Police urged to DNA test EVERY man in Bristol

by jeeg 10. January 2011 20:29

An MP has called on police to DNA test every man in Bristol in a bid to track down the killer of Joanna Yeates in what could be the biggest ever screening carried out by British police.

Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, wants swabs to be taken from the entire male population - around 250,000 people.

The mass testing would echo that of a case in 1995 which eventually led to the conviction of David Frost who raped and murdered 18-year-old Louise Smith on Christmas Day when she walked home from a nightclub.

He was caught 14 months later when police noticed he had avoided providing a DNA sample and travelled to South Africa, where he was working, to take a swab.

In 1997 he flew back to the UK and was arrested at Heathrow Airport and in February 1998 he was jailed for life at Bristol Crown Court.

Miss McCarthy said: 'I understand some people think this is an invasion of their privacy but I think most people would understand that city-wide testing could get the killer off the streets.

'A lot of people are worried about this person still being on the streets in Bristol and it is important they are caught as soon as possible,' she told the Sunday Express.

The idea was also backed by Louise's mother, Gillian, 63, who said that DNA tests would help achieve justice for Jo's family.

She said: 'I would hope that people in the area are tested when the police are ready to do it. If they have a sample of DNA and no match on the national database, then they should use it.

'They should test residents near where she lived in Clifton and where her body was found. The tension in Bristol and around Clifton will not be relieved until someone is caught.'

The call for DNA testing came as Jo's mother, Theresa Yeates, 58, offered to play the role of her daughter for a televised reconstruction of her final movements for BBC's Crimewatch on January 26 because she is of similar height and build.

Jo's brother, Chris, 28 has also spoken for the first time about how his family has been devastated by her death saying he had been left in a 'surreal hole of despair'.

He described his younger sister as a 'personal inspiration' as he movingly recounted the last conversation they had when they discussed the presents they were going to buy to celebrate a family Christmas.

But he revealed the family have never received the gifts Jo intended to give them because they have been removed from her Bristol flat by the police as evidence.

Chris said he wanted to pay tribute to his sister because coverage of the case had meant she’d ‘got a bit lost'.

He said: ‘The last time I spoke to Jo was two weeks before it happened. We talked about what everyone wanted for Christmas.

'My partner and I, and Jo and her boyfriend Greg, were going to my parents’ house for Christmas.

‘I asked her what presents everyone wanted. She asked for a book about looking after cats and a DVD. Sadly, I’m not sure what she got us.’

As well as interviewing all the people that were in the Ram pub the night Jo went missing, police are painstakingly going through all the mobile phones that were in the areas where she was seen that evening.

It is hoped that the signals from her killer's mobile phone will help detectives to trace more suspects.

In a statement released by Avon and Somerset Police last night, Jo’s parents David, 63, and Theresa, 58, also spoke movingly of their daughter.

‘Christmas was her favourite time of the year. She always stayed with us and still had the same stocking she’d had as a young child, which we filled with sweets.

'Our Christmases in the future will be a time for remembering, rather than festivities, thanks to Jo’s killer.

'We spend a lot of time hypothesising about the events which took Jo from a happy young lady to a body dumped like a piece of garbage.’

Chris described the anguish of visiting Jo’s body after her death.

'Jo was my sister and I shared the fear that my parents had that something bad had happened to her.

'The whole week seemed very unreal up to the time when Jo was found which to me did not bring closure but an acceptance of the situation.

‘I said a final, emotional goodbye to Jo and the despair I had was replaced by a wave of deep sadness. All my memories of Jo are positive and I’ve etched those into my mind.

‘She lived her life to the full and for me is a personal inspiration.’

Of Jo’s landlord Chris Jefferies, 65, who was held on suspicion of murder before being bailed pending further inquiries, he said: ‘I never met him. I have no comment on that and I haven’t heard anything from my family about that.’

In a poignant statement, the Yeates family also spoke of their 'terrible loss and sadness' and said they still haven't come to terms with the fact that they will never see her again.

They said her two-year relationship with Mr Reardon was 'probably one of the happiest periods of her life'.

They added: 'We are currently living in a vacuum until we can put Jo to rest.

'Our days appear to go past very quickly even though in retrospect we don't do very much apart from talking and reading the cards and letters which are delivered that day.

'When our eyes get damp from what we have read, we remind ourselves of how happy Jo was immediately prior to her death, and of the happy times we had when we were a family of four.

'We feel that currently we are able to support each other, probably because of the shared emotions, experiences and memories.

'Inevitably, after seeing the changing news in the papers and on television, we spend a lot of time hypothesising about the events which took Jo from a happy carefree young lady to a body dumped by the side of a road - like a piece of garbage.'

The family added: 'We would like to reiterate the request for any information which could relate to Jo's death, however small or insignificant it might appear.

'That single piece could just enable the police to understand what happened, and identify the killer.'

On Friday night detectives retraced the steps Miss Yeates took three weeks ago as she made her way home from a Christmas drink with work colleagues at a pub in Bristol city centre to the flat she shared with Mr Reardon in Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol.

Police said they had several new leads to follow up after speaking to more than 200 people in the Ram pub, in the streets close to her ground floor flat and in cars close to where her body was found.

Detectives responded to criticism over whether or not they checked CCTV footage from the Redwood Hotel that her murderer is likely to have driven past.

Hotel management claimed that they had not been approached for the surveillance recordings but police said that they did ask for the footage but were told the cameras were not working.

They are also looking through the guest list at the Redwood and may interview people who were staying there in the week between Jo's disappearance and the discovery of her body.

A couple walking their dogs in Longwood Lane, Failand, North Somerset - just three miles from Miss Yeates's flat - found her snow-covered body on Christmas morning. She had been strangled.

Police have said there was no evidence Miss Yeates had been sexually assaulted but they have not ruled out a sexual motive.

Officers are investigating whether she could have been strangled with her own ski sock, which her killer might then have kept as a trophy.

Yesterday a book of condolence was opened in her memory at her local church.

Rev Wayne Massey, associate vicar of Christ Church Clifton, said: 'It is our hope that in some small measure it allows the people of Clifton and wider afield to record their messages of love and support and care for Jo's family and friends at this time.'

And an appeal for information was made to Bristol City FC fans.

Players donned T-shirts and messages were relayed over the public address system to supporters ahead of the club's FA Cup third round clash with Sheffield Wednesday yesterday.

Club chairman Steve Landsdown said: 'When something like this happens in the heart of the community it's important everyone pulls together to help.'

Jo disappeared on the evening of December 17 after she left work colleagues in a Bristol pub.

Her body, minus a grey ski sock, was found on Christmas Day in a lane three miles from her flat.

She had been strangled.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, leading the murder hunt, said: ‘Every piece of information we receive is taken very seriously and we will work tirelessly to find justice for Jo.’

Oliver Tree, Daily Mail

 

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