says they feel 'lucky' they can give her a proper funeral after suspect
Vincent Tabak appears in court for third time
Joanna Yeates's family can begin to plan her funeral after
her body was released, it emerged today. Photograph: Avon
And Somerset Police/PA
The father of the murdered landscape architect
Yeates said today the family was "lucky" it could give her a
Yeates's father, David, said the family was more fortunate than people
like Kate and Gerry McCann who do not know what happened to their
daughter, Madeleine, after she vanished while they were on holiday in
Yeates spoke after the man accused of killing his daughter, Dutch
national Vincent Tabak, appeared in court for the third time and a trial
date was provisionally set for October.
During a preliminary hearing at Bristol crown court it emerged that
Tabak's defence team had instructed Nat Carey, one of the UK's leading
pathologists, to carry out a postmortem and after that examination last
week, the body was released to the family, clearing the way for the
funeral to take place.
Tabak, an architectural engineer who lived next door to Yeates in
Bristol, appeared in court via video link from Long Lartin prison in
Apparently in the same red round-necked sweater he wore for his two
previous court appearances, Tabak, 32, seemed to listen intently to
proceedings. In court for the first time was Detective Chief Inspector
Phil Jones, the man who is leading the murder hunt.The court heard there
will be a plea hearing on May 4 and the judge said he had "pencilled in"
a trial date for October 4.
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 eight days later on Christmas morning at
Failand, three miles from the home she shared in Clifton with her
boyfriend, Greg Reardon.
Yeates's parents did not attend the hearing but speaking at the family
home in Hampshire, David Yeates, 63, said: "We keep reminding ourselves
that in some way we are, we are loath to use the word but, 'lucky'.
"We really feel for those people
who have not been able to bury their children. The
are one set of people like this but there are others as well. Whatever
we have experienced, they probably had it a lot worse. We keep reminding
ourselves that we are not unique."
Yeates said the family was planning an "ordinary funeral". He said: "We
are not trying to glamourise 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.
"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. It has been tortuous for us to reach this stage."