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EDITIONS
Friday, 11 May, 2001, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Friend tells of finding Dando's body
Jill Dando
The two had been neighbours for about four months
A friend of Jill Dando has told how she found her lifeless body outside the television presenter's London home.

Helen Doble was close to tears as she told the Old Bailey of her horror at discovering Miss Dando who had been shot through the head outside her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham.

Miss Doble was giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial of Barry George, 41, unemployed, of Crookham Road, Fulham, who has denied murdering Miss Dando on 26 April 1999.

She had noticed the television presenter's car outside her home and thought it unusual.


It took me a few seconds to realise it was Jill because of the way she looked.

Helen Doble
Miss Doble said she looked across the road, expecting to see Miss Dando and have a chat, but noticed her lying prone.

She said: "It was just incredible that with one step everything changes.

"I was going about my business, anticipating seeing Jill being at home.

'Violent scene'

"To suddenly encounter such a violent scene was completely horrific.

"It took me a few seconds to realise it was Jill because of the way she looked.

"It was clear to me she was dead," she said.

She said she dialled 999 on her mobile phone and then ran to another friend's house further up the street for help.

"It was broad daylight in a normal street," said Miss Doble, who added that the street was deserted.

Miss Doble, who also worked in television, said she had known Miss Dando since the presenter had moved to Fulham.

Neighbour heard scream

Earlier a former next door neighbour of Miss Dando told the jury he had heard a woman scream that morning.

Richard Hughes heard the scream just after Miss Dando's car had drawn up outside her home.

Miss Dando's former house
Miss Dando lived at number 29, Mr Hughes at 31

"I thought it was someone surprising somebody," he said.

He heard the sound of a car alarm locking system from his bedroom, then a scream a few seconds later.

Mr Hughes looked out of the window to see a man walking briskly down the road.

He described him as between 30 and 40, about average height, thick set with dark thick collar-length hair in a mop, with no facial hair.

"I thought he had a mobile phone in his right hand. He was wearing a dark waxed coat."

But the court heard Mr Hughes was unable to pick the man out at a police identity parade more than a year after the shooting.

He said: "My recollection of him had faded."

Mr Hughes told the court he was only aware that something significant had happened when he heard women talking outside.

"I went out and saw three women. They asked if that was Jill Dando. I looked over the short wall at the front of my home and said 'Yes'."

The trial has been adjourned until Monday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Helen Doble told the court that she had been a friend of Miss Dando"
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"The woman who found Jill Dando's body... described... how it had taken her some seconds to recognise it was Jill"
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