Jury hears of Joanna Yeates' struggle to survive

Joanna Yeates suffered a slow and painful death as her next-door neighbour strangled her with his bare hands, a court heard today.

Joanna Yeates suffered a slow and painful death as her next-door neighbour strangled her with his bare hands, a court heard today.

Vincent Tabak was said to have used his height and build to overpower the 25-year-old’s 5ft 4in frame.

She fought for her life for some time as Tabak pinned her to the floor by her wrists, Nigel Lickley QC, for the Crown, told Bristol Crown Court.

“There was a violent struggle by Miss Yeates to survive,” he said. “He might have let go but he did not. He knew that Miss Yeates was in pain but struggling to breathe.”

The jury has heard that tests showed her body had 43 separate injuries.

Tabak, 33, has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.

The court heard yesterday that, within minutes of “squeezing the life out” of Miss Yeates, Tabak sent his girlfriend a text message: “Miss you loads. It’s boring here without you Vxx”.

The court has also heard that he went shopping at a supermarket with her body in the boot of his car.

The court heard that Tabak first confessed to killing her during a conversation with a Salvation Army chaplain while he was in custody.

He had previously disputed police evidence on a string of occasions after his arrest in January.

But while in prison, he was said to have told the chaplain he was “sorry”.

Mr Lickley said: “Vincent Tabak went on to say that he was going to plead guilty.”

Tabak previously told officers that he had not known who Miss Yeates was, the court heard.

In one of a string of interviews with officers, he said: “I believe the DNA evidence is insecure and cannot be relied on.”

Mr Lickley described Tabak as a cold-blooded killer.

He told the jury: “We suggest he did not panic or lose control. He was controlled and calculated.”

Before pleading guilty to manslaughter in May, Tabak had told police “I had nothing special to do” on the night of Miss Yeates’ death.

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