31/10/2011 Inside Out West


Steve Brodie reports on the conclusion of the Jo Yeates murder trial and David Whiteley investigates a man who claims he can help West Country pensioners to avoid care home fees.

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Hello. Tonight we're in Bristol, a city that finds itself in the


national spotlight once again as the Jo Yeates murder trial reaches


its conclusion. Vincent Tabak guilty of murder. And


following the case new revelations about his shady background.


It is a manipulative man, very cunning, he watched this


investigation unfold. Also in the programme, this man says he can


help you avoid paying for care in your old age. I'm here to show you


how you can avoid care fees. good to be true? And should this


man be allowed to seek help from his wife to end his life? I don't


be -- I don't think people realise what an awful thing it is, you


cannot relieve their pain. This is all I can do for him. With


surprising stories from familiar places you're watching Inside Out


This is Canynge Road in Bristol, a street we've all become familiar


with after the events of the 17th December last year. It was here


that Jo Yeates met her death at the hands of her next door neighbour


Vincent Tabak. After the jury delivered its verdict, additional


evidence emerged that Tabak had accessed violent pornography on his


computer. Our home affairs correspondent Steve Brodie has been


investigating the secret life of Tabak thought his cleverness and


deceit would prevent him being convicted of a brutal murder. He


was wrong. He is a manipulative man, very cunning, he watched this


investigation unfold. We fully expected him to lie when he went


into the witness box Jo Yeates' killer is behind bars. Vincent


Tabak. Guilty of a murder that's dominated the news for weeks.


Tonight I talk exclusively to the man in charge of his defence, and


ask why the judge wouldn't admit evidence about Tabak's contact with


prostitutes and his use of violent pornography. It proved very little


as to what actually happened in the fatal few minutes in Joanna's flat.


Jo Yeates was murdered here days before Christmas. But after a


three-week trial, we're no closer to knowing the truth of those


fateful minutes. Tabak said he was invited in. Jo was his neighbour.


That he misread the signs. And he didn't mean to kill her. No-one


believed him, especially the man who caught him. We believe that


Joanna was killed very shortly after she arrived home. The only


two people who know what happened that night, one is Jo and


unfortunately, she was killed. And it's Vincent Tabak. So who is


Vincent Tabak? I sat in this court day after day for three weeks


watching him, he was always calm and collected. He would sit with


his head in his hands, only feet away from Jo's parents and her


boyfriend, Greg Reardon. And even when the judge sent him down for a


minimum of 20 years, he again showed little, if any emotion. I


was there when they discovered Jo's body on Christmas Day, left by the


side of the road and covered in leaves and snow, and when the


missing person's inquiry turned into a murder hunt. That would


ultimately bring out Tabak's lies and an interest in prostitutes and


hardcore, violent pornography that Tabak's story starts in Holland


where the police first really interviewed him and the people who


knew him. People that we spoke to there describe almost a social


inadequate, couldn't put it in any different words to that. Someone


who was probably not particularly comfortable around woman,


comfortable in social circumstances, even amongst his peers. This is a


view shared by some of those who knew Tabak here, Uden, Holland,


where he grew up. Sometimes, he say something, sometimes he was in his


own and he didn't see you and he didn't say anything. There was home,


old parents, a little boy only in the house, older brother and


sisters were out of the house, so, I think he was perhaps a little


lonesome. But it was back to that family in Holland that Tabak


travelled for the New Year, calmly, coolly, with his girlfriend, days


after killing Jo. As her parents laid their flowers in the snow,


Tabak was online, already looking to keep one step ahead of the


investigation. He researched details of the unsolved murders of


Melanie Hall and Anni Dewani, looked up how he could get rid of


evidence and even watched a time lapse video of a body decomposing.


You've heard the evidence from his internet use of how he was


monitoring media reports. He'd also researched around the definitions


of murder and manslaughter, so he was fully aware of what we, the


prosecution, had to prove for murder, and likewise, what was


necessary for manslaughter. But it was the other websites he was


looking at that really concerned the police. On the morning of the


murder he was looking at pornography but more chillingly


days after strangling Jo, he was watching violent hardcore images of


men choking women during sex, images of women tied up in car


boots, and others being bound and gagged. But the judge ruled this


information couldn't be put before the jury, even Tabak's girlfriend


and her father knew nothing about it, and told us it was depraved.


Neither could the jury hear that Tabak had contacted prostitutes


while in the US on business, including at this hotel, where he


checked in under a false name. The judge said none of this could prove


the killing was premeditated. And Tabak's defence lawyer, who spoke


exclusively to me just two hours before the verdict, agreed.


Sometimes people think because there is some bad character, or


reprehensive behaviour, it must go in. It doesn't follow that it has


to go in. It has to go in to prove a point. Even if it had been


admissible, there's then the further test as to whether it would


be prejudicial and derail a fair trial, we didn't actually get to


that. But it clearly in my view would've been prejudicial. It


didn't actually go to what actually happened in that period of time.


But Tabak's lawyer admits they never claimed that Tabak was an


innocent. Whilst the material may well have been considered


reprehensible in many respects. What the judge did say is that Mr


Tabak could not promote himself effectively before the jury as a


man of good character. Mr Clegg who conducted the defence for Mr Tabak


was at pains to ensure we did not go down that path. We were very


neutral when it came to Mr Tabak's character. Jo's family have mixed


views. Her brother Chris told us the jury should have known about


Tabak's character, but no-one wanted a prejudiced trial, or an


appeal. Her father said it was right the jury didn't know and


wasn't certain the pornography had contributed to the murder. This


barrister and member of the justice select committee acknowledges that


had Tabak got away with murder, there could've been public outrage


The public will rightly ask questions and be concerned. But I


think they need reassuring that the law has been changed, that material


is capable of being admitted before a jury, but only on a very strict


test of relevance. And let's imagine for a moment, that it's you


or me in the dock, or any of our friends and family, we would expect


fairness, we would expect strict tests to be applied when it comes


to previous material relating to bad character that may have


happened years ago, which may not have any relevance in the case, but


which if it went in before a jury, could unfairly prejudice a


defendant in their eyes. I'd rather have safe convictions and fair


trials than witch hunts and a general blackening of character


which is irrelevant to the issue in the case. I think we've got the


Jo Yeates' father David has told the BBC he was still trying to come


to terms with what he felt, he's still got a lot of unanswered


questions, but at least he's got a starting point for the rest of his


life. As far as Vincent Tabak is concerned, we still don't know


everything about his secret life. The police are still questioning


him and there could be further Steve Brodie on the trial of


Vincent Tabak who was found guilty of murder on Friday. Later in the


programme the Wiltshire man hoping that a change in the law will allow


his wife to assist in his death. Some days it this life gets too


much for me and a break down and Needing care when you're older


could cost around �50,000 a year. So, when someone tells you that he


has a way of getting someone else to foot the bill, well, that sounds


like a tempting offer. David Whiteley's been investigating a


company targeting pensioners here in the West with just such a


promise. One in four of us will need long-


term care and if you have more than �23,000 in savings and property you


will be expected to pay for your care. That is a worry for some


people who would rather keep their assets in the family. I am a co-


founder of the Universal Group and I am here to show you how you can


avoid care fees. This man claims he knows how you can avoid fees. He


says he is better than a solicitor. Your local solicitor wouldn't be


able to do this. They come to us to do it. Five years ago Bernard and


Christine wanted new wills. They went to Steve long. Earlier this


year he phoned Bernard unexpectedly. His business had a new product, to


avoid care fees. He said you could get out of paying care home fees by


setting this trussed up that would stop the council getting their


hands on your money. -- setting this trussed up. It would be �3,000.


It is a lot of money. Our first reaction was, we would have to


think about that. In the end he managed to talk us into agreeing


with him, but I have since found that if a trust was set up for that


sole purpose, that would disqualify itself. Beryl also had a visit from


Steve long. He said the money would all be ring-fenced that you


couldn't, the government couldn't get hold of it. For care home fees.


He suddenly says there is a fee you have to pay, and if possible we


would like to have it tonight. It was �3,500. We have asked several


solicitors and they have told us similar trusts would cost between


712 hundred pounds. Care home fees cannot run to thousands of pounds


he year so it is only natural to worry about these costs. Steve runs


seminars to explain his solutions to these concerns.


We went to some of his seminars and listened to whose claims about


himself and his products. This one was in Bristol. We do seminars like


this for solicitors. You have the whole room of solicitors


specialising in elderly client care and not one of them knows how to do


it. It is a specialist niche stop - - specialist niche. Caroline is a


solicitor specialising in wills and Administration of Estates. Perils


of professional lawyers who undertake wills and trusts, and


membership of solicitors for the elderly will have many thousands of


members together he would be able to set up these sorts of trusts.


But also they have to have a very good working understanding of


social care assessments and funding. She wants to make sure that Peter's


inheritance... The man behind the group is Stephen long. In his


seminars he makes many claims that make him and his companies and


well-connected and important. work with a top barrister in the


country, we do seminars with solicitors. We have spoken to the


Bar Council and they told us no one would claim to be the country's top


barrister. He doesn't seem to be quite as well connected as he


claims, but he does sound well qualified. And a qualified


accountant and a lawyer. He isn't. We have checked with the UK


accountancy organisations and the solicitors Regulation Authority. He


is a member of the Society of trusts and Estate Practitioners.


How accurate are his crimes? An undercover producer asked him if


the elderly person who isn't well could use one of the trusts to


avoid care fees. Provided he hasn't already been assessed or receiving


care, it is straightforward. local authority will look at the


reasons for trust was actually created, and if they feel it was


done for the purpose of putting the asset beyond their reach, then of


course they could take it into account in an assessment and treat


the person as if they still have the asset. If the motive is to


avoid paying care home fees the trust may end up doing precisely


the opposite. That is exactly how Steve Long markets his product.


am here to show you how you can avoid fees. In the end it is the


local authority who decides so we asked the local government


association which represents local authorities just what the rules are.


They told us if you put your assets into a trust deliberately designed


to avoid care fees the local authority can treat you as they


used still own the assets. That seems clear. So we wrote to Mr Long


to explain why he gives misleading statements in his seminars. His


office told us he was out of the country until the end of the week.


Then is of his claim some of his mistakes were due to an ear


infection. I hope his hearing is better now because he is still in


the country and giving a seminar at this hotel here in Gloucester and


they do hope his hearing is better. I have got a few questions for him.


His office said universal asset protection is totally committed to


excellent customer care and that their fees are not excessive. But


he has not given specific answers to most of our questions. I have


got to rescue a question. Why is it you are selling a product called


How to avoid care fees when by marketing it as that you are in


fact possibly, could be, rendering it useless. That is not the advice


we have received. Nice of you to have come unannounced into a


seminar. We have been in touch, asked you a few questions about the


validity of what you're doing with these trusts. Actually wear


advertising ourselves as how to avoid care fees you are shooting


yourself in the third. It is not the advice we have received.


have you received it from, this is from the government?


When we look at the cases we dealt with and you have put me on the


spot... A we have been trying to get in touch with you, your office


told us you are the country. I am not prepared to discuss and


television the intellectual property we have, all I can say is


the trust that we used as 100% track-record, we have documentary


evidence of local authorities except in the trust works.


market yourself as one of only five companies but specialises in this


kind of the elderly care trusts and that is not true. We say we are one


of five specialist providers that we know of their provide these for


other people. Any firm of solicitors who knows and


understands the rules around this would be able to do that. Strange


that he said the opposite when he didn't know he was being recorded.


Your local solicitor will not be able to do this. It is a specialist


niche. So which Mr Long should we believe and what, I learn? If you


are thinking of putting your property into a trust to avoid care


fees remember, they are not suitable for everyone and they may


not work. My first reaction was to say no. But he continued and


eventually wore a stand. If you have put him you'll know he is a


pleasant man and obviously a good And if there's something you'd like


us to investigate then why not get in touch? Our email address is


It is one of the most difficult ethical questions of our time is it


ever acceptable to assist in the death of a loved one? In the next


few weeks, the Commission on Assisted Dying is due to present


its recommendations on what system, if any, should be set up to allow


Like most people I didn't give suicide a thought despite being


able to do it legally. Then I had my stroke and the choice of life or


death was taken away from me. It certainly is true that you don't


know what you have until you no longer have it. Tony Nicklinson


would like to end his life. Six years ago, a massive stroke left


him paralysed below the neck and unable to speak. His condition is


called locked in syndrome. He is rarely able to leave his home in


Melksham. Right from the word go, when he was still in intensive care,


I said to the doctors, he won't want to live like this. We knew it


would come. But because of his disabilities,


Tony needs his wife Jane to help him to end his life. For this, she


could face a murder charge. So together, they are trying to change


the law. I can't see how anybody could think it's right that Tony's


right to take his own life has been taken away. Jane has told her


husband's story to a commission set up to explore whether people should


be given assistance to die. The commission has been contacted by


over a thousand people since it launched a year ago. In the coming


weeks, it'll report its suggestions to Parliament. Something in excess


of 80% of the population in the UK would like some change in


legislation. But the work of the commission has enraged those


campaigners who don't want a change in the law. There's no chance of it


producing any worthwhile conclusion at all. It's purely a publicity


Tributes have been paid to the husband and wife from acrobat who


travelled to a Swiss euthanasia clinic. More than 150 people have


ended their lives by travelling from the UK to countries where


assisted suicide is legal. Nobody has yet been prosecuted for


accompanying them. But assisting somebody to end their life is


illegal in the UK, which means Tony Nicklinson must continue to live a


life that's unrecognizable from the one he enjoyed before his stroke.


He was the life and soul of the party type. An ex-rugby player, a


real alpha male, bit of a daredevil. You know, he went sky diving, did


all sorts of crazy things. Tony could outlive Jane. His condition


might not cut his life short. But now, being unable to speak, move or


do anything for himself life has become unbearable for him. He


communicates using a computer that recognises his eye movements.


case, I awake with dread, knowing that I will have to endure another


session of being manhandled by the carers as they shower and dress me


to get ready for yet another tedious day. Some days, this life


gets too much for me and I break down and cry. He knows that a time


will come when he says enough is enough, and really his only option


is Switzerland, which he might possibly consider eventually, if


our legal case doesn't pan out, or starvation, which is a very nasty


way to go. It seemed critically important to all of us, that we


went out to see how those countries that had changed legislation, how


the change was managed in practice. But I think it's unlikely we'd be


able to import any particular system in a country straight into


England. But some pro-life campaigners think they've already


won the debate and the commission is a waste of time. Most of the


reputable people who would normally give evidence have refused to do so,


because the subject has been thrashed to death in the House of


Lords fairly recently, eight hours of debating. What has happened all


over the world, is that pro- euthanasia societies have spoken a


lot about the very rare, but very emotive cases of people who could


not kill themselves and seriously want to. This is a tiny proportion


really, of people, and one has to be sympathetic, but it's very


important to make sure people understand that disabled people are


very opposed to any change in the law that protects them at the


moment. Michael Wenham has motor neurone disease, a degenerative


condition that damages the nervous system. He is also worried that a


change in the law could affect how society views people with


disabilities. People begin to judge Michael relies on his wife Jane to


help him. There may be a time when, like Tony, he is unable to do


anything for himself. Michael decided not to give evidence to the


commission, and Tony relies on his wife to speak on his behalf during


debates. So Michael agreed to come to Tony's home to discuss face to


face, how legalising assisted dying might affect society. Welcome,


please make yourself comfortable. Thank you for agreeing to this


But you can determine your own fate, because you can commit suicide


without assistance whereas some people cannot. Why deny them the


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 65 seconds


That isn't the issue. It's about Both Tony and Michael await the


recommendations the Commission on Assisted Dying will make in the


coming weeks. But Jane Nicklinson is determined to keep fighting for


the right to help her husband. Obviously nobody wants to give


their husband a lethal dose of something, under any circumstances.


If I had to do it, would I be able to do it? I don't know until the


time comes. I like to think that I would. It's what he wants and if


you love someone, you'd do anything to help them. What more can I do?


There's nothing I can do. I don't think people realise what am awful


thing it is to see the person that you love in there, and you can't


relieve their pain. This is all I And if you'd like details of


organisations which can offer help on strokes and locked in syndrome


then you can call the BBC action line. The number is 08000 566 065.


Your call is free from a landline but mobile operators will charge.


The lines are open 24 hours a day. Well, unfortunately that's where we


must bring things to a close tonight but you can continue a


conversation about the programme on Twitter using #insideout.


In next week's programme unhappy campers, we meet the protestors


who've pitched their tents in the And Britain's Got Talent winner


Home Affairs Correspondent Steve Brodie reports on the conclusion of the Jo Yeates murder trial as Vincent Tabak is found guilty of murder. Should the jury have been told about Tabak's habit of accessing violent pornography on his computer?

Plus, David Whiteley investigates a man who claims he can help West Country pensioners to avoid care home fees.

And as the Commission for Assisted Dying considers whether to recommend changes to UK law, we meet a Wiltshire man who wants help from his wife to end his life. Tony Nicklinson is paralysed from the neck down after a stroke. As things stand, his wife Jane could face a murder charge if she assists in his death.

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