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EDITIONS
Monday, 2 July, 2001, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Killer plans appeal
Barry George
Barry George: Said to be devastated by the verdict
Barry George's family greeted the guilty verdict with defiance, saying the unemployed loner was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

George's sister Michelle Diskin, who sat just a few feet in front of Miss Dando's friends and relatives in court, bowed her head as she heard her brother sentenced to life.

Michelle Diskin
Michelle Diskin: Justice not done
She insisted the wrong man had been convicted of killing TV golden girl Miss Dando, who was 37.

"Barry George is innocent. Barry was charged with a terrible crime but he was never responsible for it," she said in a statement.

"Justice has not been seen today," she added.

Marilyn Etienne, from George's defence team, said there would be an appeal against the conviction.

She told reporters outside the Old Bailey that George was "understandably devastated" by the jury's verdict.

'No evidence'

A campaigner from the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation, launched earlier this year by Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six, said he was "stunned" by George's conviction.

"I believe this is one of the worst miscarriages of justice we have ever seen," said spokesman John McManus.

"The concepts of 'beyond reasonable doubt' and 'presumed innocent' have gone out of the window in British courts.

"From what I can see there was no evidence against him."

He added: "Barry George now faces an uphill struggle to prove his innocence because the Appeal Court, unlike the court which convicted him, will not accept circumstantial evidence."

'Prejudice'

George's lawyer, Michael Mansfield QC, fought at every stage to have the case thrown out.

During the trial he said there was no proper evidence against his client, and there was substantial prejudice against him which would prevent him getting a fair trial.

Mr Mansfield was also sharply critical of sections of the press over their treatment of his client after he was arrested, and thought photographs and reports describing George as a loner and weirdo were prejudicial.

The barrister, whose tireless efforts in the Stephen Lawrence inquiry helped change police attitudes to race relations, questioned the police's handling of the case.

He said there had been failures and delays in the investigation.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Defence solicitor Marilyn Etienne
"Preparations are being put in hand immediately for an appeal"
Brian Cathcart, author of a book about the trial
"I'm very surprised by the outcome"


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