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A.K.A.: "Barry Bulsara"
Classification: Murderer?
Characteristics: Stalker - Indecent assaults
Number of victims: 1 ?
Date of murder: April 26, 1999
Date of arrest: May 25, 2000
Date of birth: April 15, 1960
Victim profile: Jill Wendy Dando, 37 (British television presenter)
Método de matar: Arma de fuego (9mm automatic pistol)
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment July 2, 2001. Overturned on appeal in November 2007. Acquitted on August 1, 2008

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Barry George (born 15 April 1960, also known as Barry Bulsara) was convicted on 2 July 2001 of the murder of British television presenter Jill Dando. His conviction was judged unsafe by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and was quashed on 15 November 2007. His retrial began on 9 June 2008, and George was acquitted on 1 August 2008.

Early life

Barry George was born in Hammersmith, London. His parents divorced when he was 13. At 14, he attended the publicly-funded Heathermount boarding school in Sunningdale, Berkshire, for children with emotional or behavioural difficulties.

After leaving school without qualifications his only employment was as a messenger with the BBC for four months in 1977. His interest in the BBC endured until his arrest; he was a regular reader of the in-house magazine Ariel, and had reportedly kept four copies of the memorial issue which featured Jill Dando's murder.

George has exhibited an interest in celebrities, including Diana, Princess of Wales; and Prince Charles. He adopted several pseudonyms, starting at school, where he used the name Paul Gadd, the real name of singer Gary Glitter.

Previous criminal convictions and investigations

In 1980, after a failed attempt to join the Metropolitan Police, George posed as a policeman, having obtained false warrant cards. For this he was arrested and prosecuted. He appeared in court clad in glam rock clothing and untruthfully stated his name to be Paul Gadd, a revival of his Gary Glitter fixation and the name under which he was charged. At Kingston Magistrate's Court he was fined £25.

In the same year, George was charged and acquitted of indecent assault, but shortly afterwards he was convicted on a similar charge for which he received a suspended three-month sentence.

In 1983 George was convicted at the Old Bailey under the pseudonym of 'Steve Majors' for the attempted rape of a woman in his apartment block and served 23 months of a 33 month sentence. Shortly before this, as was revealed after his arrest for the Dando murder, George had been found attempting to break into Kensington Palace, at that time the home of Diana, Princess of Wales. He had been discovered on one occasion hiding in the grounds wearing a balaclava and carrying a knife, and in possession of a poem he had written to Prince Charles.

In May 1989 George married a Japanese student, Itsuko Toide, in what Ms Toide described as a marriage "of convenience – but nonetheless violent and terrifying." After four months she reported an assault to the police; George was charged, but the case was dropped before coming to court, and the marriage ended.

A psychologist studying Barry George since his arrest for the Dando murder concluded that he was suffering from several different personality disorders, stating that he has an IQ of 75 and suffers from epilepsy.

Overturned conviction for murder of Jill Dando

Jill Dando was shot dead outside her home on 26 April 1999. Barry George was convicted of her murder on 2 July 2001, a verdict considered unsafe by some observers at the time. This verdict was overturned on appeal in November 2007.


In 2002, the Court of Appeal's judgment on the appeal, having addressed a number of grounds including eyewitness testimony, scientific evidence, and the role of the trial judge, concluded that the verdict of the jury was not unsafe and that appeal was dismissed.

In March 2006, Barry George's lawyers sought an appeal on fresh evidence based on medical examinations suggesting he was not capable of committing the crime because of his mental disabilities. A second defence argument was that two new witnesses say they saw armed police at the scene when George was arrested, contrary to official reports about the circumstances of his arrest — the Metropolitan Police maintain there were no armed officers present during the arrest of George. There was scientific evidence linking Barry George to the murder in the form of a single microscopic particle of what was said to have been gunshot residue, together with evidence as to the character of a fibre found on his clothing. It was argued by the defence that the presence of armed officers and their involvement in his arrest might have been responsible for the gunshot residue.

In September 2006, following investigations by George's campaigners and a Panorama documentary about the conviction, first broadcast in the UK on 5 September 2006 and which included an interview with the foreman of the trial jury, fresh evidence was submitted to the Criminal Cases Review Commission by the programme-makers and by Barry George's solicitor. The evidence concerned scientific analysis of the alleged gunshot residue, eyewitness evidence, and psychiatric reports. The programme revealed that the FBI had stopped using gunshot residue as evidence because it was extremely unreliable. Since then, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to use gunshot residue as evidence in new cases in the UK.

On 20 June 2007, the Criminal Cases Review Commission announced that it would refer George's case to the Court of Appeal. On 22 August 2007, George was refused bail prior to the hearing, which subsequently began on 5 November 2007.

One of the defence team's main grounds of appeal was that the single particle of gunshot residue in the coat pocket was not evidence which conclusively linked George to the crime scene; it could have appeared as a result of contamination of the coat when it was placed on a mannequin to be photographed as police evidence.

On 7 November 2007 the Court of Appeal reserved judgement in the case and on 15 November 2007 announced that the appeal was allowed and the conviction quashed.

In summary, the reasoning of the Court was that at the trial the prosecution had relied primarily on four categories of evidence:

  1. one witness who had identified him as being in Jill Dando's street four and a half hours before the murder and other witnesses who, although they could not pick George out at an identity parade, saw a man in the street in the two hours before the murder who might have been George;

  2. alleged lies told by George in interview;

  3. an alleged attempt to create a false alibi;

  4. the single particle of firearm discharge residue (FDR) found, about a year after the murder, in George's overcoat.

The prosecution had called expert witnesses at the trial whose evidence suggested that it was likely that the particle of FDR came from a gun fired by Barry George rather than from some other source.

Those witnesses and other witnesses from the Forensic Science Service told the Court of Appeal that this was not the right conclusion to draw from the discovery of the particle of FDR. It was instead no more likely that the particle had come from a gun fired by Barry George than that it had come from some other source. The Court of Appeal concluded that, if this evidence had been given to the jury at the trial, there was no certainty that the jury would have found George guilty. For this reason his conviction had to be quashed.

A retrial was ordered and George was remanded in custody, making no application for bail.


George appeared before the Old Bailey on 14 December 2007 and again pleaded not guilty to the murder. His retrial began on 9 June 2008.

Initially there was a lot of coverage in the press, especially of the prosecution portrayal of the defendant as being highly obsessive, lacking in social skills and a danger to women. The prosecution case differed from that of the first trial in that there was practically no scientific evidence as the evidence relating to the FDR was ruled inadmissible by the trial judge (Mr Justice Griffith Williams). There was much evidence of George's bad character which was admitted in the re-trial (at the discretion of the trial judge) as a result of the enactment of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 since the original trial. There were delays due to legal arguments and to the illnesses of the defendant and one of the jurors. For the defence William Clegg QC reminded the jury that evidence from three women from HAFAD (Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability) placed the defendant's arrival at their offices at 11:50 or 12:00, which, according to Clegg's argument, would have made it impossible for him to have committed a murder at Dando's house at 11:30 and then gone home (in the wrong direction) to change. Two neighbours who almost certainly saw the murderer immediately after the shooting had seen him go off in this direction, and later failed to identify Barry George at an identification parade. The trial ended with George's acquittal on 1 August 2008.


Jill Wendy Dando (9 November 1961 – 26 April 1999) was an English journalist, television presenter and Newsreader who worked for the BBC for 14 years and was one of the most famous women in Britain when she was murdered in April 1999. Her death sparked a huge manhunt by the Metropolitan Police which eventually led to a controversial conviction, retrial and acquittal of Barry George.


Jill Dando was born in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, and was educated at Mendip Green Infant School, St Martin's Junior School, Worle Comprehensive School and Broadoak Sixth Form Centre, where she was head girl. She studied journalism at South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education in Wales.

Dando was a keen thespian. She was a member of Weston-super-Mare Amateur Dramatic Society and Exeter Little Theatre Company, with whom she appeared in plays at the Barnfield Theatre.

Dando was a volunteer at Sunshine Hospital Radio in Weston-super-Mare before she started her first job as a trainee reporter for the local newspaper, the Weston Mercury, where her father and brother worked. After five years as a print journalist, she began employment with the BBC when she became a newsreader for BBC Radio Devon in 1985. That year, she transferred to BBC South West, where she presented a regional news magazine programme, Spotlight South West. In 1986, Dando made a move from regional to national television when she moved to London to present the hourly daytime television news summaries.

Dando went on to present the BBC television programmes Breakfast News, the BBC One O'Clock News, the Six O'Clock News, the travel programme Holiday, the crime appeal series Crimewatch and occasionally Songs of Praise. At the time of her death she was among those with the highest profile of the BBC's on-screen staff; she had previously been BBC Personality of the Year. Crimewatch would later reconstruct her murder in an attempt to aid the police in the search for her killer. However, following the acquittal of Barry George, Crimewatch has made no further appeals for information about Dando's murder.

At the time of her death, Dando had presented just one episode of her new project, The Antiques Inspectors and was scheduled to present the Six O'Clock News that evening. She was featured on the cover of that week's Radio Times magazine.


On the morning of 26 April 1999, Dando left the Chiswick home of her fiancé, Dr. Alan Farthing. She returned alone, by car, to the house she owned but rarely visited in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, West London. As she reached her front door at about 11:32, she was shot once in the head.

Her body was discovered shortly afterwards by a local resident Helen Doble. Dando was taken to the nearby Charing Cross Hospital where she was declared dead on arrival at 13:03 BST. She was 37 years old.

"As Dando was about to put her keys in the lock to open the front door of her home in Fulham, she was grabbed from behind. With his right arm, the assailant held her and forced her to the ground, so that her face was almost touching the tiled step of the porch. Then, with his left hand, he fired a single shot at her left temple, killing her instantly. The bullet entered her head just above her ear, parallel to the ground, and came out the right side of her head." - Bob Woffinden, The Guardian, July 2002

Forensic study indicated that Dando had been shot by a bullet from a 9mm automatic pistol, with the gun pressed against her head at the moment of the shot. The killer, a white man thought to be in his late 30s, was seen walking from the scene of the attack.


After the murder there was massive media coverage. An investigation by the Metropolitan Police—named Operation Oxborough—proved fruitless for over a year. Dando's status as a well-known public figure probably brought her into contact with thousands of people, and she was known by millions, so there was fevered speculation about the motive for her killing.

Within six months, the murder investigation team had spoken to more than 2,500 people and taken more than 1,000 statements. With little progress after a year, the police concentrated their attention on Barry George. George resided about half a mile from Dando's house. He had a history of stalking women and other antisocial behaviour. George was put under surveillance and was eventually charged with Dando's murder.

George was tried at the Old Bailey, convicted, and on 2 July 2001 he was sentenced to life imprisonment. However, concern about this conviction was widespread on the basis that the case against George appeared thin. Two appeals were unsuccessful. But, after discredited forensics evidence was excluded from the prosecution's case, George's third appeal succeeded in November 2007. The original conviction was quashed and a second trial lasting eight weeks ended in George's acquittal on 1 August 2008.

Jill Dando's family and her former fiancé Alan Farthing did not ask the police to reopen the investigation. George's family and supporters were jubilant at the outcome, claiming that there had never been any worthwhile evidence against him. This view was articulated by Dando's former agent, Jon Roseman, who stated that he had doubted George's guilt from an early stage.

After George's acquittal, a number of newspapers published articles which appeared to suggest that he was guilty of the Dando murder and other offences against women. In December 2009 George accepted substantial damages from a newspaper group following a libel action in the High Court.

Potential suspects

Lines of inquiry explored in the police investigation included :

  • Theories that a jealous ex-boyfriend or an unknown lover had killed her. This was quickly ruled out by the detectives who interviewed all Dando's friends and acquaintances and checked her phone calls

  • A belief that somebody had hired an assassin to murder Dando as revenge for their being convicted as a result of evidence garnered by Crimewatch viewers. After exhaustive inquiries this was also ruled out by detectives.

  • Various theories relating to Bosnian-Serb or Yugoslav groups (see below).

  • The possibility that a deranged fan may have killed Dando after she had rejected his approaches. Dando’s brother, Nigel, informed detectives that she had become concerned by “some guy pestering her” in the few days before her death, but this was ruled out by detectives.

  • A case of mistaken identity. This was judged unlikely given that the killing took place on the doorstep of Dando's own home.

  • Even actions taken by a professional rival or business partner had to be considered. Her agent Jon Roseman stated that he had been interviewed as a suspect by police.

The original police investigation had explored the possibility of a professional killing. But since Dando was living with her fiancé and was only rarely visiting her Gowan Avenue house it was considered unlikely that a professional assassin would have been sufficiently well informed about Dando's movements to have known when she was going there. CCTV evidence of Dando's last journey (mainly security video recordings from the Kings Mall shopping centre in Hammersmith which she visited on her way to Fulham) did not show any sign of her being followed.

Her BBC colleague Nick Ross stated on Newsnight on the night of her death that retaliatory attacks by criminals against police, lawyers and judges were almost unknown in Britain. Finally, forensic examination of the shell case and bullet recovered from the scene of the attack suggested that the weapon used had been the result of a workshop conversion of a replica or decommissioned gun. It was argued that a professional assassin would not use such a poor quality weapon. The police therefore soon began to favour the idea that the killing had been carried out by a crazed individual acting on an opportunist basis. This assumed profile of the perpetrator lead to the focus on Barry George.

The Yugoslav connection

Soon after the killing some commentators identified the possibility of a Yugoslav connection.

At Barry George’s first trial his defence barrister, Michael Mansfield QC, quoted from a National Criminal Intelligence Service report which stated that the Serbian warlord leader, Arkan, had ordered her assassination in retaliation for the bombing of a television station in Belgrade by NATO aeroplanes on 23 April 1999. He implied that Dando's earlier presentation of an appeal for aid for Kosovan Albanian refugees may have angered Bosnian-Serb hardliners.

The police did not believe that the Yugoslavs had killed Dando. Since Dando was merely a TV presenter they did not perceive any obvious motive on the part of the Yugoslavs. Furthermore, only three days had separated the Belgrade bombing and the killing of Dando. The police reasoned that three days would not have allowed sufficient time for the Yugoslavs to have organised and carried out her murder. Finally, no Yugoslav group ever credibly claimed responsibility for the killing. It was argued that there would be no point in carrying out a revenge killing without claiming responsibility.

However, the theory still holds great sway with commentators. The former communist regime in Yugoslavia had a history of targeted assassinations directed against its opponents. It has been claimed that between 1946 and 1991 the Yugoslav Secret Service (UDBA) had carried out at least 150 assassination attempts against people living outside Yugoslavia. The victims were mostly Croatian émigrés, although others were targeted. The attacks were usually carried out by small teams consisting of a trigger-man supported by a spotter and were always carefully planned. The attacks were often made as targets entered or left their homes since this was the point at which they were most vulnerable and where a case of mistaken identity was least likely.

The last known UDBA hit in the UK took place on 20 October 1988 when Nikola Stedul, a 51 year old Croatian émigré was gunned down outside his home in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy. For various reasons, the attack did not go smoothly. Stedul survived it although he was severely wounded in the head. His assailant was arrested a few hours later at Heathrow airport and identified as one Viko Sindic – a Yugoslav known to Western intelligence services.

Bob Woffinden, a journalist who specialises in miscarriage of justice has stated "Claims of responsibility are made by groups such as the IRA or ETA. In 60 years, there has not once been a claim of responsibility for an assassination carried out by east European secret services". Wooffinden advanced the view that a Yugoslav group was behind the Dando killing and in various newspaper articles he contested all the grounds on which the police had dismissed this possibility.

Discredited links with Yugoslavia include when a West Midlands petty criminal of Serbian descent was said to have boasted of the killing in a bar in Belgrade in September 2001. A jailed former cargo aircraft captain as well as two other witnesses stated they were present in the bar at the time of the alleged confession.


Rambo, karate kid, rock star: The fantasy life of Barry George

By Geoffrey Levi -

02nd August 2008

Perhaps we may never know who the real Barry George is: a man of blurred and confused intelligence whose personality changed as often as his name.

The constant theme, however, was the compulsive attention-seeking and the fascination with violence.

But the perpetual liar could also tell the truth.

In 1982 he tried to rape a girl and fled. But a year later, when questioned by police, he quickly broke down and confessed.

Significantly, he denied, denied and denied again that he killed Jill Dando, both to the police and in endless phone calls from prison to his sister Michelle Diskin, who fought for years for his release.

This time the man whose mind was described by defending QC William Clegg as being like a flickering lightbulb - 'but remember it is only a 40-watt lightbulb' - did not break down, nor would he confess.

For Michelle and others who always believed Barry was incapable of murder and the innocent victim of unconvincing circumstantial evidence, these eight years of unwavering denial was evidence enough that he was not the killer who shot the BBC presenter in the head on her own doorstep.

The irony is that, after eight years in prison, Barry George yesterday achieved what he craved for all his life - fame and recognition.

The celebrity identities he borrowed, the glamorous jobs he assumed to impress girls who were indifferent to his existence - never again will he need such pathetic devices to satisfy his yearning to be somebody.

So many elements of his life convinced police of his guilt - his knowledge of guns, his instability, his habit of following women, the attempted rape for which he received a paltry 33 months, his obsession with Jill Dando, the fact that he lived just 500 yards from her Fulham home, the fact that he was seen 'hanging about' in the hours before her death.

Everything about his life, from childhood when he attended special schools because of learning difficulties, to the later years when he played with guns and claimed to be in the SAS, points to his instability and eccentricity. But this did not make him a killer.

You can already feel the excitement of fellow drinkers in a pub, gathering to hear him tell one story the jury were not allowed to hear - how, in army battledress and carrying a 50ft coil of rope and a 12in hunting knife, he was arrested in the grounds of Kensington Palace in 1983, where the young Diana was living with Prince Charles. What a lark!

The police took him to be a harmless eccentric, and no further action was taken.

They had no idea that George had been collecting pictures and newspaper articles on the princess, and even had her car number.

Indeed the incident was forgotten until he was arrested in May 2000 for the murder of Jill Dando.

All of this is now nothing more than part of the colourful history of Barry George, just like the years he spent stalking women, occasionally violent but more often as a pathetic figure trying to impress them with claims of derring-do and concocted family links with famous people.

But away from the fantasy, what was the real world of Barry Michael George?

Born on April 15, 1960, he was the third child of a struggling family. His father Alfred was a civilian police driver and part-time special constable, his mother Margaret was Irish.

Barry went to Wormholt Park Primary School in White City, West London, but his progress was slow and at five he switched to Northcroft School in Hammersmith for children with educational and behavioural disorders.

For two years there were no problems, but a change came over him after his parents parted. Aged only seven, he was deeply shocked.

Others remember him as 'withdrawn and sulky' and the general feeling was that he was 'weird'.

At 12, he moved to a residential school, Heather Mount, at Ascot, Berkshire, for children with emotional and behavioural disorders.

One of his teachers there, Keith Wicks, recalls him as a boy who was 'just a blur in the background'.

George obviously felt this himself, because the moment he left school he set about making sure others - especially girls - would notice.

Meanwhile, his father had remarried and emigrated to Australia. Barry's mother was working as a cleaner when he left school at 16 and he went to live with her.

With no qualifications and a below-average IQ of 76, he struggled to find work.

Eventually the BBC employed him as a messenger, but five months later he lost the job because he was not up to it.

George's time at the BBC had, however, left its mark on him. For years afterwards, he would call at TV Centre in Wood Lane - not far from his home - to pick up Ariel, the BBC magazine. Some editions contained Jill Dando's picture.

Having crept to the edge of this world of celebrities only to be rebuffed, it is not hard to see why, while still in his teens, he saw himself as such a failure as mere Barry George that he began to assume other personalities.

By summer 1980, when he was 20, he was emerging as a 'character' in West London.

At Kingston Crown Court he was fined £15 for impersonating a police officer.

Then a picture of him with a trophy appeared in his local newspaper when he duped the Fulham Chronicle into believing that he had won the British Karate Championships by breaking 47 tiles with his feet.

He used the name Paul Gadd - real name of the now disgraced pop star Gary Glitter. Readers were told he was 'a singer with the band Xanadu and a session musician with the Electric Light Orchestra'.

Another newspaper, the West London Observer, exposed him as a sham, but he would not be put off.

His need to impress now had him describing himself as a cousin of Jeff Lynne, lead singer with ELO.

Step by step, George was becoming more than a harmless eccentric. Within weeks, he was in the paper again, this time on charges of indecent assault after grabbing a woman's breasts in a car park.

As 'Paul Gadd, unemployed entertainer' he was given a three-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He was acquitted of assaulting another woman, actress June Zeller, on the same day.

Soon afterwards he entered his 'Steve Majors' period when he posed as a stuntman of the same name and made a ludicrous attempt to speed down a ramp on roller skates and leap across four double-decker buses.

He clipped the fourth bus and landed in a heap, fracturing his femur and dislocating his spine. But he got up grinning and managed to skate about before being carted off to hospital.

The following year, 1982, George tried to rape a modern languages student he met near Turnham Green Tube station in Chiswick, West London. He was not caught for another year.

By now a new interest had come into George's life - guns.

He had joined the Territorial Army, training with the 10th Battalion Parachute Regiment at White City. He enlisted under the name S F Majors and completed 29 days' training.

The training did not cover pistols but late in 1982, while still with the TA, he joined Kensington and Chelsea Pistol Club as a probationary member, named Steve Majors.

He completed eight periods of pistol shooting, but in September that year his application for full membership was refused.

In November the TA also rejected him as unsuitable, but in his fantasy world instead of shedding his Army uniform he elevated himself to the elite corps of fighting soldiers, the SAS.

He told whoever would listen that he was Thomas Palmer, the hero who led the storming of the Iranian embassy in London in 1980.

Now came the Kensington Palace incident in January 1983, when he was discovered in the grounds with the Rambo-size hunting knife and simply sent home.

Although Diana was away that evening, the significance of the incident to police later investigating Jill Dando's killing cannot be exaggerated: George, they now became convinced, was undoubtedly a threat to the public.

Within weeks of being released without charge, he was identified as the man who assaulted the student in Turnham Green.

Questioned by police, he broke down and confessed and in March 1983, under the name Steven Majors, George, then 22, was jailed for 33 months at the Old Bailey for attempted rape.

He served 18 months and was released without treatment or supervision. No one knew of his arrest carrying a knife near the walls of Kensington Palace.

By now guns and the Army were a fixation. He wore khakis in public, bought specialist military magazines, and showed acquaintances guns he kept in his flat.

He built up a huge collection of magazines, photos of the famous and articles from newspapers that police were later to discover.

George had been through several personality phases, and more were to come, but the Army and guns were to remain a constant.

In 1986 he mimicked his SAS hero Thomas Palmer's finest hour by staging a bizarre 'raid' on the home of a friend from school called David Dobbins.

The Dobbins family lived in South Kensington and one evening there was a knock on the door. It was George, in combat gear and balaclava, and he charged in holding a pistol and fired a shot.

When the panic subsided they realised it was a blank.

By now he was increasingly filling his jobless days by pestering women in Holland Park in West London. He carried flowers and a 12in hunting knife tucked in the leg pocket of his Army trousers.

One female acquaintance, Susan Coombe, said George (whom she knew as Tom Palmer) would try to 'chat them up or he would follow them to see where they lived'.

She said: 'If a girl he approached was polite and made conversation he would fall in love, but if they were not interested he would get angry.'

At the time George was living in council-paid accommodation at the Stanhope Gardens Hotel in West London, where he was renowned for romancing Oriental girls because white women usually rejected him.

One night at the hotel, a girl was heard screaming for help in George's room. A burly Scottish resident went to the rescue and forced George to open the door.

Out fled a naked Japanese girl, carrying her clothes, with blood running down her legs. The police were not called.

George's stalking habits continued when he moved to his dingy council flat in Crookham Road, Fulham.

His odd behaviour frequently came to the attention of police, who compiled an intelligence report on him. One entry described him as an 'idiot - but a dangerous one', while another said he was 'a persistent pathological-liar'.

Later George would harass language students of the London Study Centre in Fulham Road.

Surprisingly, perhaps, one of them, Itsuko Toide, from Tokyo, became a girlfriend and on May 2, 1989, she married him at Fulham register office. The marriage was a disaster and she fled back to Japan.

After she left, George changed his name for the last time. Now he became Barry Bulsara, taking the real surname of one of his idols, Freddie Mercury.

He took the fantasy to extraordinary lengths, insisting he was not only Mercury's cousin but also a follower of Zoroastrianism, Mercury's religion.

Mercury's death in 1991 was a golden opportunity for George to immerse himself in the singer's life. He visited Mercury's home in Kensington so often, making sinister approaches to female fans, that the Queen International Fan Club called the police.

George would save up for months to hire a white limousine in which he would drive up to the house on the anniversary of the singer's death, dressed like his idol in tight vest and leather jacket.

He would hand out business cards to women on which was printed 'Bulsara Productions Inc: Directors Barry Bulsara and Frederick Bulsara Mercury'.

And he consulted a plastic surgeon with a view to being made to look like his idol.

He had two consultations at the New You clinic on Fulham Broadway with surgeon Riad Roomi. Mr Roomi told him he would carry out the work only if George obtained the approval of a psychiatrist. The surgery was never carried out.

His supposed link with Mercury was now his main gambit when accosting girls, or when running up huge bills on premium-rate porn chat-lines on his mother's phone.

It was about this time that he was questioned over the murder of Rachel Nickell, stabbed to death on Wimbledon Common in July 1992.

A Broadmoor patient was recently charged with the murder.

By now Jill Dando was living in Gowan Avenue, only 500 yards from George's flat and four doors from the doctors' surgery he attended.

There is nothing to suggest they ever met, but when police searched his flat they found 736 newspapers, eight with material relating to Dando published before her death, and 54 containing reports of her murder.

They also found he had been photographing women he stalked - there were 2,597 photographs of 419 women.

Among the piles of newspaper photographs and cuttings about women celebrities, there were many about Princess Diana.

Like Jill Dando, Diana was tall and blonde. When she died in 1997 George went to extraordinary lengths to be close to the coffin, waiting all night outside Westminster Abbey and putting up a Queen poster.

Under the word 'Queen' he had written 'Of Hearts', signing the message 'Barry Bulsara, Freddie Mercury's Cousin (R.I.P.)'

With Jill Dando, whose funeral two years later was private, he opened a book of condolence and asked neighbours to write tributes to her on scraps of paper.

She, presumably, was the 'very special lady' he said he knew in Gowan Avenue, though he told police he had never heard of her and would not recognise her.

So much of George's life was locked away in fantasy that we might never get to understand fully what he thought about Jill Dando or why he was hanging around in her road on the morning of her death.

The evidence - most of it entirely circumstantial - did not persuade the jury of eight women and four men that George, with all his dangerous oddball mannerisms, is her killer.

Barry George has had a rough time. But now, at least, he is famous.


The trail that led to Barry George's door

Analysis by Stephen Wright -

02nd August 2008

As Scotland Yard chiefs ordered a review of the evidence in the Jill Dando case last night, what could not be disputed was that the murderer had an extraordinary amount of luck.

In daylight and with no apparent disguise, he shot her at point-blank range and slipped away without been seen, leaving very little forensic evidence.

This is the story of the eight-year investigation.

Murder at Number 29 Gowan Avenue

Jill Dando had been dead less than an hour when Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell arrived in Gowan Avenue, Fulham. It was 12.15pm on Monday April 26, 1999.

Initial reports had suggested a woman, possibly Miss Dando, had been stabbed outside No 29.

As he directed operations from a neighbour's doorway, Mr Campbell pondered who might have been responsible.

'I remember thinking, "How odd ... why has she been killed? How far could the killer have got now?",' he says.

Over the next year, his officers drew up a list of 140 names said to have an 'unhealthy interest or obsession' with Miss Dando, took more than 2,400 statements, and saw more than 5,000 potential witnesses or suspects.

They also read through 14,000 e-mails received by the BBC before or after the murder, asked mobile phone companies to help identify 80,000 calls made in the Fulham area on the morning of the murder, and examined video from 191 CCTV cameras.

The man who was to emerge as the prime suspect lived virtually on the doorstep.

A worrying lack of evidence

At 11pm on the night of the killing, Mr Campbell addressed about 30 officers at the murder squad headquarters in Kensington, West London.

By then, a post mortem examination had confirmed that Miss Dando had been shot once behind the left ear, not stabbed as initially thought.

Already there was a worrying lack of 'quality' witness evidence.

Two neighbours had given differing descriptions of the clothes worn by a man seen running from the murder scene.

Officers worked on three pools of suspects - the victim's inner core of family and friends, anyone else who knew her and strangers suspected by the public.

Mr Campbell's initial thoughts were that Miss Dando had been targeted by a contract killer or an obsessed loner.

In a daily decision log, he wrote that it was important to 'be cautious and learn the lessons of the Rachel Nickell case'.

A police source told the Mail: 'You have got to be methodical. You must not get into "Let's Do Something Syndrome". You have got to have a plan.'

But four days after the murder, a decision was made which would have far-reaching consequences for the inquiry.

The great e-fit debate

By then, police had at least one e-fit image of a suspect emerging from Bishop's Park and waiting at a bus stop on the Fulham Palace Road.

Mr Campbell and his senior officers debated whether to release it to the media.

It is understood that Mr Campbell was against the idea, believing it could trigger a flood of meaningless calls into his incident room.

But he was overruled by an assistant commissioner, who wanted to maintain the public's interest when it was feared it might have peaked.

The incident room became bogged down in dealing with hundreds of sightings of men of similar appearance. Each call had to be logged by an officer.

More frustrating was the decision to put an innocent man under surveillance for two months.

A normally reliable informant told detectives that underworld figure Stephen Savva, then 36, of Hainault, Essex, was responsible for the murder.

From September to November 1999, Savva was under 24-hour surveillance by two teams of ten officers from Scotland Yard's crack undercover unit, SO11.

But following new information police realised that their initial information had been 'rubbish' and that Savva had nothing to do with the murder.

Their only consolation was that during the operation officers saw Savva stealing Mercedes worth £120,000, for which he received a two-year jail sentence.

After closing the Savva inquiry, Mr Campbell reviewed the investigation. Why, when there was an unprecedented £250,000 reward on offer, had no one named the killer?

The obsessed loner theory

By the end of 1999, Mr Campbell grew convinced he was hunting a 'lone obsessive' - statistically the most difficult to find.

'We could not go on looking for an invisible link in Jill Dando's life,' he says.

'If she had been the victim of a contract, why could we not find any reason for someone to kill her?

'All the people in her life and love life could not come up with an explanation.'

Clinical psychologist Dr Adrian West, a leading offender profiler, compiled two reports for Campbell which assessed the likelihood that the murder was committed by a stalker/loner/obsessive.

He suggested that police examine previous intelligence files for records of suspects who had followed or harassed other celebrity figures, especially the Princess of Wales, 'as the perpetrator might then have had to mourn and establish another icon'.

The 'very strange' neighbour

Twenty-four hours after the murder, an anonymous woman had called police about an oddball who was 'very strange' and 'mentally unstable', and lived in Crookham Road.

She said he possessed air weapons and possibly a crossbow - but she didn't give his name.

At the time police were being overwhelmed by calls about 'unknown males' who could be suspects and, with no specific information about George's background, treated the call as 'low priority'.

Over the following six weeks, police received a further four calls from members of the public who gave information about a man's odd behaviour on the day of the murder.

Two of the callers did not name the individual, but two identified him as Barry Bulsara (George's fake identity).

A detective went around to George's flat eight times but got no reply.

The dagger-wielding Princess Diana fan

Background inquiries revealed George had convictions for attempted rape and indecent assault.

Armed with a dagger, he once attempted to break into Kensington Palace to see Princess Diana and had changed his name to match those of his celebrity heroes.

Mr Campbell assessed the file on George, including a witness statement he gave to police on April 11, and realised he was probably a man seen in an agitated state at a taxi firm in Fulham on the day of the murder.

A warrant was obtained to search George's flat on April 17 and 18.

There police found an empty gun holster, gun magazines and condolence messages about Miss Dando which George had collected from neighbours.

Also discovered were rolls of film which, when developed, showed 'surveillance' pictures of 419 different women.

Of 736 newspapers found at the flat which pre-dated the murder, eight featured articles on Miss Dando.

Crucially, police did not find a gun - but they did discover a picture of George holding a blank-firing Bruni handgun of the type which could have been converted and used to kill Miss Dando.

A number of items, including George's coat, were taken away for forensic tests.

Mr Campbell recalls: 'I remember writing later, "Why did we come to this man so late?"

'I remembered witnesses talking about the odd man. How strange, because he really was odd, Barry.'

The firearms trace and the arrest

Mr Campbell put George on round-the-clock surveillance by a team of 30 officers from SO11.

They traced his every movement as he trawled streets and internet cafes around London.

Then, in mid-May, a firearms expert rang Mr Campbell to say there was firearms residue in a pocket of George's coat - consistent with residue found in Miss Dando's hair.

It was only 1,000th of an inch in diameter and its credibility would be fiercely contested later.

The decision was then taken to arrest George.

Mr Campbell said of the firearms residue: 'I thought that was a striking piece of evidence. What a coincidence.

'Whoever had killed Jill had the ability to be there on the Monday, had knowledge of stalking and firearms.

'There I was looking at a man who lived locally, had no job, had stalked women and had a tendency to lash out when frustrated.'

'A realistic prospect of conviction'

George was arrested on May 25, 2000 and interviewed at Hammersmith Police Station. Time and again he demanded to see a doctor.

After consulting the then Director of Public Prosecutions, David Calvert-Smith QC, Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Alison Saunders advised police there was sufficient evidence to charge George with murder.

Although it was regarded as a marginal 50-50 case, there was still believed to be a 'realistic prospect of conviction' - the benchmark for all prosecutions.

The prosecution case was based on 15 key points which included the firearms residue, George's knowledge of guns, witness sightings in Gowan Avenue, his agitated state after the murder, his obsession with celebrities, his attempts to create a false alibi for himself, a blue-grey fibre found on Miss Dando's raincoat (said to match George's trousers) and his lies to police.

It was enough to gain a conviction at the first trial.

Although the firearms residue had been discredited by the time of the second trial, prosecutors were - following a change in the law - able to use so-called 'bad character' evidence.

A string of women told the jury how serial stalker George terrified them in the street in the 1990s.

A Foreign Office diplomat said she was so scared after George grabbed her near her Fulham home that she jumped into a passing car.

But her testimony was not enough to convince the jury that George was the killer of Jill Dando.



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