I didn’t strangle Jo Yeates for sexual thrills: Vincent Tabak

Marcel Tabak outside Bristol Crown Court during a break in the trial of his brother, Vincent who is accused of the murder of Joanna Yeates.
Marcel Tabak outside Bristol Crown Court during a break in the trial of his brother, Vincent who is accused of the murder of Joanna Yeates.
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JOANNA Yeates’s killer was today accused of strangling her for sexual thrills.

Vincent Tabak denied claims he was aroused and gratified by throttling the 25-year-old.

He told a jury Miss Yeates had been cheery and happy while flirting with him before the attack.

Tabak, 33, said he was attracted to Miss Yeates but said sex was not on his mind as he attacked her.

Giving evidence for a second day at Bristol Crown Court, he was asked by prosecution QC Nigel Lickley whether his motivation in killing Miss Yeates was sexual.

“What’s the difficulty in accepting it is sexual?” the prosecutor asked Tabak.

“Is it because there are other sexual elements to what happened?”

Tabak replied: “There were no other sexual elements.”

Mr Lickley asked: “Is the holding of her throat sexual in your mind?

“Did you derive sexual gratification from holding her throat?”

Tabak replied: “Definitely not.”

Mr Lickley asked: “Were you sexually aroused when you were holding her throat with your hand over her mouth?”

The defendant replied: “Definitely not.”

Mr Lickley asked: “Were you sexually aroused when you went to kiss her on the mouth?”

Tabak replied: “No ... I felt attracted to her, yes.”

Mr Lickley went on ask Tabak whether he thought she was attracted to him “because she made a comment about her cat getting into the wrong place”.

Tabak said: “She was cheery, happy ... She made the comment (about the cat).”

Tabak, who denies murder but admits manslaughter, added: “We were standing close to each other, she invited me in for a drink. She made a flirty comment. I thought she was flirtatious.”

Tabak showed no emotion as he was shown a harrowing image of Miss Yeates’s body in a foetal position at Flax Bourton mortuary, in Somerset.

He said he “cannot remember” how his arms were scarred as he denied claims there had been a struggle with Miss Yeates as he strangled her.

“There was no fight,” he told the court. “There was no struggle.”

Mr Lickley added: “How did you come by those marks on your arm?”

Tabak replied: “I can’t remember that.”

Tabak admitted he had misled police as a search was launched for her body and apologised for raising suspicions about landlord Christopher Jefferies.

“I am sorry I dragged him into this,” he told the jury.

Tabak said he was “in a state of panic, turmoil” after dumping her body on a snowy verge in Failand, Somerset, on December 17.

“I was exhausted that evening after moving Joanna’s body,” he said.

But - speaking in short sentences in his shrill Dutch accent - he said he lied to police about having a nap after killing her.

“I did not have a sleep,” he said. “I don’t know why I did that.”

Tabak admitted he knew what he was doing in trying to cover his tracks.

“I misled the police, yes,” he said. “And it is dishonest.”

Mr Lickley asked: “You knew what you were doing, didn’t you?”

Tabak replied: “Yes.”

Girlfriend Tanja Morson had no idea that her partner had become a killer, the court heard.

Tabak said Ms Morson did not get suspicious about him “sweating” and struggling to sleep.

He confirmed his statement to police that “she’s never given me any indication that she is suspicious of my behaviour”.

Mr Lickley accused Tabak of telling lies, saying: “She showed no interest in you Vincent Tabak.”

The barrister added that Ms Yeates was just being “neighbourly” in inviting him in to her flat.

Mr Lickley then asked the defendant who he was sorry for.

“For Joanna’s parents, for Greg,” Tabak said.

Mr Lickley replied: “What about yourself?”

Tabak said: “No.”

Referring to Ms Morson, Tabak added: “I feel sorry for what I did to her yes, and for my parents.”

Mr Lickley told Tabak he would have known as a child that holding Miss Yeates’s throat would stop her breathing.

Tabak - wearing the same suit and tie as yesterday - replied: “I didn’t learn that as a child.”

He added: “It was not my intention to harm her. I just wanted to calm her down and stop her from screaming.”

He gave evidence for a second day after tearfully apologising for putting Ms Yeates’s family through hell.

Tabak, who claims he did not intend to kill his next-door neighbour at her flat in Clifton, Bristol, said he will be haunted for the rest of his life.

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

Miss Yeates’s father, David, and boyfriend, Greg, watched in silence as Tabak was asked to close his eyes for 20 seconds - the time it was said to have taken to strangle Miss Yeates.

He then left the witness box after six hours of questioning.