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Police seek driver of 4x4 in Yeates murder case

Detectives leading the hunt for Joanna Yeates's killer revealed that they want to speak to the driver of a light-coloured 4x4 vehicle which was seen on the street where her body was found the night she went missing. The senior investigating officer, Phil Jones of Avon and Somerset Police, said the vehicle was spotted on Longwood Lane at around the time Ms Yeates, 25, is believed to have disappeared.

He said: "We have had a number of reports of vehicles in Longwood Lane during late Friday evening and the early hours of Saturday morning, including possibly a light-coloured 4x4 vehicle.

"This 4x4 and the other vehicles may be completely unconnected, but I urge anyone in that car or any other driver in the vicinity that night to come forward."

Detective Chief Inspector Jones used his press conference yesterday to update the public on the shape of the investigation. He said that Ms Yeates's landlord Christopher Jefferies, who was arrested last Thursday and released on police bail on Saturday evening, was still a suspect in the case.

The officer also addressed the suggestion that Ms Yeates was sexually assaulted before she died, saying: "At this stage there is no evidence to suggest that Joanna was sexually assaulted. However I have not ruled out that there might have been a sexual motive."

DCI Jones repeated his plea for people who attended Christmas functions at Long Ashton golf club, Bristol, and Clifton Golf Club and Redwood Lodge on Friday 17 December to come forward, as well as taxi drivers. Joanna Yeates went missing on 17 December. She is known to have visited an off-licence and a supermarket after leaving a pub that evening. Her body was found on Christmas Day, four miles from her Bristol home.

DCI Jones said the police had received more than 1,300 pieces of information, and 900 lines of inquiry have been generated, of which 239 were classed as "high priority". More than 100 hours of CCTV footage has been viewed, and further footage is being investigated, he added.