Bristol

Jo Yeates murder case: MP backs DNA testing

  • 9 January 2011
  • From the section Bristol
Jo Yeates
Miss Yeates' body was found on Christmas Day

An MP has backed calls for the DNA screening of all men in Bristol as part of the hunt for the murderer of Jo Yeates.

Miss Yeates' body was found at the roadside on Christmas Day eight days after she was reported missing.

Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy said if police thought the exercise was worthwhile she believed most men would understand why they were being asked.

She said DNA testing had proved useful in other murder cases.

Miss Yeates, 25, was last seen alive on 17 December.

She spent the evening in the Bristol Ram pub with colleagues before visiting a supermarket to buy a pizza on her way home to the Clifton area of Bristol.

Her boyfriend Greg Reardon reported her missing on 19 December after he returned from a weekend away.

Her snow-covered body was found in Longwood Lane, Failand, by dog walkers.

Ms McCarthy said she believed the majority of people would be sympathetic to requests for DNA samples.

She added: "But rather than taking DNA just from men in the Clifton area, where the population is somewhat transient, the operation should be widened to include the whole of the city.

"Quite how the police would organise this I don't know," she added.

Miss Yeates' boyfriend Greg Reardon reported her missing on 19 December

Police have said they received new leads after questioning people at a number of locations around Bristol on Friday night, but have not yet indicated if they are considering a mass DNA screening.

Detectives from Avon and Somerset Police previously used mass DNA screening in the 1995 investigation into the disappearance of 18-year-old Louise Smith.

Then, officers collected 4,500 DNA samples from local men.

More than 10,000 local people took part in a search, but it was not until February 1996 that two boys found her body dumped in a quarry.

Crimewatch reconstruction

Her killer, student David Frost, from Yate, later pleaded guilty to her murder after his DNA sample - taken in South Africa - matched a sample found on Miss Smith's body.

Frost, then aged 21, was jailed for life in February 1998.

Meanwhile, the BBC has confirmed it would be broadcasting a reconstruction of the events leading to Miss Yeates' murder on its Crimewatch programme in the future.

Speaking on Saturday, Miss Yeates' parents David and Teresa, from Ampfield, near Romsey in Hampshire, said their lives had been "changed for ever" the day their daughter disappeared.

In a statement released earlier, her brother Chris, 28, said her death had left a "surreal hole of despair" in his life.

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