A just verdict - Vincent Tabak

Judge in the trial of Tabak did not not allow the jury to hear some evidence as he felt that it would prejudice the jury.

The jury in the Jo Yeates murder trial have delivered a verdict of guilty of murder on Vincent Tabak.  The jury were not aware that this man was leading a double life until after the verdict had been delivered. On the surface Tabak was a hard working person, well educated and in a relationship - planning and doing normal everyday things - arranging meals out with colleagues and going home for Christmas.  Under that 'normal' exterior was another evil, sadistic and calculating side, a side which the jury were not aware of until after the trial.

The judge decided that it would prejudice the trial if the jury heard that the defendant accessed pornographic sites showing violence against women.  The police recovered computers which Tabak had access to and discovered images of women being 'strangled' during sex and photos of women who had been tied up and placed into car boots. Tabak, it emerged had been in contact with escort agencies in the months prior to the murder and in a trip to California he had accessed other sex sites and been in contact with escorts, checking into a hotel using a false name having made cash withdrawals of $200.  The prosecution believed that this could be evidence of his paying for sexual services. 

None of these findings were revealed to the jury and the judge, Mr Justice Field concluded: "In my judgement, the watching, the possession of porn showing a violence and the threat of violence is reprehensible conduct.

"But even if there was some sexual motivation, this does not go to prove the defendant had the intention to kill her or cause her serious injury."  He felt that any value in explaining the way Tabak acted would not outweigh the prejudice it could cause his defence. The jury was not told of his contact with escort agencies and would only have been aware of the fact that he appeared to be in a loving, monogamous relationship. That same jury did hear that, according to Tabak, Jo had invited him into her flat and had appeared to be flirting with him.

Two people out of the twelve on the jury did not think he was guilty of murder, let us be thankful that they were not able to persuade any of the other ten that this man had simply panicked when sh strated to scream and that it was all a terrible 'accident'.  We may yet hear more horror stories regarding this evil man as we understand police are investigating Tabak for other offences regarding images and material found on his computers.

In sentencing Tabak Mr Justice Field said: "I think there was a sexual element to this killing." He added Tabak had committed "a dreadful, evil act on a vulnerable young woman" and that he intended to go "much further" after attempting to kiss her. "In my view you are very dangerous. In my opinion you are thoroughly deceitful, dishonest and manipulative." Tabak must now serve a minimum of 20 years in prison, some may feel that this is not long enough.  The Criminal Justice Act 2003 allows a minimum term of 30 years to be set if it can be established that sexual or sadistic conduct was involved in an offence.


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