Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 14:13 UK

Profile: Barry George

Barry George posing with gun
Barry George once pretended he was in the SAS

Barry George has lived a life dominated by fantasy, obsessed with celebrities, single women and weapons.

A jury has decided that he did not carry out one of Britain's most high-profile murders of the last decade - that of Jill Dando, the BBC presenter shot dead on her west London doorstep in 1999.

But they gained an insight into Mr George's bizarre world.

He had always yearned for fame and adopted the names of well-known personalities, his Old Bailey trial was told.

One of those was Paul Gadd, the real name of singer Gary Glitter. He later changed his name again to Steve Majors, an amalgamation of the actor Lee Majors and Steve Austin - the character played by Majors in The Six Million Dollar Man.

Mr George, now 48, also posed as SAS soldier Thomas Palmer, who was involved in the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980. He obtained copies of Mr Palmer's birth and marriage certificates and opened a building society account in his name, prosecutors said.

His number one fixation, however, was with former Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Mr George claimed to be his cousin and adopted the singer's real surname, calling himself Barry Bulsara.

He even carried - and handed out - business cards suggesting he was associated with Queen's production companies, the court was told.

At his home in Fulham, west London, police found hoards of magazines and newspapers containing articles about female TV personalities, jurors heard.

He also collected photographs of the women he watched on TV, such as Anthea Turner, Caron Keating, Emma Freud and Fiona Foster.

BBC fascination

Born on 15 April 1960 in Hammersmith, west London, Mr George had a difficult childhood in a broken home.

He suffers from epilepsy and admitted having a personality disorder which, the defence said, made him incapable of carrying out such a cold-blooded assassination.

Mr George was an inadequate loner, they argued, not a ruthless killer.

Professor Michael Kopelman, a neuropsychiatrist, told the Old Bailey that brain scans of Mr George had produced "severely abnormal" results.

He said: "What it shows are repetitive bursts of abnormal brain discharges that last five to 10 seconds, then there is five to 10 seconds of normality and then it is abnormal again."

The court heard that Mr George had an IQ of 75, in the lowest 5% of the population, and scored in the bottom 1% for tests of memory, planning and carrying out tasks.

Having grown up on the White City estate in the shadow of BBC Television Centre in west London, and working for the corporation as a messenger, Mr George went on to hang around its offices, keeping notes of telephone numbers and picking up copies of the staff magazine, Ariel, the prosecution said.

Barry George
Mr George suffers from epilepsy and admits to a personality disorder

On one occasion he even expressed a dislike for the BBC because of the way he thought it had treated his so-called "cousin", Freddy Mercury, during his fatal illness.

Mr George was not only fascinated by celebrity. He was also obsessed with weapons, military techniques and tactics, the jury was told.

He joined the Territorial Army in 1981, serving 29 voluntary training days, but did not complete his basic training.

He was also a probationary member of Kensington and Chelsea Pistol Club, although the club rejected his application for full membership a month after he began attending.

The court heard that police found in his flat a large number of books, magazines and cards relating to guns, weapons and the military.

Attempted rape

In addition to his love of celebrities and guns, Mr George - who lived for two years with his Japanese wife until the relationship broke down - had a third obsession, the court heard.

He spent much of his time watching, following and photographing single women in the area where he lived. He often recorded the routes to their homes and the cars they drove.

In the 1980s, his stalking turned more sinister when he assaulted a woman living in his tower-block and was jailed for attempted rape. Another neighbour was also assaulted by him.

But, as the defence insisted, none of this proved he was a murderer.

One psychologist said he craved attention more than anything, especially from women.

Mr George's defence team argued that a man of his mental capacity simply could not have carried out the killing of Miss Dando. A jury has concurred.

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