Page last updated at 07:19 GMT, Sunday, 3 August 2008 08:19 UK

Stalking made me suspect - George

Barry George leaving court on 1 August 2008
Barry George had a history of pestering women

The man cleared of murdering BBC TV presenter Jill Dando has said his past behaviour of pestering women fuelled police suspicions about him.

And Barry George, 48, told the News of the World he could not have killed Miss Dando because he was following another woman at the time.

But in another interview with the Sunday Mirror, he said he was a changed man and would no longer follow women.

Mr George has consistently denied shooting Miss Dando in 1999.

He was acquitted by an Old Bailey jury on Friday after a retrial.

On his past stalking, Mr George told the News of the World: "I know I have done wrong in the past and if I could go back in time and change that I would."

I want them to say: 'There's Barry George, he didn't kill Jill Dando'
Barry George

During police surveillance in the three weeks before his arrest in May 2000, Mr George was seen approaching 38 women near his home in Fulham, London, and trying to make conversation with them.

Officers later found 2,248 photographs he had taken of women he had followed.

But his defence argued he was not capable of carrying out what could be seen as the "perfect crime" that required "meticulous" planning.

Mr George told the Sunday Mirror that eight years in prison had reformed his character.

"I don't want to spend any more time in any of Her Majesty's holiday camps.

"I won't follow women anymore. I know it's wrong.

"I will be vigilant from now on. I am never going to give anyone the chance to send me away again. I have changed."

He added he hoped his life could return to normal.

"I don't want people to always say: 'There's Barry George, he killed Jill Dando'," he said.

I don't think they'll ever find who done it
Barry George
"I want them to say: 'There's Barry George, he didn't kill Jill Dando'."

Speaking to Sky News, Mr George said he was prepared to take a lie detector test to prove he did not kill Ms Dando.

"I will maintain that I will look anyone in the eye and state I have not killed Jill Dando," he said.

However, he added he did not believe police would ever catch her killer.

"To be quite honest and practical, I don't think they'll ever find who done it."

Mr George also expressed sympathy for Miss Dando's family, saying: "I can't begin to understand or feel what they must be going through."

Police blamed

Forensic evidence about the tiny speck of gunshot residue found on Mr George's coat helped secure his original conviction in 2001.

The prosecution said this proved that he had fired the fatal shot.

But in 2007, the Court of Appeal ruled scientific doubts over the origin of the residue meant the conviction had to be quashed. The evidence was not used at the retrial.

Mr George told the Sunday Mirror he believed the residue came from armed police entering his flat - but in response, Scotland Yard said no such officers were involved in searches at the address.

"They're responsible for the gunpowder," Mr George told the Sunday Mirror.

"I've got pictures of police going in my flat with guns - that's how it got there."

Scotland Yard said it was not aware of any complaint about officers' conduct but would investigate should one be made.

A spokesman said: "At the first trial it was suggested that armed officers were at the address, [but] there was no authorisation for armed officers, there was no record of armed officers attending and we strongly refute the suggestion that armed officers were present."


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