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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Dando murder trial begins
Barry George
Barry George denies murdering Jill Dando
Television presenter Jill Dando was shot once through the head at close range as she crouched outside the front door of her London home, a court has heard.

Details of the shooting were presented at the Old Bailey on Friday morning by prosecuting counsel Orlando Pownall at the start of the trial of Barry Michael George, who is accused of her murder.

Gowan Avenue
Ms Dando was killed on her doorstep
Mr George, 41, of Fulham, south west London, denies murdering 37-year-old Miss Dando outside her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham on 26 April 1999.

The jury of seven women and five men heard that the fatal bullet went into Miss Dando's head just behind the top of her left ear and exited about her right ear.

"Nobody witnessed the attack. Within a short time a number of people saw her slumped and bleeding in the porchway," said Mr Pownall as he opened the case.

The court was told that police and emergency services were called but attempts to resuscitate the star failed and she was declared dead at London's Charing Cross hospital later on the same day.

The gun, which was not fitted with a silencer, has never been recovered, the jury was told.

Epilepsy

Mr George was led into court wearing a blue grey-trimmed jumper, a pink shirt and an orange, black and blue tie.

Before the case opened Mr Justice Gage told the jury that Mr George would be accompanied by a helper as he was prone to bouts of epilepsy.

Mr Pownall said a number of different guns could have produced the wound.

He said: "An impression of the muzzle and foresight of the weapon used was discernible in the area surrounding the entry wound which suggested it had been pressed firmly against the left side of her head upon discharge."

The court was also told that the bullet, which was recovered in the vicinity of the doorstep, had caused damage to the lower part of Miss Dando's font door suggesting she had been in a crouching position when the shot was fired."

In court, for the first day of the trial which is expected to last eight weeks, was Miss Dando's former fiance, Alan Farthing, her brother Nigel, her former co-presenter on the BBC's Crimewatch programme, Nick Ross and Mr George's sister, Michelle Duskin.

Mr Pownall said Miss Dando was a popular woman who was easy to work with and had none of the pretensions that are sometimes associated with those who achieve fame.

He told the court that on occasions she had received negative correspondence from obsessive fans but there was no reason to suppose any of these people were responsible for her death.

He also said there was no evidence to suggest her killing was in retaliation for an appeal recorded by Miss Dando for the Kosovan crisis in April 1999.

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