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EDITIONS
Friday, 18 May, 2001, 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK
Dando suspect 'obsessed with guns'
Barry George
Barry George denies murdering Jill Dando
A witness has told the jury in the Jill Dando murder trial that the alleged killer of the TV presenter once owned two guns.

David Dobbins, who said he was once a friend of the defendant, Barry George, claimed the alleged killer fired a handgun into his hallway while visiting.

He was very interested in guns. He would talk about guns all the time

Susan Coombe, trial witness

"I was at my front door. I opened it. He came in and let it off. It was a surprise for me," Mr Dobbins told the Old Bailey on Friday.

Mr Dobbins was giving evidence on the 10th day of the trial of Mr George, who denies murdering the TV presenter on 26 April, 1999.

She was shot through the head on the doorstep of her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, west London.

The court also heard that Mr George did 29 days training with the Territorial Army between December 1981 and November 1982.

Former Sergeant Major Leslie Lindsay, who was a TA store keeper, told the court that Mr George would have been involved in stripping and assembling self-loading rifles and machine guns.

'Military stash'

Mr Dobbins said he had also seen military equipment, including a pistol and imitation sub-machine gun, in Barry George's room when they shared bed and breakfast accommodation in the 1980s.

Mr Dobbins, who was 13 when they were at the same B&B hotel in 1985, said George had been protective about his room.
Miss Dando
Miss Dando was found dead on her doorstep

He said he had also seen military equipment, combat clothing, webbing, a gas mask and knives in Mr George's room.

The former friend said he knew the defendant by the name of Thomas Palmer.

The prosecution alleges that at one stage Mr George called himself by that name after one of the SAS soldiers involved in the Iranian Embassy siege.

Gun incident

Mr Dobbins said he was living in a basement flat with his family when Mr George, who also goes by the name of Barry Bulsara, fired the gun in the hallway.

He had opened the door and Mr George pushed his way in holding the firearm in his right hand.

He said that Mr George's gun had blanks in it, but the defendant also showed him a box of live ammunition.

"He was trying to frighten us - playing some sort of prank. It was pretty scary.
Miss Dando's former house
The death scene at Miss Dando's house

"He was very possessive and would not let us touch it," Mr Dobbins told the court.

Susan Coombe, who was at the same hotel at the time Mr George had stayed, remembered him showing two guns to residents in the lounge.

Ms Coombe said: "He said he was with the SAS. He showed us a card with a picture of him in a beige beret with a handgun and SAS emblem of a dagger and two wings.

"He did not like people in his room. He was very interested in guns. He would talk about guns all the time."

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
reports from the Old Bailey
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