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Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK


BBC presenter shot dead

Jill Dando presented Crimewatch and Holiday

BBC television presenter Jill Dando has died after she was shot in the head on the doorstep of her home.

Jill Dando 1961 - 1999
Ms Dando, 37, who presented Crimewatch UK and Holiday, suffered a fatal brain injury in the attack in Fulham, west London.

She was taken to nearby Charing Cross Hospital, where she was confirmed dead on arrival at 1303 BST (1203 GMT).

Her post mortem examination later revealed that she had received a single gunshot wound to the head.

[ image: Police are combing the street for clues]
Police are combing the street for clues
A Scotland Yard statement said: "A post mortem held today at Fulham mortuary established the cause of death as a brain injury caused by a single gunshot wound to the head."

There had been early reports that she suffered multiple stab wounds, but one neighbour in Gowan Avenue said he had heard a gunshot.

The BBC's Kate Adie: "The kind of woman who had no enemies"
The Queen said she was "shocked and saddened" by the news of the death of Ms Dando, who helped the Duke of York to promote the Fight for Sight charity. Prime Minister Tony Blair also spoke of his shock at the death.

Ms Dando's fiancé, gynaecologist Alan Farthing, said: ''I am totally devastated and unable to comprehend what has happened. Jill was respected for her professional ability, admired by all who met her and adored by anyone who got to know her.''

Police, who have launched a murder inquiry, later cordoned off the footpath next to the River Thames from Putney Bridge.

There were unconfirmed reports that a man jumped off the bridge, or was stopped as he tried to jump.

The BBC's Nick Higham: "An enormous tragedy"
Detectives want to speak to a man seen running from the murder scene.

He was described as white, tall, in his late 30s or early 40s, with dark hair, clean-shaven and wearing a green Barbour jacket.

[ image: Richard Hughes: She was covered in blood]
Richard Hughes: She was covered in blood
Neighbours called the emergency services after they saw her collapsed and seriously injured in the doorway of the house in Gowan Avenue at 1147 BST.

Richard Hughes, 32, who lives next door to Miss Dando, said: "I heard her scream, it was a distinctive scream, she sounded quite surprised.

Jill Dando's neighbour Richard Hughes: "I heard a scream"
"I opened the shutters and saw a man, he was well dressed, he was wearing a Barbour-style jacket and at first I thought it must have been a friend of Jill's as he looked very respectable.

"I went to the door and saw her lying on the doorstep, she was unconscious and covered in blood. I was obviously shocked. I took a look at her and she wasn't breathing."

[ image: Nick Ross:
Nick Ross: "She was everything one could want in a colleague and friend"
Police are appealing for anyone with information to ring 0181 246 0730 or 0181 246 0734.

Jill Dando was hugely popular among BBC viewers, her bright presenting style proving a hit in a variety of programmes.

BBC News Online received more than 2,000 tributes from users within three hours of posting a page on the Internet.

Her co-presenter on Crimewatch UK, Nick Ross, said: "The shock is palpable. I can't believe we are talking about her in the past tense."

Safety concern

Ms Dando and Nick Ross presented last week's show, which featured unsolved crimes including the Brixton nail bomb blast.

Scotland Yard said there was no evidence that linked the murder with the programme.

The BBC's Lindsey Marnoch: "Her personality seemingly perfectly matched for the sunny and upbeat features she presented"
But the presenter told police earlier this year at a reception to mark the 10th anniversary of Crimewatch UK that she was concerned about her safety.

Last year there were reports that Ms Dando had been stalked by a fan, who had subjected her to frightening phone calls and letters.

Tony Hall, chief executive of BBC News, said: "I think we have to think carefully about people in the public eye and what protection if any they should have."

[ image:  ]
BBC Director General Sir John Birt said: "Everyone at the BBC is devastated. She was a much-loved colleague.

"But we are conscious not just of our own great sorrow, but of all of those viewers who learned to love her."

BBC's Director General Sir John Birt: We are conscious of viewers' grief
Ms Dando was on the cover of this week's Radio Times TV and radio guide, promoting a new show, The Antiques Inspectors.

But after seven years touring the world's tourist spots for the Holiday programme, Ms Dando was due to scale down her on-screen work and wed Mr Farthing.

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