Man helped Joanna partner start car

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Police have been granted extra time to question landlord Chris Jefferies

A neighbour of murdered Joanna Yeates has recalled how he and suspect Chris Jefferies helped her boyfriend on his way to Sheffield, saying: “It was a non-event at the time, but absolutely poignant now – what if we didn’t get the car to start?”

Peter Stanley and landlord Mr Jefferies used jump leads to start Greg Reardon’s car on the night of Friday December 17.

Hours later landscape architect Miss Yeates disappeared, and her snow-covered body was discovered more than a week later on Christmas Day.

Mr Stanley, 56, who lives in a flat in the mansion to the right of Mr Jefferies, in Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol, said he did not think the former teacher spoke to Mr Reardon about going away for the weekend, and said: “I wouldn’t say there was anything tense between them.”

Earlier on Friday, police were granted extra time to question Mr Jefferies, 65, who is being held on suspicion of murdering Miss Yeates. Officers can now quiz him until around 6pm on Friday, when they have the option of applying for a further extension.

The retired public school teacher was arrested on Thursday at his flat directly above the basement Victorian property he rented to the 25-year-old Miss Yeates and 27-year-old Mr Reardon.

The bachelor’s arrest came just 24 hours after he claimed he had seen three people leaving Miss Yeates’s flat on the night she vanished.

An ever growing collection of flowers and cards has amassed near the flat where Miss Yeates lived. One tribute read: “Sweet Jo, we’ll miss your smile and laugh, work won’t be the same without you.”

On Friday afternoon, Mr Stanley left his flat accompanied by a plain clothes detective. He drove his own maroon BMW car away from his home next door to the house where Miss Yeates lived.

The officer had been speaking to Mr Stanley inside his flat during the day. An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said Mr Stanley is being treated as a witness who is helping detectives with their inquiries and he has not been arrested.

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