Having recently graduated and moved in with her boyfriend, Joanna Yeates had everything to look forward to.
She had a master’s degree, was excelling at her job as a landscape architect and had met a man she loved.
But Vincent Tabak put an end to all that on December 17 last year, a night when uncontrolled sexual desires led him to commit one of Britain’s most notorious murders.
Miss Yeates, 25, was brought up in Ampfield, Hampshire, and went to sixth-form college in Winchester.
She passed her A-levels and went on to study landscape design and horticulture at Writtle Agricultural College, in Essex.
She then took a master’s degree at Winchester University before obtaining further post-graduate qualifications at the University of Gloucestershire.
After moving to Bristol, Miss Yeates fell in love with Greg Reardon, with whom she had worked on a project for her firm, BDP.
The couple began seeing each other in December 2008 and moved into a flat in the Bristol suburb of Westbury Park. On October 25 last year, they moved into a one-bed flat in Canynge Road, in the fashionable area of Clifton.
Less than two months later, it would become the scene of Miss Yeates’s murder as Mr Reardon was away, visiting family.
On the night she died, Miss Yeates had been looking forward to Christmas and welcoming Mr Reardon to the family home for the festive season.
She had expressed concerns about him being away, but had been planning to spend the weekend finishing her shopping and making mince pies.
“We also had a get-together coming up and she wanted to do some baking,” Mr Reardon said.
Even the judge presiding over the murder trial, Mr Justice Field described Miss Yeates as “a lovely young woman with a promising future ahead of her”.
Her grieving relatives have described her as being at the happiest point of her adult life before Tabak’s cruel crime.
Her father David said she “had so much life in her” and she and Mr Reardon were “totally in love and devoted to each other”.
“She had all the space she wanted and no work worries and no money worries,” he added.
In a statement read out after the trial yesterday, the Yeates family said: “Our main sorrow is that Jo isn’t allowed to start her own family, have children and achieve her potential.
“We will never get over our loss, how she was murdered and the total lack of respect with which her body was treated.”
Miss Yeates’s best friend Rebecca Scott praised her loyalty and described how she and Mr Reardon had shown their commitment to each other by getting a cat.
Ms Scott said that the couple had been planning to spend New Year in Edinburgh, adding: “I was just happy for her.
“When she said she was getting a new cat, I knew it was the real deal with her and Greg. They were in it for the long term.”
Miss Yeates often socialised with colleagues but was said to be usually the first to leave as she “always wanted to be with Greg”.
BDP colleague Darragh Bellew, who was bought a pint by Miss Yeates at The Ram pub in Bristol on the night she died, described her cheerful character.
At the time of her disappearance, BDP boss Keith Pavey said she was excelling in her job: “She’s a very effervescent young lady and a gifted architect,”
Away from work, Miss Yeates developed a taste for adventure sports, especially enjoying surfing, skiing and snowboarding, and she enjoyed watching the The Apprentice on TV.