Vincent Tabak informed of judge's ruling as victim's body is released
after postmortem examination
The body of Joanna Yeates has been released
after a postmortem examination was carried out. Photograph:
Vincent Tabak, the man accused of murdering the landscape architect
was today told he is likely to face trial
Dutch national Tabak, 32, an architectural engineer, made an appearance
at Bristol crown court via videolink from Long Lartin prison in
Tabak's barrister, Michael Fitton QC, said a pathologist had carried out
a postmortem on Yeates's body on the instructions of the defence team,
who had now consented for the body to be released.
The move will help clear the way for Yeates's family to complete funeral
Apparently wearing the same red round-necked sweater he has worn for his
two previous court appearances, Tabak seemed to listen intently to the
He carried a file into the room at Long Lartin and sat at a plain wooden
table. There was a box of tissues and two books on the table.
The clerk asked him if he was Vincent Tabak and he replied: "That's me."
She then told him that the judge was Mr Justice Treacy.
The judge told bespectacled Tabak to inform the court if he had problems
hearing what was going on. Tabak said: "I will, thank you."
Tabak, who lived in a flat next to Yeates's Bristol home, clasped his
hands or folded his arms as the timetable for the case was discussed.
In court for the first time was Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones,
the man who is leading the murder hunt.
Prosecutor Nigel Lickley QC said he would serve papers on the defence by
1 April. There would then be a plea and case management hearing on 4
May. The judge said he had pencilled in a trial date for 4 October at
Tabak's counsel said legal aid had been granted for Tabak's defence
team. He also said that the defence had instructed Nat Cary ' one of the
UK's leading pathologists ' to carry out a postmortem on Yeates's body.
This took place on Wednesday last week. "We have consented to release
the body," he added. No application for bail was made.
The judge told Tabak that his counsel would have a chance to speak to
him later today and see him this week. He said today's hearing was
designed to make sure the trial process worked efficiently.
Treacy added that Tabak's next appearance would be on 4 May, by which
time papers would be served that would make it possible for him to see
"in detail" the case against him.
The judge asked him if he understood. Tabak replied: "Yes, I
Treacy told him he would be remanded in custody, to which the defendant
replied: "OK, thank you."
Tabak is accused of murdering 25-year-old Yeates between 16 December and
26 December last year.
Yeates vanished after drinks with friends in Bristol and her body was
found on Christmas morning at Failand, three miles from the home she
shared in Clifton with her boyfriend, Greg Reardon.
Yeates's parents, David and Teresa, did not attend today's hearing but
said they felt "lucky" to be able to give their daughter a funeral
rather than spend the rest of their lives not knowing what happened to
During the eight days Yeates was missing before her body was found, her
family feared they would never find out what happened to her.
Speaking at the family home in Hampshire, David Yeates, 63, said: "We
keep reminding ourselves that in some way we are, we are loth to use the
word but, 'lucky'."
He contrasted his family's situation with that of
Kate McCann, whose daughter
disappeared in 2007.
"The McCanns are one set of people like this but there are others as
well who have not been able to bury a body," he said.
"I cannot imagine what it must
be like not to be able to bury their children or to have to bury some
bones which have only been discovered years later. Whatever we have
experienced, they probably had it a lot worse.
"At least we do not have to bury bones so to speak, so we do feel, I use
the word rather cynically, 'fortunate'.
"There is a degree of finality to our situation. The perpetual not
knowing would be worse ' that must make it impossible, or at least very
difficult, to find any type of closure.
"We appreciate we are not the only people who go through this and have
to deal with the estate of their child and we are very conscious of
"We keep reminding ourselves that we are not unique. This helps in some
way but we are very sad for others who have been through it as well. We
really feel for those people who have not been able to bury their
Yeates said the family was planning an "ordinary funeral". He said: "We
are not trying to glamorise what has happened. We are anticipating over
a hundred people but we are attempting to keep it to those people who
actually know Jo rather than people who just knew of her.
"Her family and friends are incredibly sad and it is for those people to
get together and think about what she was and what she could have been.
"We cannot celebrate her life. It is difficult to associate celebration
with what has happened.
"We are still having difficulty coming to terms with the fact she is not
with us. Most of the time it is as though she is still alive.
"Then, when we are together in the evening and doing more personal
things, it comes home to us that she is not with us any more.
"It is an incredibly difficult time because of the circumstances '
because it is not like a car accident or someone dying of an illness. It
has been something very different.
"It has been a rollercoaster ride. It has been tortuous for us to reach
Yeates, an IT consultant, added: "We do not know if we will ever have
closure. Closure is not in our future at the moment. We will always have
Jo in our minds as long as we live."
He said no date had been fixed for the funeral.
Meanwhile, new photographs of Joanna Yeates have been released, showing
her enjoying life with loved ones.
She is pictured with boyfriend Greg, brother Chris, and close friends.
She is shown jumping through waves at a beach, playing Frisbee with
friends and at a music festival.
The pictures have been released through the
BBC Crimewatch website.