Bristol police issue fresh warning after Yeates murder

Jo Yeates

Police investigating the murder of landscape architect Jo Yeates have issued a fresh warning to women to take "usual" precautions for their safety.

The 25-year-old's snow-covered body was found near her home in Clifton, Bristol, on Christmas Day.

Her landlord, Chris Jefferies, 65, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, has been released on police bail.

Ch Supt John Stratford, of Avon and Somerset Police, said patrols would be maintained to reassure the public.

Mr Stratford said: "I can understand why the public in the local and wider Bristol area have concerns for their safety at the current time. Whoever killed Joanna remains at large.

"However, I want to reassure the public that at this time there is no specific intelligence or information to suggest an increased threat to their safety.

"Naturally, we ask the public to take the usual safety precautions. Women should avoid walking home alone after dark, householders should try to keep their premises secure and just take care when answering the door to strangers."

He said the force had been "overwhelmed" by the response from the public and continued to ask anyone for information "that could lead us to Jo's killer".

More bags of evidence were removed from the flat which belongs to Mr Jefferies by police on Sunday evening.

Earlier, prayers were said in church for Miss Yeates, who was found strangled to death.

'Difficult weeks'

The service was held at Christ Church, near to Miss Yeates' flat in Canynge Road in the Clifton area of Bristol.

Associate vicar Dan Clark, who led the service, asked the congregation to remember the Yeates family, the police investigating the case and the journalists covering it.

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Media captionCh Supt John Stratford: "We ask the public to take the usual safety precautions"

He told members: "Many of you will know this has been quite a difficult few weeks for the local community following the sad news about Joanna Yeates.

"I would like us to pause and bring our own quiet prayers for Joanna's family."

As the congregation bowed its heads, he added: "As well as praying quietly for Joanna's family, friends and colleagues, let's also pray quietly for the police working hard to solve this case and the press working hard to publicise this case and jog people's memories."

Miss Yeates, who grew up in Ampfield in Hampshire, was last seen alive on 17 December after a night out with work colleagues at the Bristol Ram pub, on Park Street in Bristol, which she left at about 2000 GMT.

Police have issued CCTV images of her then visiting a Waitrose store on The Triangle, a Bargain Booze shop, and a Tesco Express.

She bought a pizza at the Tesco store but while the receipt was found at her flat, there has been no trace of the food or its wrapper.

'Ongoing investigation'

Her boyfriend Greg Reardon reported her missing two days later when he returned home from visiting family in Sheffield.

Det Ch Insp Phil Jones said earlier that he wanted to reassure the public that the investigation was "very much ongoing".

"We have a team of over 70 police officers and staff working tirelessly to bring the person responsible for Joanna's death to justice.

"The incident room has been inundated with thousands of calls from members of the public who have provided us with information."

Detectives are particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have used Longwood Lane in Failand, Bristol, between 17 December, when Miss Yeates went missing, and Christmas Day, when her body was found.

In a direct appeal to members of the public, Mr Jones said: "Did you see anyone or any vehicle acting suspiciously in the area?

"We also know that there were large Christmas functions taking place at Long Ashton golf club, Bristol and Clifton golf club and Redwood Lodge. I would again urge taxi drivers and those who drove to functions to call us."

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