Police given further time to quiz Joanna suspect

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The Independent Online

Detectives were today granted a further extension to continue questioning a 32-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of the murder of landscape architect Joanna Yeates.

The suspect was detained in the early hours of yesterday after police investigating the 25-year-old's death uncovered fresh evidence.

Soon afterwards, specialist search teams moved into a neighbouring flat in the building where Miss Yeates lived at 44 Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol.

Dutch engineer Vincent Tabak, 32, is registered as living at the address with his girlfriend Tanja Morson.

A force spokesman said: "This afternoon, police have been to court and successfully applied for a warrant of further detention, which will enable us to continue to question the 32-year-old man we arrested yesterday until late tomorrow evening.

"As soon as we are in a position to release any further information, we will update the website and voicebank immediately.

"You will understand that we are therefore unable to comment any further on this investigation at this time."

Police officers were seen at the offices of Mr Tabak's employer, international consultancy Buro Happold, in Lower Bristol Road, Bath.

The firm, and several colleagues, referred all inquiries to Avon and Somerset Police. The force has not named the suspect in custody.

Workers erected scaffolding and green tarpaulin at the rear of the substantial converted Victorian property in Canynge Road yesterday.

The screen covers the entrance to Flat 1, where Mr Tabak lived, and the rear of Miss Yeates's rented home which she shared with her boyfriend, Greg Reardon, 27.

Police sealed off both ends of Canynge Road as officers in white forensic suits searched the property.

The early-morning arrest is believed to have taken place at a converted Victorian terrace house in Aberdeen Road, Clifton.

Later, forensic officers loaded three wheelie bins and a mountain bike from the address in Aberdeen Road into an unmarked white Transit van.

Miss Yeates's father welcomed the latest development, which comes almost five weeks after his daughter disappeared.

Speaking at the family home in Ampfield, Hampshire, David Yeates, 63, said yesterday that he was "pleased" the police investigation was "moving forward".

He said: "We know as much as you do. We were told at 6am this morning that someone was arrested on suspicion of Jo's murder and their age."

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, who is leading the inquiry, thanked Miss Yeates's family and boyfriend for their support.

He said: "I would like to thank the public for their continued support for the investigation and the information they have provided to us.

"I would also like to pay tribute to Jo's family and to Greg, who continue to be unfailing in their support to me and my team at what is an incredibly difficult and painful time for them."

Mr Tabak lived in Flat 1, which shares the ground floor of 44 Canynge Road with Flat 2, Miss Yeates's home.

A floor plan reveals that the two flats were connected by an interior door between two bedrooms which has since been blocked.

Mr Tabak, a trilingual engineer, is an expert in the flow of people through buildings, including sports venues.

Eindhoven University of Technology confirmed he completed a PhD in "User Simulation of Space Utilisation" three or four years ago.

Neither Mr Tabak nor Miss Morson, an analyst at Dyson, in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, could be reached by telephone.

It is thought the Dutchman had just returned to Britain from a holiday.

He reportedly spent Christmas in Holland with his family.

Acquaintances described him as an intelligent and industrious young man.

Former university colleague Jeroen Harink told the Daily Mirror: "He was generally regarded by everyone as being very smart and very hard-working.

"I think he was a nice guy but he didn't socialise much. You'd never see him out in bars or clubs."

Another former colleague, Louisa Wickham, 27, who worked with Mr Tabak for a year, described him as quiet but a "very cheerful and friendly guy".

She told The Sun: "He was well thought of at Buro Happold. He was always being sent to other offices to help out.

"It was clear from the start he was very clever and very good at his job."

Yesterday's arrest was the second to be made by detectives since Miss Yeates's frozen body was found dumped in a lane on the outskirts of Bristol on Christmas Day.

She disappeared on Friday December 17 after going for Christmas drinks with colleagues at her architectural firm.

Her boyfriend reported her missing after he returned to Bristol on December 19 following a weekend away visiting family in Sheffield.

A huge police operation swung into action after her body was found on the verge in Longwood Lane, Failand, North Somerset.

Police have said there was no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted but they have not ruled out a sexual motive.

It is understood they are investigating whether Miss Yeates's body was taken from her home in a large bag or suitcase.

The line of inquiry arose because there were no drag marks on her body or clothing.

It has also been claimed that police found three separate foreign DNA traces on different parts of her body.

Miss Yeates's landlord, Chris Jefferies, 66, was arrested on December 30 and questioned for three days on suspicion of murder before being released on bail.

A police crime scene investigation van arrived at 44 Canynge Road this morning.

A 12ft high green tarpaulin was still covering the back of the two basement flats where Miss Yeates and Mr Tabak lived.

Meanwhile, about a mile away from Canynge Road in Clifton, forensic examination of the flat in number 37 Aberdeen Road in Redland continued today.

At least two crime scene investigators were seen entering the building wearing white forensic suits.

Six uniformed police officers were on the road, guarding the cordon which runs from Cotham Hill Road along to Hampton Hill Road.

The area is close to university buildings and popular with students.

Two police support vans pulled into the cordon and officers carried evidence bags, extendable step ladders and tools into the property.