The boyfriend of Jo Yeates watched from the public gallery today as Dutchman Vincent Tabak was sentenced to a minimum of TWENTY YEARS after being convicted of her murder.
Shell-shocked Tabak, 33, wearing a black suit and blue tie, hung his head in the dock as the jury foreman read aloud the majority guilty verdict to the court at 3.14pm.
Boyfriend Greg Reardon, 28, sitting just feet from Tabak throughout the three-week trial, calmly held his head up and averted his eyes from Jo’s murderer.
The judge Mr Justice Field sentenced Tabak to life imprisonment and ordered he serve a minimum term of 20 years.
Jo’s upset dad David, 63, and mum Teresa, 58, stayed away from court and were not present when the 10-2 verdict was read out.
Tabak sat down and put his head in his hands – running them through his hair in the dock.
He is now awaiting a life-sentence.
He could now also face further criminal charges after it emerged that police were examining suspicious material on his computer hard drives.
The jury took 13 hours and 56 minutes to find the 6ft 4inch engineer – who lived next-door to 25-year-old landscape architect Jo – guilty of her murder on December 17 last year.
Bristol Crown Court had heard how Tabak strangled Jo just minutes after she arrived back to Flat One, 44 Canynge Road, in Clifton, Bristol, in an apparent sexually motivated attack.
The pair were virtually strangers before their chance meeting, when Tabak left his neighbouring garden flat and went into hers just after 8.40pm.
Giving evidence, the Dutch national – who moved to Britain in 2007 – claimed the pair had chatted before Jo made a flirtatious comment about her cat, causing him to lean in for a kiss.
He maintained that he only put his hands around Jo’s throat to stop her screams.
But prosecutors told the jury that Tabak must have launched his attack within moments of stepping through her front door.
They accused him of deriving “sexual gratification” from squeezing her throat as she fought back hard in a desperate fight for life.
After murdering the pretty blonde, he hauled her body into his flat before lifting it into a bike cover – then heaving it into the boot of his silver Renault Megane.
Tabak then drove to Asda – with her body in the trunk – buying crisps, beer and rock salt, where he text his unsuspecting girlfriend Tanja Morson, 35, claiming he was “bored”.
The callous killer then returned back to Canynge Road, before driving out to secluded Longwood Lane, three miles from his Clifton home, and dumping her body.
He left her corpse covered in a thin veil of leaves on the roadside, after failing to get the body over a wall into a nearby quarry.
Dog-walkers found the battered body of Jo covered in a pile of snow on Christmas Day.
Home Office Pathologist Dr Russell Delaney told the court that the blonde had suffered 43 injuries, including a fracture to the nose and voice box and bruises to the neck.
He determined that she had been strangled after a violent struggle.
Two witness, Zoe and Flo Lehman, who had been to a party in Canynge Road that night, told the court they had heard two piercing screams coming from number 44.
They said the cries, sometime before 8.49pm on December 17, sounded like they came from a woman in distress.
A tearful Tabak made an apology to the family of Jo Yeates while on the stand – after he admitting that the killing would ”haunt” him forever.
The giant Dutchman hung head in shame in the witness box and apologised for his ”horrendous” actions which had put her family through a ”week of hell”.
e insisted he had not intended to kill her and was in ”total shock” that he had taken her life.
But a jury dismissed his protestations convicting him of murder after Nigel Lickley QC, cross-examining Tabak, branding him ”calculating, dishonest and manipulative”.
Earlier in the proceedings the court was told the Tabak could possibly face further charges, relating to suspicious material found on his laptop.
Prosecutors revealed that they may question the murderer over the finds – kept secret from the court – and consider further action.
A quantity of legal pornography was also found on various computers belonging to the Dutchman.
Investigators had tried to keep the revelation from the public, but His Honour Mr Justice Richard Field denied a prosecution application to keep the material secret.
Joanna Yeates bought the pizza at 8.39 p.m. It takes ten minutes to walk from Tesco Express to 44 Canynge Road on pavements as icy as they were on the evening of 17 December 2010. Partygoers Zoe and Flo Lehman heard screams at 8.49 p.m. That does not leave time even for Vincent Tabak’s 20 seconds strangulation act, let alone the preliminary flirtation entailed in the unlikely scenario that he gave the court. Tabak is a shy academic person; his first real date had been the result of a subscription to “Soulmates”. A young man like that would never have marched brazenly up to a pretty girl after a few moments’ acquaintance and attempted to his her, no matter how flirty she might have been.
When they first arrested him, what possible motive did A & S Constabulary believe such a highly-motivated young engineer could have have to kill a stranger? Was it not just a question of finding someone to throw to the ravenous British media – someone in whose car Jo’s DNA might be found, thanks to her cat Bernard spreading it round his territory?