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It can be dangerous to comment on a continuing British criminal investigation, but here goes . . . again. I cannot recall one in recent years that has been pursued as bizarrely and erratically by the police as has the Yeates murder inquiry in Bristol. From the beginning, details were released to the media that would normally have been kept for the jury in an eventual trial; Joanna’s shopping trip, the pizza she bought but which was never found and which we now know she never ate. Then we had the charade of the unfortunate landlord being arrested in a splurge of prejudicial and detrimental publicity, detained until the last minute the law and the court would allow, only to be released ‘on police bail’, a clumsy way of not admitting that the investigators had screwed up. We moved on; there was the  odd, ‘one sock’, press conference. A week or so back, we had a media briefing by the sadly bereaved parents. I won’t speculate on whose initiative it was, or who wrote the script. Then there was the inevitable BBCtv Crimewatch reconstruction, filmed in a blaze of publicity; a violent death become showbiz. I’m sorry, I can’t bring myself to see either of these last two steps as proactive police work, only as an admission that they had run out of lines of inquiry. I don’t question that from the very start the Bristol homicide team have done  their sincere best for Joanna and her family; but I can’t understand the way they’ve done it.

Now, a month after the poor lass died, they’ve arrested and charged the bloke next door. Eh?

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