The landlord of Joanna Yeates has been arrested on suspicion of her murder.
Police arrested 65-year-old Chris Jefferies at his home in Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol – the same property in which Miss Yeates lived – and took him into custody for questioning over the 25-year-old’s death.
The arrest comes after Mr Jefferies, a retired public school teacher, appeared to make contradictory comments on Wednesday about whether he had seen Miss Yeates leaving her flat with two people on the night she disappeared.
Miss Yeates was last seen on December 17. Her snow-covered body was found on Christmas morning by a couple walking their dogs in Longwood Lane in Failand, North Somerset. She had been strangled.
Avon and Somerset Police refused to confirm or deny that Mr Jefferies was the man they arrested. A grey Volvo S40 parked on the driveway of number 44 behind some bushes was taken away on a low loader for forensic examination.
Miss Yeates lived in a ground-floor flat in Canynge Road with her boyfriend Greg Reardon, 27.
Mr Jefferies, who lived above the couple in another flat, reportedly told police he saw three people, one of whom he believed was Miss Yeates, leaving the Victorian block of flats. He said he spotted the trio shortly after 9pm on December 17, not long after Miss Yeates arrived home alone, as he parked his car in the street.
Speaking outside his home on Wednesday, Mr Jefferies denied he had told police he saw Miss Yeates leaving with two unidentified people. “It is a serious distortion of what I said to the police and I have no further comment to make as that, no doubt, will be distorted,” he said.
Earlier, he told Sky News: “I made some comment which was very, very, very much vaguer than that. Anything that I have said I have said to the police and I’m not prepared to make any comments to the media.” He added: “I definitely cannot say that I saw Joanna Yeates that evening. No.”
But his neighbour Liz Lowman, who lives on the opposite side of the road from Miss Yeates’s flat, said on Wednesday that Mr Jefferies had told her three people were coming out of a communal entrance to the mansion house. She said: “These people were leaving through the communal entrance. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear or see anything.”