Joanna Yeates' killer moved to lower risk prison after failed transfer

EXCLUSIVE: Joanna Yeates’ killer Vincent Tabak is moved to lower risk prison after failing to win transfer to Dutch jail

  • The man who killed Joanna Yeates is being transferred to a low-risk prison
  • Vincent Tabak, 44, has been transferred to HMP Winchester from maximum security Wakefield prison – after failing to transfer his prison service to Holland
  • Tabak was jailed in 2011 for throttling 25-year-old Joanna at her flat in Bristol
  • He initially tried to implicate her landlord, Christopher Jeffries, who was arrested
  • Jeffries was found to be completely innocent and was eventually freed by police

The killer of teacher Joanna Yeates has been moved to a lower risk prison – after failing in a secret bid to be transferred to serve his sentence in Holland, MailOnline can reveal.

Vincent Tabak, 44, has been transferred to HMP Winchester from maximum security Wakefield prison where he’s been held for most of his time since the Christmas killing of his neighbour.

The transfer means he will have a cushier life in prison but not as easy as if he’d been successful in his bid to move to the Netherlands – which would have seen him transfer there last year.

Instead he was moved from Yorkshire to Winchester a few months ago, where he will be held alongside a notorious child murderer.

Double killer Colin Pitchfork, 61, is locked up at the Victorian jail after being recalled for approaching young women.

Vincent Tabak, who murdered 25-year-old Joanna Yates in 2010, has been transferred to HMP Winchester from maximum security Wakefield prison where he’s been held recently. The Dutch born killer applied to be moved to the Netherlands under the Prisoner Transfer Scheme, but the UK prison service blocked the transfer

A source said: ‘Tabak has been an exemplary prisoner since he was convicted.

‘The decision was made to transfer him to a lower security jail as he is not considered a major risk.

‘However, Winchester is no picnic as it is a Victorian era jail with some issues.

‘There are also some unsavoury characters there.’

Tabak was jailed in October 2011 for throttling 25-year-old Joanna at her flat in Bristol in December 2010.

Her body was found a few miles outside the city by a couple walking their dogs on Christmas Day.

The landscape architect had gone missing eight days before after enjoying drinks with friends at the Bristol Ram pub.

Tabak initially tried to implicate landlord Christopher Jeffries, who was arrested on suspicion of murder.

He was completely innocent and eventually freed by the police.

Yeates was killed by her neighbour, Tabak, who initially implicated their landlord, Christopher Jeffries, who police arrested but subsequently found to be completely innocent

Tabak was arrested on the 20th January 2011. He lived with his girlfriend in the flat next door to Joanne.

Bristol Crown Court was told that DNA linked Tabak to Joanne’s murder.

Tabak pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but denied murder.

A jury found him guilty of murder by a 10 to two majority verdict.

He was given a minimum sentence of 20-years, but tried to dodge that by getting a move to a jail in Holland.

MailOnline can reveal that in 2016, the Dutch born killer applied under the Prisoner Transfer Scheme.

Under the rules, the former engineer can apply to be moved to a jail in his native country after serving half his sentence in the UK.

But the Ministry of Justice turned the request down because he might be released early.

The Dutch are more likely to parole Tabak after his minimum 20-year term.

In the UK, notorious killers are seldom paroled first time.

In 2015, Tabak was convicted for a string of sex offences after police seized his laptop as part of the investigation into Joanna’s death and found 145 indecent images of children stored on it.

He was jailed for 10-months, to run concurrently with his life term and minimum sentence.

Police said the prosecution was necessary to underline the range of Tabak’s offending.

Tabak and Pitchfork are likely to be ‘at risk’ of violence as sex offenders according to the prison’s latest inspection.

HMP Winchester, where Tabak is being transferred to, has been ‘markedly increased’ by violence and safety remains a ‘major concern’ at the prison, according to inspectors. Tabak is likely to be ‘at risk’ of violence as sex offenders according to the prison’s latest inspection, as will his cellmate, Colin Pitchfork locked up there after being recalled for approaching women

In October last year, it said the jail had an ‘underlying volatile atmosphere’, high ‘prisoner-on-prisoner violence’ and a severe rat problem.

The report added: ‘Their prison exercise yard is overlooked by B Wing and its prisoners shout abuse and occasionally throw things at the vulnerable during A Wing’s exercise period.

‘This is a constant problem with a number of A Wing prisoners consequently refusing to go outside.’

Pitchfork was jailed in 1988 for the 1983 rape and murder of Lynda Mann and of Dawn Ashworth in 1986, both 15.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: ‘Foreign offenders are only allowed to serve out their sentence in their home country if we are certain they will be kept behind bars for an appropriate amount of time.’

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