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EDITIONS
Monday, 2 July, 2001, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Hamish Campbell: High-flying Dando cop
Hamish Campbell
DCI Hamish Campbell at the Dando murder scene
The Jill Dando murder inquiry was conducted in the glare of publicity, thrusting Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell, the man in charge of finding the TV star's killer, to centre stage.

When Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell began his investigation into the fatal shooting of Crimewatch UK presenter Jill Dando, he unwittingly became the ringmaster of a media circus.

A reporter outside West London Magistrates Court
The media followed the murder hunt closely
The murder of the BBC's "golden girl" presenter in a quiet London street, followed by appeals for information by Ms Dando's pop star friend Sir Cliff Richard, won endless newspaper column inches.

With speculation about the killer and his motive rife - including suggestions Ms Dando was the victim of an underworld hit or a reprisal for Nato's bombing of Serbia - Mr Campbell came under intense pressure to explain his methods.

"We can't conduct the investigation in the public forum, as tempting as that might be," he said following withering criticism from newspaper columnist and former deputy chief constable John Stalker that the murder hunt had been bungled.

Face the press

"It's disappointing to hear and read comments from others who for all the proper reasons are not in possession of all the information and all the facts that I have," said Mr Campbell.

His frustration with the newspapers was said to have been compounded by some editors assigning "showbiz" reporters, rather than seasoned crime correspondents, to cover the inquiry.

A police officer involved in the Dando inquiry
The Dando case prompted much public interest
A veteran of the Metropolitan Police's criminal intelligence and anti-terrorist branches who joined the force in 1974, Mr Campbell has often been described as one of Scotland Yard's brightest stars.

The high-flyer, who was promoted to Senior Investigating Officer just months before the Dando killing (and is now awaiting a superintendent posting), was clearly stung by suggestions he was not trying hard enough to apprehend the culprit.

Slow, but steady

A month after Ms Dando's death, another senior police officer was brought in to oversee Mr Campbell's efforts - a standard procedure introduced in the wake of the Met's poor handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder hunt.

In a characteristically frank TV interview for Tonight With Trevor McDonald in July 1999, Mr Campbell said he was confident of making an arrest and warned any of his detectives to quit the investigation if they thought otherwise.

Crimewatch's Jill Dando and Nick Ross
Crimewatch aided Hamish Campbell in other cases
Such blunt determination was also displayed when Mr Campbell appealed for help in solving the 1997 murder of 12-year-old Macedonian girl Katerina Koneva in west London.

He said: "There is something galling about the fact that a man can walk in off the street into a private house, strangle a girl, be seen by 46 people and then escape and we are still unable to identify him."

It was during the course of this investigation, that Mr Campbell himself turned to Jill Dando's Crimewatch programme for help in finding the culprit.

Katerina's killer is still at large.



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