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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 03:03 GMT 04:03 UK
Dando killer protests innocence
Barry George
George shot Miss Dando with a single bullet
Barry George, the man found guilty of murdering TV presenter Jill Dando, has continued to protest his innocence despite losing his appeal against his conviction.

The 42-year-old's legal team vowed to take the case to the House of Lords after the Court of Appeal rejected the claim that George's conviction was "unsafe".

Miss Dando
Miss Dando was found dead on her doorstep
On Monday the judges said that there was compelling evidence that George shot Miss Dando through the head with a single bullet on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, west London, on 26 April 1999.

Afterwards George issued a statement dictated from his prison cell: "I did not murder Jill Dando and I believe that one day the truth will come out, and I only hope and pray that this happens in my lifetime."

He claimed that he had spent more than two years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

"I have struggled hard during this prosecution against me to keep my faith in the British criminal justice system. Today, that faith and belief has been destroyed."

His sister Michelle Diskin and his mother Margaret George were in court for the judgement.

But his lawyers failed to prove that evidence at the original trial was inadmissible and the identification of George flawed.

And in a 60-page judgement the appeal court judges upheld the original guilty verdict.

The Lord Chief Justice said: "Looking at the evidence as a whole we have no doubt as to the correctness of the conviction."

Gun obsession

His lawyers had tried to prove that George's coat - on which was found a speck of firearms residue linking him to the murder scene - was contaminated by police.

They argued there was no fingerprint, footprint or DNA evidence proving he was the killer.

They raised objections to the way the trial was conducted including the way the jury reached its decisions.

But the appeal judges, Lord Woolf, Mr Justice Curtis and Mr Justice Henriques, ruled the original trial was handled correctly.

George, who lived just half a mile from Miss Dando's home, had an obsession with guns, celebrities and the BBC, for which he had worked as a messenger in 1976.

He was a convicted sex offender and had a history of psychological problems.

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

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

Police found copies of the BBC's in-house newspaper, Ariel, published after Miss Dando's murder featuring her picture at George's flat.

Yet he had denied knowing of Miss Dando.

Detective Superintendent Hamish Campbell, who led the investigation, described George as a "seriously dysfunctional, disturbed" individual.

"There were five identity witnesses. Linked to that a whole number of factors that showed Barry George was in that street on that day and that he murdered Miss Dando," he told BBC News.

George was sentenced to life imprisonment last July.

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"His family came to the appeal court hoping to hear the judges proclaim his innocence"
The BBC's Danny Shaw
"There were no real signs of emotion from Barry George"



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