Where is Vincent Tabak now and what happened to Christopher Jefferies?

Here's what we know about the murder of Joanna Yeates

From left to right: Vincent Tabak, Joanna Yeates, Christopher Jefferies
(Image credit: Getty Images / Future)

As a new documentary explores the murder of Joanna Yeates, viewers have been asking where is Vincent Tabak now and what happened to falsely accused Christopher Jefferies?

Channel 5's 2021 documentary Body in the Snow: The Murder of Joanna Yeates is returning to screens on October 18, bringing one of Britain's most famous murder cases back to the fore. 25 year old Joanna Yeates was killed by her neighbour, Vincent Tabak, in a case that also saw the wrongful arrest of her landlord, Christopher Jefferies.

The documentary is not the first time that true crime fans have been left wanting to know the whereabouts of those involved, with Channel 5's drama Maxine leaving viewers asking where is Ian Huntley now (opens in new tab) and Netflix's I Just Killed My Dad raising questions about the whereabouts of Anthony Templet (opens in new tab) - while a recent ITV documentary has got people asking about the murder of Grace Millane (opens in new tab).

Where is Vincent Tabak now?

Vincent Tabak is currently serving his sentence in HMP Winchester. The MailOnline (opens in new tab) reported that he was transferred there from maximum security Wakefield prison in April 2022.

The newspaper also reported that Tabak was moved after a secret bid to be transferred to serve his sentence in the Netherlands, where he is originally from. Tabak was arrested on 20 January 2011 and has spent most of his time being held at Wakefield prison since then.

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How long was Vincent Tabak sentenced for?

Vincent Tabak was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years on 28 October 2011. 

In 2015, Tabak admitted to four charges of possessing indecent images of children, and the judge subsequently jailed Tabak for 10 months to run concurrently with his life term and minimum sentence.

What did Vincent Tabak do?

Vincent Tabak was convicted of the murder of Joanna Yeates, a landscape architect living in Bristol and Tabak's neighbour. She went missing on 17 December 2010 and her body was found on Christmas Day.

Tabak was not an immediate suspect and was not arrested until 20 December 2011, after which he admitted to killing Joanna during questioning. He said the murder took place inside her flat after she had invited him in for a drink and made "a flirty comment," but that when he attempted to kiss her she screamed, leading to him putting his hands to her mouth to silence her, before he strangled her "for about twenty seconds."

After killing Joanna, he drove to a country road just outside Bristol and left her body on a verge near a quarry.

Though Tabak plead guilty, he insisted the murder was not pre-meditated and he had used "minimum force" and was "in a state of panic."

How did Vincent Tabak get caught?

Vincent Tabak was arrested after an anonymous caller tipped off the police, following a televised appeal by Yeates' parents.

He evaded the police initially as they focused on their prime suspect Christopher Jefferies, the landlord of Janna Yeates. In fact, Tabak had played a role in framing Jefferies, by telling police that he had seen the landlord's car move on the night Joanna died.

According to the Mirror (opens in new tab), Detective Constable Karen Thomas first became suspicious of Tabak because he was "overly interested" in details about the forensic examinations police were carrying out on Joanna's flat, and he began to contradict himself when giving his version of events. 

What happened to Christopher Jefferies?

Christopher Jefferies was falsely accused of Joanna's murder and subsequently wrongly arrested, leading to damage to his reputation and character. At the time of Joanna's murder, he was her landlord and a retired teacher at Clifton College.

Jefferies was held in custody for two days, having seen his arrest extended on multiple occasions, before being released on bail. It has since been widely accepted that the finger was pointed at Jefferies because the media perceived him as 'strange', with the Daily Mirror calling him a "peeping Tom," and the Sun labelling him "strange Mr Jefferies".

His treatment in the news and on social media lead to what Joanna's boyfriend, Greg Reardon, called "character assassination".

Jefferies has since said of the ordeal: "It was clear that the tabloid press had decided I was guilty of Miss Yeates’ murder and seemed determined to persuade the public of my guilt."

In 2013, Jefferies received a formal apology from Avon and Somerset police. 

Christopher Jefferies outside Joanna Yeates flat in December in 2011

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Did Christopher Jefferies get any compensation?

In July 2011, Christopher Jefferies was awarded damages from eight different newspapers, while the Sun and the Daily Mirror were both convicted of contempt of court.

The exact sum that Jefferies was awarded was not released, but sources at the time said it was likely to be 'at least' six figures.

The eight newspapers who agreed to pay damages were the Sun, the Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Daily Record, the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Scotsman.

Where is Christopher Jefferies now?

Christopher Jefferies is now in his seventies and campaigns for Hacked Off (opens in new tab), which was created in response to the phone hacking scandal. 

The organisation works with victims of press abuse to campaign for a free and accountable press.

Jefferies also gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, and a number of interviews after the release of ITV's drama The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies (opens in new tab), for which Jefferies himself worked with the writers of the show.

For the most part, however, Christopher Jefferies keeps out of the spotlight.

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