In what many will regard as a surprising development, Dutch engineer Vincent Tabak has admitted killing 25 year old Joanna Yeates. Appearing by video-link at the Central Criminal Court at London’s Old Bailey from Long Lartin Prison some 116 miles away, Tabak pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a plea that was not accepted by the prosecution. A trial date was set for October 4.
The disappearance of Miss Yeates in Bristol on December 17 last year caused immediate concern and resulted in a massive manhunt. Her body was found dumped in a country lane on Christmas Day; she had been strangled.
The investigation resulted in a certain amount of controversy when Miss Yeates’ landlord, 66 year old Chris Jefferies, was arrested and questioned for three days before being bailed. Mr Jefferies, the last person (bar one) to see the victim alive, always seemed an unlikely suspect, but that didn’t stop intense media speculation, and at one point the Attorney General warned
that certain press coverage could amount to contempt of court. Mr Jeffries has now been totally eliminated from the investigation, and has consulted a solicitor in connection with bringing libel proceedings.
Tabak’s admission will leave at least one conspiracy theorist with egg on his face; Irishman Noel O’Gara has added a page to his Suffolk Strangler
website in which he accuses the police, Tabak’s lawyer and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all of attempting to frame
the Dutchman. If half of Mr O’Gara’s claims are correct, there may be more innocent men in Britain’s prisons than guilty ones. Fortunately, none of them are. Three years ago, a senior detective who sued O’Gara over allegations that he had fitted up a suspect - who had pleaded guilty - was awarded £50,000 damages
by a High Court Judge, another case of publish and be damned