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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Dando police 'ruled out Serb hitman'
Barry George
Barry George denies murdering Jill Dando
The detective leading the Jill Dando murder inquiry has rejected suggestions that she may have been assassinated by a Yugoslavian hitman.

Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell was continuing to give evidence on Friday in the trial of Barry George, who is accused of killing the BBC television presenter.

Miss Dando had made a television appeal on behalf of Kosovan refugees on 6 April 1999, just three weeks before she was gunned down on the doorstep of her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, west London, on 26 April.

Michael Mansfield QC, defending, told the Old Bailey there was evidence to suggest the shooting had been carried out by a Yugoslavian assassin in retaliation for the Nato bombing of a Belgrade television station.


To suggest the murder is driven by Serbia or state-sponsored terrorists is not going to stand up, in my professional opinion

DCI Hamish Campbell
An intelligence report received at the National Intelligence Crime Service and passed to detectives, suggesting that Serbian warlord Arkan had ordered Miss Dando's execution, was read out in court.

It stated: "Jill Dando was the subject of an execution by a Yugoslavian hitman.

"Intelligence sources suggest that as a result of the bombing of a TV station run by the daughters of Milosevic, a contract was put out on John Birt.

"As a result of this the target was changed to Jill Dando.

"The hit was ordered by Arkan, the leader of the Tigers.

"The gunman was a Yugoslavian who arrived in the UK from Germany via France. He used the ferry because flying was considered too dangerous."

Miss Dando
Miss Dando was found dead on her doorstep
But Mr Campbell told the Old Bailey: "To suggest the murder is driven by Serbia or state-sponsored terrorists is not going to stand up, in my professional opinion."

Mr Mansfield said a series of telephone calls had been made to the BBC in the days following Miss Dando's murder.

One call had been made to Television Centre in London at 11.09BST on 27 April - the day after Ms Dando's death - by a man with a foreign accent, the court was told.

Threat

The caller said the UK Government, and "in particular your Prime Minister Blair, murdered and butchered 17 innocent, young people who worked like make-up artists, electricians and technological engineers".

"These type of people he butchered. We butcher back. The first you had yesterday."

The caller said the next person to be targeted would by Tony Hall, who at the time was the BBC's head of current affairs and news.

Another call was registered from the same number at 19.51BST on the same day.

On 28 April at 12.51BST another call was received by BBC Belfast.

The caller said: "You at the BBC are the voice of your government, that's why your reporter is dead - because your government killed 17 innocent people only with the purpose to make a point.

"Now you have one and your station will be next."

'No acknowledgement'

Mr George, 41, of Crookham Road, Fulham, denies murdering Ms Dando.

Orlando Pownall QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Campbell in re-examination what factors had been taken into account by the police when discounting a link with Serbia.

Mr Campbell said one had been the lack of any public acknowledgement for the shooting.

"It would not be left for us to guess why she had been killed," he said.

The prosecution later finished presenting its evidence, and the trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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