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Jill Dando: TV presenter’s brother Nigel Dando provides his principle on star’s unsolved homicide 24 years on

The brother of murdered TV presenter Jill Dando says regardless of the case remaining unsolved 24 years, he has a principle about who may very well be behind her dying.

The execution type killing of certainly one of Britain’s best-loved broadcasters in broad daylight on her personal doorstep in April 1999 shocked the nation, leaving the press, public and police united in disbelief.

One of many greatest murder investigations in British historical past – lastly leading to a conviction one 12 months after her homicide, solely to be overturned seven years on – stays unsolved to this present day.

Her brother, Nigel Dando, has informed Sky Information he believes it was “a random killing” carried out by a stranger, and that the presenter “was simply within the fallacious place on the fallacious time”.

Talking forward of a brand new Netflix documentary, wanting into the homicide and ensuing police investigation, Mr Dando mentioned that even all these years after his sister’s dying, he’s hopeful “the killer is on the market watching” and will “come ahead… to admit what they’ve completed and get it off their chest”.

(R-L): Jill Dando, together with her father Jack and brother Nigel

‘It is a heck of a narrative’

Receiving information of the dying of a cherished one is tough – and all of the extra so when that dying is sudden and violent.

Mr Dando says he hadn’t seen Jill for round three weeks earlier than her dying, however then obtained a telephone name telling him his sister had been killed.

He says: “Inside a few minutes, actually, of listening to that Jill had died, half of my mind wished to grieve for her loss and be near my dad… He was in his eighties and never in the very best of well being. So, you had the household facet of issues.”

Nonetheless, as a fellow journalist, Mr Dando additionally had a second a part of his thoughts clicking into gear.

He goes on: “However, , one of many main TV celebrities on this nation gunned down on her personal doorstep. It is going to… It is a heck of a narrative. And also you sort of knew what was going to come back down the road.

“I used to be making an attempt to arrange myself to cope with that, figuring out that you just needed to cope with the media. However making an attempt to guard my dad from any excesses of it.”

It’s in fact that very same energy of the story that attracted true crime producer Emma Cooper to the case, and he or she would go on to spend over a 12 months heading up the three-part documentary.

She explains: “An act that violent with a gun taking place in an space of London, that might be outlandish now in 2023. So, to look again at that taking place at the moment is extraordinary.”

However she says it was additionally key to recollect the particular person on the coronary heart of the story: “It was essential to all of us that Jill was very current within the sequence and that we reminded individuals who knew her and keep in mind her. And in addition [it was important] we introduced it to a brand new viewers of younger individuals who do not essentially find out about Jill and do not essentially know what occurred to her and what an enormous half she was in all of our lives.”

Pic: South Coast Press/Shutterstock
Pic: South Coast Press/Shutterstock

Who was Jill Dando?

Born within the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, Dando’s first job was as a trainee together with her native weekly newspaper, the Weston Mercury, the place her father and brother additionally labored.

Rapidly progressing from print journalism to tv, her expertise paired with a girl-next-door persona noticed her rise via the ranks of regional exhibits to nationwide TV, happening to current Vacation, the Six O’ Clock Information and Crimewatch.

Simply two years earlier than her dying, she was voted BBC persona of the 12 months.

On 26 April 1999 she was shot lifeless exterior her house in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, southwest London. She had been as a result of current the Six O’ Clock Information the next night.

Pic: Nick Scott Archive/Alamy
Pic: Nick Scott Archive/Alamy

The various theories about Jill’s killer

One of many theories of a doable motive behind her killing, was that her presenting function on Crimewatch had made her susceptible to criminals who may bear a grudge in opposition to her for her half in bringing them down.

One other was {that a} Serbian murderer might have killed her, in revenge for NATO bombing, after seeing her entrance an attraction for help for Kosovar Albanian refugees.

Nonetheless, Mr Dando does not imagine such theories stand as much as sturdy investigation, calling them “fascinating traces of inquiry” however which “by no means went anyplace”.

Of the Crimewatch connection he says “there was no proof, it was simply somebody leaping on the bandwagon”.

And of the idea of hyperlinks to Serbian mafia – Mr Dando says there was “no actual proof of a Serbian hitman”.

However he does have his personal ideas about who might have been behind his sister’s dying.

“My principle earlier than this occurred and that is been strengthened since by watching this documentary, is that Jill was simply within the fallacious place on the fallacious time, and that someone strolling down the road, holding a gun for no matter motive, noticed her, both figuring out her or not figuring out who she was, and shot her lifeless.”

Mr Dando provides that among the “theories would make nice tales in fiction, however… There is no line that basically holds an enormous quantity of water other than , a random killing, which I believe it was.”

Barry George. Pic: Undated police handout
Barry George. Pic: Undated police handout

Who’s Barry George, and the way does he match into the case?

Native man, Barry George, who had earlier convictions and a historical past of stalking girls, was arrested for Jill’s homicide virtually a 12 months after her dying, and later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mr George spent seven years in jail, however was later acquitted as a result of unreliable forensic proof, leaving the case once more unsolved.

Talking about Mr George’s authentic conviction, Mr Dando says: “On the time I assumed that the police had acquired the suitable particular person, and a jury agreed with that sentiment as a result of he was clearly discovered responsible and jailed for all times. However the authorized system strikes on.”

However Mr Dando does have one concern – that Mr George selected to not give proof, at both his trial or re-trial.

Mr Dando says: “I’d simply preferred to have seen him inform a jury precisely what he was doing on that day, as a result of he is by no means really defined the place he was. It is all a bit jumbled up. It could have been fascinating to have heard him clarify the place he was, and for him to have been cross-examined about his actions on that day.”

Whereas the conviction in opposition to Mr George was quashed, he has been unsuccessful in his makes an attempt to realize compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

Mr George can also be a contributor to the Netflix documentary.

Government producer Emma Cooper says she felt it was important to have Mr George’s facet of the story within the movie, to current “as away from a rounded image of all of the occasions as doable from as many various views as doable”.

Within the documentary, she asks Mr George outright, “Did you kill Jill Dando,” to which Mr George solutions, “No”.

She says: “I assumed it was necessary to ask, I assumed that the viewers would count on that of us to ask him a straight query. And so, we did.”

Pic: Michael Fresco/Evening Standard/Shutterstock
Pic: Michael Fresco/Night Normal/Shutterstock

One of many greatest murder investigations in British historical past

Mr Dando says he bears no anger in the direction of the police over the shortage of a conviction, calling the investigation “a tough job” and including: “I haven’t got any unfavourable emotions in the direction of the police in any respect with their inquiries. I did not on the time, and because the years have gone on, I do not.”

Because the documentary exhibits, whereas Dando’s fame ensured that information of her homicide travelled far and huge, it additionally performed a component in hindering the investigation.

Mr Dando says officers have been inundated with individuals making an attempt to “do the suitable factor” by providing up info, and the outcome was an avalanche of suggestions “overwhelming all of the potential traces of inquiry that got here in”.

Whereas the investigation was moved into “an inactive section” 9 years in the past, Met Police informed Sky Information detectives “would think about any new info offered” in a bid “to find out whether or not it represented a brand new and practical line of enquiry”.

Providing additional info across the mixed reward of £250,000 which was initially provided for info resulting in an arrest, the Met informed Sky Information, “Any dialogue about any reward must happen within the occasion that new info got here to gentle.”

BBC TV presenter Jill Dando at Television Centre. 26/4/99: Jill Dando was shot and killed outside her home in Fulham, South West London. 07/06/01: The Old Bailey jury in the Dando murder trial announced its verdict of guilty.  * ...in the trial of suspect suspect Barry George, 41, unemployed from  south west London. George had denied murdering Miss Dando on April 26 1999. The TV presenter was shot through the head in the doorway of her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham.

Jill’s legacy

Mr Dando says he’s nonetheless approached in public – within the grocery store, on the carpet store – by individuals “wanting to speak about Jill” and “how they remembered her”.

Jill was simply 37 when she died, and 5 months away from getting married to her fiance, Alan Farthing.

Mr Dando says: “She was on an upward trajectory… Whether or not household life would have taken over from her broadcasting profession or whether or not she might have juggled the 2. Who is aware of what would have occurred, the place she would have been at this time.”

Pic: ANL/Shutterstock
Jill with fellow Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross. Pic: ANL/Shutterstock

Will we ever get a solution?

Ms Cooper says: “It is actually necessary for a shared viewers to look again at that and for brand new individuals to find what occurred. And for older individuals to be reminded about it and to be reminded of the truth that it’s nonetheless unsolved.”

The movie paperwork elements of the investigation that almost all – together with a few of Jill’s household – have by no means heard about earlier than.

Different contributors to the movie embrace Dando’s ex-partner, tv producer Bob Wheaton, her agent Jon Roseman, and former detective chief inspector Hamish Campbell who headed up the homicide case.

Ms Cooper says: “If someone might see one thing that would jog a reminiscence that has been unclaimed for 20 years, that might be an incredible end result for all of us.”

Mr Dando too, has hopes – even when they’re vanishingly slim – that the documentary might result in some type of reply for himself, and all those that cherished and knew Jill.

He says: “We have lived for twenty-four years not figuring out who did it, however possibly extra importantly, why they did it. Why would you go as much as a stranger and do what you probably did? I simply do not know. So, it might be good to have some closure from that standpoint to know why that particular person pulled the set off.”

He goes on: “Perhaps even the killer is on the market watching this documentary and their conscience, even in any case these years could also be pricked and it might simply encourage them to come back ahead to admit what they’ve completed and get it off their chest.”

Who Killed Jill Dando? is launched on Netflix on Tuesday 26 September.

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