Creepy; 'The Strange Mr Jefferies'

Article excerpt

Byline: John McEachran

THE retired teacher arrested on suspicion of the murder of tragic Jo Yeates was branded a sex creep by his former pupils.

Police arrested Jo's landlord Christopher Jefferies, 65, yesterday and held him for questioning.

Former students at exclusive Clifton College, where he was head of English, revealed he was known as "The Strange Mr Jefferies".

They claimed he constantly made lewd sexual remarks as he clutched the hands of pupils. And former tenants told how they feared oddball Jefferies - a Neighbourhood Watch activist who sports a distinctive shock of white hair in an afro comb-over style - was a peeping tom.

They revealed he would constant ly peer t hrough t he windows - and even let himself into their flat using his own keys.

Jefferies. who rented a basement flat to landscape architect Jo, 25, and her boyfriend Greg Reardon, 27, was still being quizzed by detectives last night.

He was arrested a day after claims that he told police he'd spotted Jo leaving her flat with two others on the night she disappeared.

Jo vanished on December 17 and 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.

Yesterday. a male student, who was taught GCSE English by the bachelor in the 1990s and did not wish to be named, said Jefferies "creeped out" students at the Bristol college.

Sweaty

He said: "He was a stickler for discipline and was very traditional. He used to get very angry and shout and throw books and pens across the room.

"We were convinced he was gay. He used to touch people's hands and he'd say, 'Oh you're very sweaty. That means you're sexually active. You've been sexually active recently'.

"You didn't want him to come near you, he was very unkempt and had dirty fingernails. I think girls were more creeped out by him than boys.

"When we told other teachers he was strange, they would laugh and say "Ah yes, Mr Jefferies, he's a bit of a nutter, isn't he."

Another student, who also did not wish to be named, added: "He was fascinated by making lewd sexual remarks. He used to make them constantly. It was really disturbing.

The way he pronounced words and said his sentences was also weird."

The student added: "When I saw that the girl had lived in the same house as The Strange Mr Jefferies I thought it was typical.

"He is just such a weird guy - it's all in his eyes and hair. …