Joanna Yeates’ landlord and murder suspect


I am a diehard believer in the right to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, but I understand that most people do regard anyone arrested by the police as guilty of some crime. I am reserving judgment on the case of the murder of Joanna Yeates, but I do admit to being more than a little perplexed.

If this man was a confirmed bachelor, probably interested in men, as far as he had any inclinations, then the details of the murder remain obscure for me and probably for most readers of the newspapers. But I am left hoping that this is not the latest in a long line of cases where the police have simply arrested “the local weirdo”.

There are many aspects to the suspect’s description that present him as a rather interesting character, although a few sleazy descriptions too. First, there is the passion for the English language, and the fact that his pupils used to get good grades in a time when exams were worth something. Shelley. Poetry. Etc. Second, there is the passion for classical music, with pupils invited around to the flat for an evening of “music appreciation”, following the score while listening to pieces such as Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique. If only teachers today had the knowledge and understanding to do so. Third, there is the membership of the Prayer Book Society. As a former member of the society myself, it seems to me the PBS is made up of people with an appreciation for the English language and England’s religious heritage. His participation in a campaign to save a rifle range is also interesting.

A question that springs to mind is “what was such a man doing in the Liberal Democrats?” The Lib Dems are not interested in linguistic or musical standards or England’s heritage. Could it be that homosexuality led the man to take an interest in antinomian political campaigns? There have been plenty of homosexual men whose interest in the English language, classical music and England’s heritage outweighed any inclination to join the sexual revolution (in its political aspects, at least). Other people have been quoted in the newspapers claiming he used to peer into the windows of his tenants’ flats and generally behave like a creep — the details create an extraordinary impression of someone both conservative and sleazy.

Although his friends have stated this man would not have been sexually interested in the woman murdered, I am not sure proof of homosexuality has been advanced to the public. Apparently, the man arrested refused to referee sport at school — and I would have thought many homosexual men would not be averse to spending time with teenage boys in sports kits? The lack of interest in sport is, however, an acknowledged “sign” of homosexuality.

Finally, another concern of mine is that this man was arrested on Thursday morning at 7 a.m., but after a number of extensions will be questioned until Monday before knowing if he will be charged. The first 12-hour extension was granted by a senior police office, the police thereby granting themselves the power to violate the rights of a suspect. The second suspension from Friday to Monday was granted by a magistrate; I wonder what evidence the magistrate required before granting this? This doesn’t mean the man is innocent — please don’t misunderstand this article — but if the police have evidence that he is guilty, he should have been charged in the first 24 hours. Constantly extending the deadline implies they don’t have the evidence they need yet. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this case, I think libertarians would have to oppose holding anyone for longer than 24 hours without charge.

Basically, I like nutty professor types, and will be sorry to see an England shorn of her eccentrics, and am concerned that in many people’s eyes eccentric behaviour is becoming prime facie evidence of criminal guilt. I don’t have any knowledge of the details of the case, but I just hope the police are acting on the basis of real evidence. On the other hand, if he is guilty, throw the book at him!

8 responses to “Joanna Yeates’ landlord and murder suspect

  1. I agree. It does seem to be a bit contradictory.
    I think it is very wrong to hold a suspect for more than 24 hours whilst the police try to find more evidence to charge said subject.
    Just because someone seems a creep or a weirdo, on hearsay, does not make them guilty of a crime. I think David Cameron, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are creeps, Nick Clegg a weirdo, so they must be guilty of something – oh wait, they are, the curtailing of liberty :) Or are they. Do we need more evidence, and if they are found to be guilty, what ‘book’ can we throw at them?

    Thank you for making me think.

  2. “But I am left hoping that this is not the latest in a long line of cases where the police have simply arrested “the local weirdo”.”

    I have to say that was my initial take on the arrest. In view of his release, I sincerely hope that the police are able to find the murderer, whether it turns out to be Mr Jefferies, or someoneone else. If it is him, he’ll get what he deserves, but if it isn’t (and it seems to me the police were clearly fishing, as 2 days of questioning were unable to elicit a “confession”) his life will be at best, difficult, and at worst totally destroyed. Unfortunately you are correct when you say “that in many people’s eyes eccentric behaviour is becoming prime facie evidence of criminal guilt”.

    If the police are “certain” that you have committed a crime, they tend not to let trivial matters such as evidence get in the way of going for a conviction – ask Colin Stagg whose innocence was only proved more than 15 years after the Rachel Nickel murder, when the actual perpetrator pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.

  3. You may be wondering what “police bail” is. Under the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the police can bail someone WHO HASN’T BEEN CHARGED WITH ANYTHING, requiring him to return to the station at a specified time for further questioning. The Conservatives brought that in, I think.

  4. C H Ingoldby

    It is a bit worrying the way the details of a mans private life have been delved into and splashed across the worlds media before anycharges have even been brought. If he is not guilty the circus will simply move one, leaving a innocent mans life completely wrecked.

    The media destroys lives, people lap it up. It is sickening.

  5. Well saldy there’s already a trial by media underway. I increasingly wonder what the point of “news” is; a small fraction of it tells us things which are useful to us about politics (which we have a “right” to know) but most of it is irrelevant tittle tattle. This woman’s death is very sad, but so were hordes of photographers photographic her parents and partner visiting the site she was found, in a different way.

    I am not sure about the homosexuality thing. The reports I’ve seen are “confirmed batchelor”. That may mean he prefers men, or that may mean that he is a “love shy”; one of that 1-2% of men in western societies who are incapable of forming any relationships with women and never do. Some such men become isolated withdrawn loners, others are very active socially to compensate for the lack of a family life. It’s dangerous to generalise; however such men are frequently presumed to be either homosexual, paedophile or variously sexually deviant. There has been little study of the subject of love shys- indeed the phrase comes from the solitary study by a professional psychologist, which I read some time back. IIRC he identified several common traits including dislike of sports and, indeed, a fondness for non-pop music(!).

    So yes, I wonder too if they’re picking on the local weirdo. But alternatively, maybe he is the murderer. We just don’t know. It’s a very strange case. Where’s the pizza? That’s the kind of thing that would be the key to the case in a Miss Marple, wouldn’t it? Except back then it would be “where’s the foie gras she bought in the village?”

    In a novel, the pizza would reveal that she’d bought it to share with her secret lover while her partner was away, who then murdered her in a jealous argument, and he removed the pizza so there’d be no evidence of their tryst, unaware that the purchase was on CCTV. Or something.

  6. The GramscoStaliNazis have deliberately suborned the “media” into a useful-idiot-tool for doing exactly what CH says. On the surface of it this is surprising and astonishing, for on the whole the sort of people who go into “journalism” are visceral and emotional lefties. There are very few exceptions to this.

    Also, a “people” brought up to be de-socialised by an education system like the British State version, will naturally become a biddable and uncurious herd, as is intended: they will therefore rejoice at the misfortune of a single individual that has fallen prey to the external wolves, thankful and relieved that it is “not their turn” this time.

    How many zebras have you seen turning back towards the lioness, to drive her off from tearing up the unfortunate animal that she brought down? They could, you know, and she’d bugger off: but they just don’t, they run on and away, to be eaten next time.

  7. What a load of garbage. Your opinions are incredibly subjective. Just because a man is a confirmed bachelor or lives alone does not prove, or even suggest, he could be gay. I lived alone for 15 years and there is no man more heterosexual than me. You are putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 300.

  8. Tom, you seem to have read something in that is no there. I think you will find my article said that no proof that he is homosexual has been adduced. Do you have any valuable comments to make?