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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Dando fibre 'matched' with accused
Barry George
Barry George denies murdering Jill Dando
A single fibre found on Jill Dando's coat after her murder matched fibres found on trousers belonging to her alleged killer, the Old Bailey has heard.

Forensic scientist Dr Geoffrey Roe said the blue-grey polyester fibre was found on the beige raincoat Miss Dando was wearing when she died.

Miss Dando
Miss Dando was found dead on her doorstep
But at just half a millimetre long it was too short to extract the dye and split it into its component colours for more precise comparison, he said.

Dr Roe added that the fibre was common and gave only "weak" support to the theory that it came from trousers taken from the home of Barry George, who is accused of her murder.

The fibre could have been left on her coat from direct contact or from a secondary or even tertiary source, and could have been on it for several days before the killing, Dr Roe said.

He said no other fibres found on Miss Dando's clothing had matched anything seized from Mr George's home.

And hairs found in her front garden did not match a sample from Mr George, the court heard.

No DNA match

Blood analysis of stains found on some of Mr George's clothes had not found a match with Miss Dando's DNA, he added.

Miss Dando was shot through the head on the doorstep of her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, south-west London, on 26 April, 1999.

Forensics expert Dr John Birkett told the court he could not match a shoe print found on the doorstep to any of Mr George's shoes.

Firearms expert David Pryor told the jury that the sound of the shot would have been muffled as the muzzle of the pistol had been "in intimate contact" with Miss Dando's head, above her left ear.

'Crouching killer'

She had been "at a very low level at the time when she was shot" and her killer would have been bending or crouching, he added.

Asked if the wound to Miss Dando's head and the damage to her door were consistent with her having been forced to lie across her porch, Mr Pryor said he could not rule it out.

Mr Pryor added that pistols normally contained rifling marks inside the barrel to help guide bullets.

"The absence of rifling marks on the bullet casing found in Miss Dando's doorway suggested it was fired from a deactivated pistol that had been reactivated, a blank firing gun that had been converted, or a type of 24-inch handgun manufactured a few years ago with a long smooth barrel instead of a shorter rifled barrel," he said.

Muzzle marks

Asked if a converted blank firing Brunni - one of the replica and blank firing guns on a price list allegedly made by Mr George - could have fired the bullet, Mr Pryor replied: "I do know of examples of such a conversion but they're uncommon."

But the Italian gun would have needed a new barrel before it could fire live ammunition, he added.

Asked if it could have caused the muzzle marks seen on Miss Dando's head, Mr Pryor answered: "It's possible."

He added that a scratched gun holster seized from Mr George's flat was big enough to hold a converted Brunni pistol.

Made by Remington in the United States, the 9mm "short" bullet could have been one of "a relatively small amount" officially imported into Britain by Hull Cartridge Company in the past decade, Mr Pryor said.

Military ammunition

But indentations, possibly made by a sharpened nail, had secured the bullet to the casing - a method used by former Eastern-bloc manufacturers of military ammunition.

Similar ammunition had been used in just 83 of several thousand unsolved gun crimes in the past 28 years, he concluded.

Mr George, 41, of Crookham Road, Fulham, west London, denies murdering the BBC television presenter.

Miss Dando's fiancé, Alan Farthing, was in court on Thursday to hear the evidence.

The trial was adjourned until 1000BST on Friday.

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