanna's death?"

Dr Delaney replied: "It could do but the event could have taken longer than that, yes."

The trial was adjourned until Monday when the cross-examination of Dr Delaney will continue.