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Monday, 29 July, 2002, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Dando killer's appeal rejected
Barry George
George shot Miss Dando with a single bullet
Judges at the Court of Appeal have turned down Barry George's appeal against his murder conviction for the shooting of Jill Dando.

They ruled on Monday that George, 42, did shoot the television presenter through the head with a single bullet on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, west London, on 26 April 1999.

His lawyers had tried to prove that evidence at the original trial was inadmissible and the identification of George was flawed.


We have no doubt as to the correctness of the conviction

Lord Chief Justice Woolf
But appeal judges upheld the findings of the murder trial jury and rejected George's claim that he had nothing to do with the violent death of the popular presenter.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, reading from a 60-page written judgment, said: "The important thing in this case is the evidence as a whole.

"Looking at the evidence as a whole we have no doubt as to the correctness of the conviction."

Appeal claims

In court to hear the judgement, George shook his head when he was told he would have to go back to jail to resume serving a life sentence.

Afterwards, he issued a statement claiming he was innocent.

"I did not murder Jill Dando and I believe that one day the truth will come out, and I only hope and pray that this happens in my lifetime," he said.

His lawyers had tried to prove that George's coat - on which was found a speck of firearms residue linking him to the murder scene - was contaminated by police.

And they argued there was no fingerprint, footprint or DNA evidence proving he was the killer.

They raised objections to the way the trial was conducted, in particular the way the jury reached its decisions and the way the case was handled by judge Mr Justice Gage.

Miss Dando
Miss Dando was found dead on her doorstep

But the appeal judges, Lord Woolf, Mr Justice Curtis and Mr Justice Henriques, ruled the original trial was handled correctly and there was compelling evidence to convict him.

George, who lived just half a mile from Miss Dando's home, was uncovered by routine police inquiries.

He had an obsession with guns, celebrities and the BBC, for which he had worked as a messenger in 1976.

He had learned about weapons after enlisting in the Territorial Army, and had also spent time at a local pistol club.

Sex conviction

He was a convicted sex offender and had a history of psychological problems.

When he was 22 he was convicted of attempting to rape a language student.

And he was once arrested in combat gear outside the London home of the Princess of Wales.

He had gone under several different names including that of Barry Bulsara, taken from the original surname of the late Queen singer Freddy Mercury.

When police searched his flat, they found copies of the BBC's in-house newspaper, Ariel, published after Miss Dando's murder, and featuring her picture on the front page.

Yet he had denied knowing of Miss Dando.

Detective Superintendent Hamish Campbell, who led the investigation into Miss Dando's murder, described George as a "seriously dysfunctional, disturbed" individual.

He denied defence claims that the evidence against him was "flimsy".

"There were five identity witnesses. Linked to that a whole number of factors that showed Barry George was in that street on that day and that he murdered Miss Dando," he told BBC News.

Alison Saunders of the Crown Prosecution Service said they had always believed that the evidence against George was "compelling".

'Miscarriage of justice'

George was sentenced to life imprisonment last July.

His mother and sister were at the Court of Appeal to hear the judgement.

They thanked family and friends for their "love and support" and their "allies" at the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation.

George's sister Michelle Diskin said they would "continue to fight for justice for Barry".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Nicholas Witchell reports
"More than anything else it's the evidence of the eyewitnesses which is at the heart of this case"


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