Joanna Yeates's boyfriend: We were in love... we got a cat and likely would have married
CHRISTMAS will always be the most difficult time of year for Greg Reardon, the grieving boyfriend of murdered Joanna Yeates.
Her body was found on Christmas Day, a time of year which should be all about celebration for most people.
This time last year, Miss Yeates was still alive.
This year, heartbroken Mr Readon is preparing to spend Christmas without the girlfriend he had one day hoped to marry.
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In his first interview since that fateful day, the 28-year-old architect has spoken of the nightmare he has had to endure over the last 12 months.
"We were happy and in love," Mr Reardon told a national newspaper.
"We had lived together for over a year and got a pet cat together. I think it's highly likely the relationship would have developed into marriage.
"The thought of proposing had crossed my mind, although it was probably some time off."
The pair grew close as they worked on an eco-housing scheme, with Greg designing the houses and Jo the landscaping.
A date at a local pub developed into romance.
When Dutchman Vincent Tabak, who is serving life for Miss Yeates' murder, took Miss Yeates' life he also ripped Mr Reardon's future from him.
He murdered the landscape architect on December 17 last year, later dumping the landscape architect's body in a snow-covered lane. He is now serving life in prison.
Mr Reardon had left the couple's Clifton flat just hours earlier to visit his 33-year-old brother Francis in Sheffield. He said: "She assured me she'd make plans and not be bored. I just thought, 'It's only one weekend, everything will be fine.'"
When he returned to the flat, Mr Reardon did not immediately think anything was wrong.
"I thought she had made plans to go out during the weekend and not told me," he told The Sun.
"I had a certain level of anxiety as I had not been in contact with her all weekend.
"But I thought there would be a perfectly good explanation and she would be back soon.
"So I sat and relaxed in front of the TV and waited for her. As the evening went on I rang her mobile again and faintly heard it ringing in her coat pocket.
"It was then I felt panicked. I started pacing round the flat trying to find out what was going on, trying to justify the situation and keep myself calm.
"I went through her rucksack, that was packed full and sitting on the table, and found her glasses, purse and keys.
"I just went a little numb. It was a horrible realisation that something was seriously wrong."
Greg immediately launched himself into helping police search for his girlfriend, spreading the word of her disappearance across social network websites.
He added: "When I found out she had not been admitted to any hospital, or been picked up by the police, or returned to work on the Monday morning I could only fear the worst.
"I knew she would not just run away."
With hindsight, he admitted that he regretted not being at the flat in Canynge Road to protect her from Tabak, who liked to view violent pornography of women being bound and throttled.
Mr Reardon told how he had never properly met Tabak, beyond polite greetings in passing.
He added: "I curse the probability of the situation more than anything. Why couldn't we win the lottery instead?
"It's probably just as feasible as getting murdered by your next-door neighbour."
Greg told how he and Jo had been planning to spend last Christmas with her parents David and Theresa in Hampshire.
And after Christmas, the pair had planned to join up with friends in Edinburgh for Hogmanay.
The train and hotel were already booked, but it was a journey Miss Yeates never made.
Tabak's decision to plead not guilty to murder heaped even more agony on Mr Reardon, and Miss Yeates' family.
"The trial was a bloody nightmare," he said. "It was surreal facing Tabak in court. I just had to keep calm and get through it."
He said the hardest part was listening to Tabak's defence.
The killer claimed Jo had invited him in and he choked her accidentally while trying to silence her screams after attempting to kiss her.
This Christmas, Mr Reardon is planning to go skiing in an attempt to move on after the trial.
He said: "I'm not sure specifically what I'll do to remember Jo in the future but I'm certainly not going to forget her. I've visited her grave and will continue to do so.
"We are in the process of organising a proper headstone and it will be nice to see that in place."
Greg, who returned to work just a week after Miss Yeates' body was found to help him cope with his grief, intends to stay in Bristol.
He has bought a flat in the city centre and is throwing his efforts into raising money for the charity Missing People, which helped in the initial search for Miss Yeates.
He added: "Now the trial is over, I'm ready to start afresh and get on with my life."