San Luis Obispo motel tied to British murder case

October 30, 2011

Vincent Tabak was convicted of killing Joanna Yeates

A British tabloid is reporting that U.S. marshals are investigating a link between San Luis Obispo and a sensational murder trial in England. [Daily Mail]

Vincent Tabak, a 33-year-old Dutch architectual engineer, is accused of strangling to death Joanna Yeates, a 25-year-old landscape architect last December in Bristol. Tabek was found guilty last week and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison. However, authorities are pressing additional criminal charges against Tabak after police found “suspicious material” on his computer hard drives.

The trail apparently leads to San Luis Obispo and the Peach Street Inn on Monterey Street where Tabak stayed last year on a business trip shortly before he murdered Yeates.

Tabak is believed to have used his company BlackBerry and computer to engage in live chat with strippers and to surf hardcore porn sites while on the five-week trip in California.

Peach street Inn manager Claire Atieh recalled Tabak was alone when he checked into Room 112 at around 9 p.m.

“I remember him clearly because he was tall, well over 6ft, and had a funny accent,” Atieh said. “He wasn’t threatening at all.

“He was tired but very polite. I am used to weird people walking in here but he was a perfect gentleman.

“I could see his room from this desk and he went in alone and spent the night alone. He only came out once and that was to fix himself a cup of tea in the lobby.”

Tabak booked into the economy Peach Tree Inn at San Luis Obispo under the false name of Francis Tabak.

The next morning he checked out having paid the $43.81 bill and returned to his own hotel, which his Bath-based employers Buro Happold provided.

Tabak arrived in California on Nov. 6 and returned to Britain on Dec. 11, six days before Yeates was murdered.

Images and videos depicting men gripping victims by the neck were found on a laptop and hard drives recovered from Tabak’s home and office.

Films favored by Tabak included “Sex and Submission,” police searches of his computer equipment found.


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19 Comments

  1. oto says:

    This story is just enough to titalize but not enough to draw solid evidence from. Slobody’s comment, I could turn into a Saturday Night Live skit.

    Opening scene: John Wallace, our local engineering “pariah,” is wearing a Santa Claus cap and jumping up and down on a double-bed in his boxer shorts and tee shirt with a toilet plunger in one hand, looking unusually playful. Camera pans stage left to reveal two members of the Cuesta Women’s Tennis Team dressed in black lace underwear wapping the bed with their tennis rackets, shouting “Take that! You nasty boy!” then giving themselves an occassional wap on the buttocks, and shouting “Oooo!” through lips painted red and puckered in the shape of a heart.

    tnn goes straight to the circumstantial evidence which consists of an “inferential fact, …(one) by which a fact sought to be established is deduced as a logical consequence from other facts, or a state of facts already proved or admitted.” (from Black”s Law Dictionary) The story’s allegation that Tabek rented a room under a false name at a hotel when he already had one, leads one to conclude that he didn’t want his employer to know what he was doing, and that he planned to engage in an activity that was in conflict with his work activities.

    Dexter’s hypothesis is more than substantiated by the statement made in the article that U.S. Marshalls are investigating a link between (Tabak) and San Luis Obispo.

    When I was a grad student, I used to work at the old Motel Inn as a hotel clerk. The area around the Peach Tree Inn (before it was built,) was San Luis Obispo’s “red light” district. Contrary to the image of seedy hotels and tired looking hookers, Monterey Street’s clean and comfortable bars were the places where men on business trips met good-looking, well-dressed women whom they paid to have sex.

    How do I know this? Sometimes, after work, I used to go for a drink at that hotel where the bar is just a long narrow room, but it’s well lit because the entire wall behind the bar area is one long window that curves up and lets natural light in. One day, I’m in there, and this guy who looks to be about 70 asks me if he can buy me a drink. I say, sure. Then, he asks me if I’ll go to his room and he’ll pay me sixty bucks. I say, no thanks, with a smile, and he leaves. I say to the bartender, “I’ve got no make-up on; I smell like food, and I’m wearing blue jeans, a sweat-shirt and sneakers only my dog could love. Why would this guy think I’m a hooker?! Do I look like a hooker to you!?”

    The bartender says to me, “It’s because you’re alone. Only hookers drink at the bar by themselves. That’s what he thinks. It’s because this is where hooker’s come to meet their johns.” He nods knowingly in the direction of a nice-looking woman in her early thirties at the other end of the bar, who is chatting seductively with a man twenty years older.

    “Oh, that’s just great.” I say. “I guess I should be flattered. The only other time I’ve been asked on a date by a “local,” he offered to take me out into the forest so we could go squirrel hunting together. That’s all I need: to be taken out into the middle of nowhere by some guy I met in Camozzi’s with nothing between him and me but his .22 and a couple of dead squirrels….”

    “To each his own…” says the bartender, noticing the empty peanut bowl. “So, how much do they pay you at the Motel Inn?”

    “Two twenty-five an hour, but I don’t have to take my clothes off when I swim in their pool….”

    “To each his own…” he says, and he fills up my peanut bowl.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. slobody says:

    Fascinating: The story is plagiarized from the Daily Mail. No actual local reporting here. Even the motel clerk quotes are from Daily Mail, a paper some 6000 miles distant. CCN can’t even get the name of the motel straight: Peach Tree, not Peach Street.

    Real interesting question: why was he in town? His employer is a world-class engineering firm, so who in SLO was using their services and for what? Getting to the bottom of that would be a much more interesting story.

    (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
    • Citizen says:

      The source of the story was given in the first paragraph, and the story begins by saying ” A British tabloid is reporting….”, so you are mistaken to say that the story was plagiarized.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  3. tnn says:

    I think the reason it’s unusual is because he already had a hotel that was being paid for by his employer. He left the room he was provided, rented the room at the Peach Tree Inn for one night and then went back to the other room after that. Seems a little odd, especially I guess for a guy who would later murder someone. This of course is supposition on my part.

    (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
    • Cindy says:

      I wondered about that too. He was obviously on the prowl with live chatting the local strippers and what not. He may have had plans to bring someone back to his room and didn’t want to do that where he might get busted for prostitution procurement or where people affiliated with his work might learn of his extra curricular activities.

      (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
    • slobody says:

      But where was that OTHER motel? Story doesn’t say. Maybe it was in LA or Las Vegas, where he met up with whores.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  4. ososkid says:

    When you say “hard-core porn”, is that by our standards, or German standards. There’s a big difference.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  5. Dexter says:

    ….or maybe … just meybe the authorities are alerting other areas where this guy stayed in case there are unsolved homicides. Thinks outside the box BeenThere … I know thats hard for those north of the grade

    (-8) 14 Total Votes - 3 up - 11 down
    • Cindy says:

      Dexter, You’ve got an interesting point about the fact that he was in the area and he could have perpetrated some other crime but the investigators obviously already spoke with the folks from the Peach Street Inn so no doubt, they spoke with the local LEO. I guess that would be too obvious for you to figure out since you’re stuck in such a “little tiny box” called rude, crude and socially inept.

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
    • willie says:

      Dexter
      “meybe the authorities are alerting other areas where this guy stayed in case there are unsolved homicides”

      I know some little LEO down south (now retired) who can can choke out a bull because he knows how from beginning to end and he is very very strong for a little guy.
      I know some ordinary looking special forces guys (now retired) who know how to break your neck.
      This “Vincent Tabak ” is a little peak squeek, I doubt if could go toe to toe with Joanna Yeates and strangle her to death.
      Thus, drugs, alcohol, money (especially for this guy) is used to temp the victim in a helpless position for strangulation.

      Cindy
      “he could have perpetrated some other crime”

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      And there it is folks. A typical SLO responce of nose in the air of how better they are then everyone else in the county.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • danika says:

      Ahem…we the people “north of the grade” are offended by your remark.

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
      • my2cents says:

        I agree, but at least those of us living north of the grade are down-to-earth and dont want this county turning into another hole-in-the-wall city!! Move back to where you came from. Im 5th generation in this county providing ranching and agriculture, then we get these yuppies moving here thinking everything needs to change to their preference!!

        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  6. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    And………………… So from what I gathered reading this, he stayed at the S.L.O. motel and nothing else?? And this is news why???

    (4) 18 Total Votes - 11 up - 7 down
    • abigchocoholic says:

      “Hey, a murderer once spent the night in SLO county.”

      And?

      (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        AND…………..Unless he murdered someone or committed some other crime SO WHAT!!

        (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        The guy is locked up now to so he is no further threat either and………..

        (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        Oh and another thing. Charles Manson once stopped in this county in 1969. Hmm we better check that out to.

        (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
    • Dexter says:

      maybe he stopped by because he heard it was the happiest town in America :)

      (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down

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