Tabak contemplated suicide after killing Joanna Yeates

Joanna Yeates's killer tearfully apologised today for putting her family through hell.

Vincent Tabak said his actions were "horrendous" as he showed jurors with his own hand how he strangled his next-door neighbour.



Tabak, 33, said he had been attracted to the 25-year-old and "made a pass at her" when she invited him in.



But, giving evidence for the first time at Bristol Crown Court, he denied claims he wanted sex with Miss Yeates.



With her family watching just feet away, he outstretched his right arm in the courtroom to display the grip he used to kill her.



Tabak, who was shown pictures of Miss Yeates's injuries, wept as he said he would be haunted for the rest of his life.



The defendant - speaking with a shrill Dutch accent - said he "still can't believe" his crime and considered whether to jump off a bridge.



Miss Yeates's parents, David and Teresa, and boyfriend Greg Reardon looked on as Tabak told Bristol Crown Court: "I had ample opportunity to call the police and I did not do it.



"I can only say that I am really sorry that I am responsible for her death and that I am responsible for putting her parents and Greg through a week of hell ... knowing where she was.



"I still cannot believe that I was capable (of that).



"It will haunt me for the rest of my life, no matter what sentence I get."



Tabak said he did not mean to take her life, telling the jury: "I got the impression she wanted to kiss me. She had been friendly."



When asked why he put his hand to Miss Yeates's throat, Tabak said: "I was panicking. I wanted to stop her screaming. I wanted to calm her down."



He confirmed he had her body in his car when he went shopping later in the evening at Asda.



"I can't believe I did that," he told the jury. "I was not thinking straight."



In the build-up to Miss Yeates's death on December 17, Tabak said he had been watching television, eating pizza and drinking beer before deciding to visit the supermarket "to buy myself some small treats".



He said he thought he left his flat "within minutes" after sending girlfriend Tanja Morson a text message at 9.25pm saying: "Missing you loads. It's boring here without you. Vxx."



Tabak said he was "not 100%" clear of the sequence of events that followed but said he remembered taking "my usual route" past Miss Yeates's flat next door in Clifton, Bristol.



He noticed Miss Yeates through her kitchen window. Tabak said: "I waved to her and she waved back."



He added: "She was friendly, coming to open the front door. She invited me in."



Tabak said he took off his coat, put it on the coat rack in his neighbour's hall and went into her kitchen.



"I recall we talked about (how) my girlfriend was away at a Christmas party and I felt a bit lonely, bored," Tabak said.



She made a reference to her partner, Mr Reardon, being away, Tabak added.



Tabak - who denies murder but admits manslaughter - said the pair flirted as they talked about her cat and his recent work trip to Los Angeles.



They chatted for roughly 10 minutes before "I decided to make a pass at her".



"She started to scream quite loudly. I panicked and I put one of my hands over her mouth. I said something like 'I'm sorry, it's OK. Please stop'."



After strangling her for less than a minute "she went limp, she fell to the floor", Tabak said.



Claiming he did not mean to kill Miss Yeates, Tabak added: "I still can't understand what happened."



He told the court that he briefly took Miss Yeates's body back to his flat to put her in a bicycle cover, adding: "I carried her with my arms. One hand was underneath her back, the other was under her knees."



Despite carrying out the killing, Tabak then decided to continue with his visit to Asda.



"I can't believe I did that," he told the jury. "I was not thinking straight."



Having picked up rock salt, beer and crisps at the supermarket, he said he started driving to Bristol Airport when he stopped at Longwood Lane, Failand, where "I did something horrendous. I decided to leave her body there".



During cross-examination, Nigel Lickley QC told Tabak "you are calculating, you are manipulative and you are dishonest.



"You were like it after those events, you were like it before and during here today.



"That's you, Vincent Tabak, is it not?"



The defendant went on to say that he just wanted a kiss and no more.



Mr Lickley said: "You were, in fact, thinking of more ... having kisses and kisses and kisses ... thinking of having sex with Joanna Yeates."



Tabak replied: "No, I wasn't."



Miss Yeates's body was found by dog walkers on Christmas Day. Tabak was arrested on January 20.











Mr Clegg asked why Tabak had attempted to contact his girlfriend.



"I was in a state of shock, panic, not believing what has happened," Tabak said.



"I was responsible for her death. I am so sorry. I just wanted to reach out to Tanja to speak to her, to get support from her, to hear her voice, anything."



Mr Clegg asked Tabak about why he had put the word "crisis" in the text message he sent to Miss Morson from Asda.



"That's how I felt. I had, um, done something... still couldn't believe I had done it.



"I was still in a state of shock. I didn't know what to do - just total panic."



Tabak explained why he dumped Miss Yeates's body on the grass verge in Longwood Lane.



"Eventually I left her on the roadside verge.



"While trying to lift her body, two or three cars passed and I was just in a state of total panic and stress and I left her on the roadside verge.



"I am so sorry for doing that. I put Jo's parents through a week of hell and I still cannot believe I did that."



In cross-examination, Mr Lickley showed Tabak pictures of the injuries Miss Yeates suffered.



"There is no doubt you wanted to hurt her," the prosecutor said.



Tabak replied: "I didn't want to hurt her, I didn't want her to die and I didn't want to cause her any harm."



Mr Lickley also questioned Tabak about the contradictions in his defence statement and what he told the jury earlier.



Mr Lickley said: "I am going to suggest that far from panicking, you were completely in control, in control of everything you were doing, particularly when you put your hand around her throat. That's right isn't it?"



Tabak replied: "No, that's not right."



Mr Lickley said: "Because at any point you could have let go, correct?"



The prosecutor said Tabak then began constructing an alibi by making sure he was seen in Asda and sending a text message to his girlfriend from there.



Mr Lickley then asked Tabak about what he and Miss Morson did between arriving home at 2am on the Saturday and going to bed at 3am.



"What were you doing between 2am and 3am? Did you have sex?," he asked.



Tabak replied: "No, I don't think so but I cannot exactly remember what we were doing."



Mr Lickley asked: "But you don't rule it out?"



The night after Miss Yeates's death, Tabak went to a friend's birthday party with Miss Morson, celebrating the occasion with champagne.



"Twenty-four hours after killing that young woman you were drinking a glass of champagne," Mr Lickley said.







The trial continues.

PA

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?