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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Dando killer jailed for life
Barry George
George shot Miss Dando with a single bullet
An unemployed man obsessed with guns and celebrity has been sentenced to life for the murder of BBC TV presenter Jill Dando.

You are unpredictable and dangerous

Mr Justice Gage
Barry George, 41, shot Miss Dando through the head with a single bullet on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, west London, on 26 April 1999.

George, a known sex offender, denied the killing, but a jury of six women and five men convicted him by a 10-1 majority after an Old Bailey trial lasting nearly two months.

His solicitor, Marilyn Etienne, said afterwards George was "devastated" and preparations were being made for an appeal.

Passing the mandatory life sentence, Mr Justice Gage told George: "You have deprived Miss Dando's fiance, family and friends of a much loved and popular personality."

The evidence that convicted George
Gunfire residue on his coat
A fibre from his trousers at the crime scene
Eyewitnesses placed him at the scene
He was fascinated with guns
He was obsessed by celebrities and the BBC
He added: "You are unpredictable and dangerous... There can be no doubt that it was premeditated involving some planning ... Why you did it will never be known."

Friends and family sat impassively as the verdict was announced. George remained motionless.

Miss Dando's fiance, Alan Farthing, said outside court: "We all hope that the trial acts as some kind of milestone for each of us in coming to terms with the enormous loss of Jill."

Her brother, Nigel Dando, added: "I'm content with today's verdict and I have nothing but praise for the jury."

Doctors who studied George, of Crookham Road, Fulham, concluded he had "psychiatric personality characteristics" - and hated women.

He was convicted on the basis of a mixture of circumstantial, forensic and eyewitness evidence.

A speck of residue from the gun used to kill Miss Dando was found in his coat pocket.

Nigel Dando
Brother Nigel Dando: "I have no feelings about Barry George"
A strand of fibre that matched his trousers was found at the scene of the crime.

He was placed near the scene by several eyewitnesses.

Orlando Pownall, prosecuting, pointed out there was only one man in the frame at the end of an exhaustive police investigation.

George had an obsession with guns, celebrities and the BBC, for which he had worked as a messenger in 1976.

He had learned about weapons after enlisting in the Territorial Army, and had also spent time at a local pistol club.

Sex offender

George, who lived just half a mile from Miss Dando's home, was uncovered by routine police inquiries.

Alan Farthing
Fiance Alan Farthing was the focus of public grief
He was a convicted sex offender and had a history of psychological problems.

When he was 22 he was convicted of attempting to rape a language student.

And he was once arrested in combat gear outside the London home of the Princess of Wales.

He had gone under several different names including that of Barry Bulsara, taken from the original surname of the late Queen singer Freddy Mercury.

When police searched his flat, they found copies of the BBC's in-house newspaper, Ariel, published after Miss Dando's murder, and featuring her picture on the front page.

Miss Dando
Miss Dando was found dead on her doorstep
Yet he had denied knowing of Miss Dando.

Detectives learned he had tried to create a false alibi by telling staff at a charity and a local taxi firm about his movements on the day in question and what he was wearing.

Detective Superintendent Hamish Campbell led the year-long investigation - code-named Operation Oxborough - during which officers spoke to more than 5,000 people.

After the verdict he said: "This was the unfortunate culmination of many issues with this man."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens added: "I obviously welcome today's verdict.

"This was a protracted and complex investigation and the team worked exceptionally hard to present compelling evidence to the jury."

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"Barry George's solicitor said the decision was wrong"
The BBC's Stephen Cape
reports on how police put Barry George in court



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