Murder Enquiry Launched
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones has today (Tuesday) confirmed that the investigation into the death of 25-year-old Joanna Yeates is now a murder enquiry.
He said: “I am leading the murder investigation.
“The post mortem examination has taken longer than usual, because of the frozen condition of her body.
“The pathologist completed his examination last night, and concluded that the cause of her death was compression of the neck; in other words, strangulation.
“As a result of the findings of the post mortem, we believe that Joanna’s body has been in the roadside verge off Longwood Lane, Failand, for several days before being discovered on Christmas morning.
“I am very keen to hear from anybody who saw or heard anything or anyone acting suspiciously in the Longwood Lane area particularly the area near to the entrance to Durnford Quarry over the last week but in particular the weekend of Friday December 17 to Sunday 19. This was the weekend when we experienced heavy snow in the area.
“However small or insignificant you think your information might be, please come forward and speak to us.
“Please don’t assume we may already have been told the information that you have; we would much rather be told the same piece of information several times over than not be told it at all.
“Today (Tuesday) we are continuing our meticulous search of the area in which Joanna was found, in order to make sure we capture any potential evidence that may be there.
“There are a number of other lines of enquiry that we are pursuing.
“One of these is inevitably going to be how Joanna got from her home in Clifton to Longwood Lane, which is about three miles away.
“This means that we will be looking at any possible routes that could have been taken to get to and from that location. This includes reviewing relevant CCTV footage from cameras on the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which is an obvious link between the locations.
“However, this is just one of a number of routes that could have been taken, and we need to make sure we cover every possibility.
“Another line of enquiry we are following up concerns the night of her disappearance. We know that she had been to the Bristol Ram pub on Park Street with work colleagues.
“We know that she left the pub at 8pm on Friday December 17 and on her way home stopped off at Waitrose on the Clifton Triangle.
“We also know that she went to the Bargain Booze shop and a Tesco Express store in Regent Street, Clifton, where she bought a pizza, leaving that store at about 8.40pm.
“We believe she then returned to her ground floor flat in Canynge Road because her keys, purse and bankcards were still there, together with a receipt from the Tesco store.
“At the time she would have arrived home aprox. 8.45pm, there were other pedestrians and vehicles in Canynge Rd at that time. We would like anybody in the area of Canynge Rd to please come forward.
“I met Joanna’s family for the first time yesterday, and we have informed them of all the very latest developments and findings. I do, of course, offer them my heartfelt condolences as this tragic time.
“As you know, they were in the Bristol area yesterday where they formally identified their daughter’s body, and also visited the scene where she was found.
“Somebody out there does know what happened to Joanna; someone out there is holding that vital piece of information we need to help provide Joanna’s family with the answers they need and want.
“We know some of her last movements on Friday December 17: we know where and when she was found. We now know how she died.
“What we have to do next is find out why she was killed and who was responsible.
“I have a large team of police officers and staff who have been working tirelessly to help find the answers to those questions.
“I would urge anyone listening to me today who has any information whatsoever to please come forward and speak to us.
“They can call the Operation Braid incident room on 0845 456 7000 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or they can use the secure contact form on the force website, http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk.