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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
Dando jury shown defendant's home
Barry George
Barry George denies murdering Jill Dando
The jury in the Jill Dando murder trial has been taken on a video tour of the home of her alleged killer.

The Old Bailey courtroom fell silent on the 11th day of the trial as the seven-minute film was shown.

Barry George, who denies killing Ms Dando, appeared to be watching intently.

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

On 17 April last year, a specialist search team was sent to Mr George's flat in Crookham Road, some 500 yards from where Miss Dando lived, the jury heard.

Search warrant

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

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

Miss Dando
Jill Dando was found dead on her doorstep
"There were lots of bin bags containing items stacked on top of each other in the hallway, in fact in all the rooms.

"There were newspapers, bin bags and debris everywhere - we couldn't even see the floor.

"We actually found his double bed underneath the material, which we didn't even know was there until we removed many items."

The search was filmed because conditions in the flat were so "unusual" that it was felt the video would be a useful training aid for search teams, Mr Isaacs added.

The video showed bin bags, newspapers and cardboard boxes lining the walls of the one-bedroom flat, some stacked three or four high and others leaking debris.

The floor was barely visible because of the volume of plastic bags, soft drink cans and other containers littering it.

Gun holster

Some officers appeared to be having difficulties moving around the rooms because of the debris, which was also spread over kitchen surfaces and even in the bathroom sink.

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.

"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.

"He said, 'I still have a healthy interest in the military as you can see,' and indicated his combat jacket lying on his bed," Mr Isaacs told the jury.

'Deep search'

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.

Detective Constable John Gallagher told the court he was first asked to interview Mr George, 41, on 11 April last year to eliminate him from the murder inquiry.

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".

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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