Vincent Tabak murder trial: the defence’s argument


Lawyers representing Vincent Tabak today compared his sparse recollection of some of the detail on the night he killed Jo Yeates to that of a car crash victim.

Vincent Tabak murder trial - the defence's argument

William Clegg QC insisted that his client’s inability to remember vital moments of the struggle which led up to the landscape architect’s death were as a result of trauma.

He claimed Tabak could not have had the premeditation to murder – branding the December 17 attack as a ”few seconds of madness”.

Mr Clegg repeatedly slammed his hand down on the desk while facing the jury, to ram home his points.

He insisted that the Dutchman’s ”disgusting” behaviour after killing Jo should not take gloss off the real issue – whether he had intent to kill her or cause serious injury.

Tragic Jo’s father David, 63, sitting with wife Teresa, 58, a few feet away in the public galley, shook his head as Tabak’s lawyer took the prosecution’s case to task.

Mr Clegg said: ”I am not going to ask you to like Vincent Tabak. Frankly there is nothing to like. I’m not going to ask you for sympathy – he does not deserve any.

”I’m not going to ask you to excuse his conduct after the killing – there can be no excuse.
If we set out to win a popularity contest we would lose – and rightly so.

”There is only one thing I can ask from you – a verdict that reflects what you have heard in this court. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Mr Clegg slammed holes in the prosecution against the Dutch engineer – claiming they had speculated on many things without any material evidence.

He told the jury: ”Some of you may have had the experience of being involved in the incident of a car crash or knows someone who has.

”It is not unusual for someone in recalling the detail of some traumatic event that takes place in a very short period of time.

”The human brain reacts in different ways to trauma and stress and it would have been easy for Mr Tabak to claim that he could remember how these bruises were caused.”

He described the 15 to 30 second attack on Jo as ”a few seconds of madness” and claimed he did not premeditate the murder.

The lawyer said not even Jo could have predicted what time she would have been home on December 17 – claiming that Tabak could not even have known she was home alone.

Mr Clegg said: ”Of course afterwards his behaviour was disgusting. It is not going to be justified by me.

”But it does not alter what was in his mind at the time it happened. Afterwards he was looking to get away with it altogether.

”You won’t get me defending that sort of conduct. But it does not alter what really did happen. That is what you must focus on.

”Afterwards he tried to lie his way out of it all. It does not help you very much does it about what happened in that flat?

”Because that is what this case ultimately depends on. Those few moments when the two of them were alone in that small flat in Clifton.”

Mr Clegg asked the jury to consider – whether they were sure – that the prosecution had been able to prove Tabak’s guilt.