18 August 2020 20:34
Never miss Bristol news again - sign up to receive our newsletter straight to your inbox Sign up Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Bristolians have reacted to ITV's 'horrific' drama series about Bristol schoolteacher Christopher Jefferies, which is being repeated this week. The drama series tells the story of what happened to the retired schoolteacher, who was wrongly arrested by Avon and Somerset police on suspicion of the murder of Jo Yeates. The series stars Jason Watkins in the role of Mr Jefferies. The first episode was broadcast last night (Monday, August 17) while the second and final part airs tonight (Tuesday, August 18). It is the first time ITV has repeated the mini-series since it was first broadcast in the run-up to Christmas in 2014, four years after the true-life events it depicted.
Many viewers, some of who knew Jefferies at the time, have reacted with shock and sadness to his story and how he became a victim of a 'frenzied campaign' by the national press. Carol Prosser said on Facebook said: "Poor man. Met him in Clifton. Always polite -he didnt do it. What a witch hunt." Linny Roberts said: "Watched the first part last night. How horrific for him." "Poor man, just because he was a bit different he was suspected but it's worth watching especially with the Bristol views," June Jacobs added. Stephen Williams, candidate for West of England Mayor, said: "Brings back memories of events in Clifton a decade ago. "I knew Chris and was astounded that anyone could think him a murderer. "An innocent man treated terribly by the police and the tabloids." One viewer on Twitter urged others to watch it, adding: "It's utterly brilliant. And will make you angry and weep in equal measure." Who is Christopher Jefferies? What happened to Mr Jefferies while he was in custody, and the way the national media reported on his life and his arrest had long-term ramifications for the media and the police, and formed part of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into press conduct. Jo Yeates was a 25-year-old landscape architect who lived with her partner Greg Reardon in Clifton in 2010. As Christmas approached, Jo went missing while Greg was away for the weekend visiting family in Yorkshire. Her disappearance and the subsequent discovery of her body in Failand, North Somerset, shocked all of Bristol, and the crime and investigation sparked a national media frenzy in the period between Christmas and New Year 2010. (Image: SWNS) Christopher Jefferies was the couple's landlord and lived in one of the four flats of the converted large house in Clifton. The retired Clifton schoolmaster was interviewed by TV and newspaper reporters outside his home, and when he was arrested on suspicion of murder, more than half a dozen national tabloid newspapers printed lurid accounts of his life and personality. He was released without charge when police realised he could not possibly have killed Jo Yeates, and they had arrested the wrong man. Police subsequently arrested Dutch engineer Vincent Tabak - played by Bristolian actor Joe Sims in the mini-series - who had left for the Netherlands soon after Jo had been killed. He went on to admit the manslaughter of Jo Yeates at Bristol Crown Court, but was found guilty of her murder. He is currently serving a life sentence with a minimum time of 20 years behind bars. The treatment of Christopher Jefferies had ramifications for both the police and the media in Britain. Avon and Somerset police apologised to Christopher Jefferies for its treatment of him as a suspect, and the former Clifton College teacher took libel action against a number of national newspapers. Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry, Mr Jefferies said national and news agency reporters had 'besieged' him after he was questioned by the police. "It was clear that the tabloid press had decided that I was guilty of Miss Yeates's murder and seemed determined to persuade the public of my guilt," he said. "They embarked on a frenzied campaign to blacken my character by publishing a series of very serious allegations about me which were completely untrue."