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Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK


Dando letter 'no threat'

The killing has shocked Ms Dando's neighbours in Fulham, west London

Scotland Yard says a letter sent to murdered BBC TV presenter Jill Dando about the Kosovo crisis did not contain any specific death threats.

The BBC's Jane Peel: "The police are not ruling anything out"
The Metropolitan Police said: "Police have been made aware that an employee of Jill Dando's agent opened a letter addressed to her about two weeks ago, which was rambling and badly scribed about the Kosovo situation.

"No threat whatsoever was made to Jill Dando in this letter and the employee threw it away."

The BBC's crime correspondent Stephen Cape discusses the threats with presenter John Humphrys
The police issued the statement following the screening of an ITV programme, Tonight with Trevor McDonald, which suggested the letter may explain the motive behind Ms Dando's murder on Monday.

The popular presenter of programmes such as Crimewatch UK and Holiday was shot in the head outside her home in Fulham, west London as she arrived back from a shopping trip.

No-one has claimed responsibility and Ms Dando's fiancé, Alan Farthing, says he is baffled why anyone should want to kill her.

[ image: The couple were due to marry in September]
The couple were due to marry in September
The Tonight programme said Ms Dando's office was contacted "by a person or persons purporting to be Serb saying that Jill should never have made" a film making an appeal on behalf of Kosovo refugees.

Ms Dando's agent, Jon Roseman, said: "Jill Dando received a lot of mail. This was sent to the BBC and passed to this office.

Jill Dando 1961 - 1999
"Among the letters there was a letter from an anonymous source which levelled criticism at the Kosovan nation.

"There was no threat against Jill Dando's life. The police were informed of this at a very early stage in the inquiry."

'We did not read her letters'

A BBC spokesman said Ms Dando's letters were passed unopened to her agent's office.

[ image:  ]
He said: "What is important to us and the police are salient facts and anyone who has information should talk to the police."

Ms Dando was killed with a single shot in the head at very close range with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.

The execution-style manner of the shooting prompted speculation that she might have been the victim of a professional hitman.

Police have not ruled out a political motive. They say they will also examine files on Crimewatch UK cases in case the "hit" was ordered by someone jailed as a result of evidence secured by the programme.

[ image: Tony Hall: Under police protection]
Tony Hall: Under police protection
On Tuesday an anonymous caller to the BBC threatened the corporation's head of news, Tony Hall, after mentioning coverage of the Kosovo conflict.

Mr Hall was offered police protection as a result of the call, which purportedly came from a Serbian extremist.

Meanwhile security at the BBC's four main buildings in London has been tightened in the wake of Ms Dando's death.

Reports in some of Friday's newspapers claimed threats had also been made to Radio 4 presenter John Humphreys and BBC ONE controller Alan Yentob.

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