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2001: Dando killer jailed for life

After an eight week trial Barry George has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of television presenter Jill Dando.

George, 41, was found guilty of shooting Miss Dando through the head with a single bullet on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, west London, on 26 April 1999.

The jury deliberated for 32 hours before giving their majority verdict at 1613 BST (1513 GMT) at the Old Bailey in London.

Summing up, Mr Justice Gage said: "You are unpredictable and dangerous. There can be no doubt that it was premeditated. Why you did it will never be known."

Much of the evidence that guided the jury of six women and five men was circumstantial, supported by witness accounts.

Why you did it will never be known<br>
Mr Justice Gage <br>

Forensic officers also found a single particle from the gun used to kill Miss Dando in George's pocket and a fibre from his trousers was found at the crime scene. Police were so overwhelmed by the response to the killing that they did not follow leads about George for almost a year.

An unemployed loner, he maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

Outside the court afterwards his solicitor, Marilyn Etienne, said her client was "devastated" and announced that there would be an appeal.

The court was told about George's psychological problems and fascination with guns and celebrities.

During their investigation - Operation Oxborough - police found thousands of undeveloped photographs of local and famous women in George's flat on Crookham Road, Fulham. Among these were copies of the BBC in-house magazine - Ariel- with Miss Dando's face on the cover after her murder.

After the trial it emerged that George has served two years for attempted rape and that in 1983 he was arrested - then released without charge - outside Kensington Palace in combat clothing carrying a knife and some rope.

Defending barrister, Michael Mansfield, QC, has 28 days to lodge an appeal against today's sentence.

In Context
Controversy surrounded the conviction of Barry George in a crime without motive, murder weapon or eyewitness. <br>

His conviction was judged unsafe by the Court of Appeal and was quashed on 15 November 2007 and he was granted a retrial in June 2008. <br>

On 1 August 2008 Mr George was found not guilty of murder and set free. <br>

Mr George, a loner and epileptic who suffers from mental illness, has consistently insisted he did not murder Ms Dando. <br>

The two-year investigation into the murder had been the biggest of its kind for the Metropolitan Police which employed a murder squad of 45 and questioned 5,000 people.<br>

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Barry George
Barry George faces life behind bars

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