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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Dando suspect 'shocked' at killing
Barry George
Barry George denies murdering Jill Dando
The man accused of murdering television presenter Jill Dando told police he was shocked at her death but had no information about it, a court heard on Monday.

Barry George, who denies killing Ms Dando, was interviewed about the fatal shooting by detectives on 11 April last year, the Old Bailey jury was told on the 11th day of the trial.

Detective Constable John Gallagher told the court he was asked to interview Mr George, 41, of Crookham Road, Fulham, to eliminate him from the murder inquiry.

Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando was shot dead on the doorstep of her house in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, on 26 April, 1999.


I didn't go anywhere near Miss Dando's house on the day of her murder and I have no information which can help police

Barry George's statement to police
Mr Gallagher told the court that Mr George had given his witness statement at his mother's house in East Acton, London, as he said his flat was "too messy".

A statement taken from Mr George was read to the court by Mr Gallagher.

In his statement, he told police: "I didn't go anywhere near Miss Dando's house on the day of her murder and I have no information which can help police.

"I can only add that I was shocked when I heard of her death."

He said he had never met Ms Dando and did not know where she lived until he saw news reports about her killing, the court heard.

Mr George said he had never tried to contact the BBC presenter and had never owned any guns.

Miss Dando
Miss Dando was found dead on her doorstep
Mr Gallagher told the court he had visited Mr George's home six times before tracing him and had left a note asking him to contact police.

Mr George told police about his activities on the day Miss Dando was shot.

He was at home all morning before visiting a Hammersmith and Fulham disability group at lunchtime, he said.

He heard taxi drivers talking about "an incident" when he went to a taxi cab office but did not know about Miss Dando's death until he saw a news report, he said in his statement.

Six days later, on 17 April, a specialist search team was sent to his flat, some 500 yards from where Miss Dando lived, the jury heard.

Search warrant

Detective Constable Charles Isaacs said a search warrant allowed them to look for clothing, documents and firearms and said the team had broken into the flat because there was no answer from inside.

Describing the scene they faced inside, he said: "It was very untidy, in my opinion disorganised and in some respects unhygienic."

Police seized several items during the search, including clothing, mobile phones, part of a gun holster and a book listing types of guns, the court heard.

When officers went back to search the flat again on 11 May last year, Mr George refused to let them in at first and asked why they had come back, the jury was told.

Military interest

"I have never handled weapons except when I was in the Territorial Army," Mr George told the police, adding that he had only used guns under supervision, the court heard.

Mr George was arrested on 25 May 2000 and another search of his home began.

The flat was virtually stripped, with all the papers, documents and clothing packed up to be examined, Mr Isaacs said.

A "deep search" then began, with officers lifting floorboards, examining all the fixtures and fittings and even drilling behind new plaster walls to discover if there was anything hidden behind them.

More clothing was seized, the jury heard, including a T-shirt and jumper bearing the SAS regimental emblem, several yellow T-shirts and a coat, which was tested for firearm discharge residues.

The trial continues.

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The BBC's Danny Shaw
"Mr George's flat in Fulham was searched three times"
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