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The brother of murdered TV presenter Jill Dando says despite the case remaining unsolved 24 years, he has a theory about who could be behind her death.

The execution style killing of one of Britain’s best-loved broadcasters in broad daylight on her own doorstep in April 1999 shocked the nation, leaving the press, public and police united in disbelief.

One of the biggest homicide investigations in British history – finally resulting in a conviction one year after her murder, only to be overturned seven years on – remains unsolved to this day.

Her brother, Nigel Dando, has told Sky News he believes it was “a random killing” carried out by a stranger, and that the presenter “was just in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Speaking ahead of a new Netflix documentary, looking into the murder and resulting police investigation, Mr Dando said that even all these years after his sister’s death, he is hopeful “the killer is out there watching” and could “come forward… to confess what they’ve done and get it off their chest”.

(R-L): Jill Dando, with her father Jack and brother Nigel
(R-L): Jill Dando, with her father Jack and brother Nigel

‘It’s a heck of a story’

Receiving news of the death of a loved one is hard – and all the more so when that death is sudden and violent.

Mr Dando says he hadn’t seen Jill for around three weeks before her death, but then received a phone call telling him his sister had been killed.

He says: “Within a couple of minutes, really, of hearing that Jill had died, half of my brain wanted to grieve for her loss and be close to my dad… He was in his eighties and not in the best of health. So, you had the family side of things.”

However, as a fellow journalist, Mr Dando also had a second part of his mind clicking into gear.

He goes on: “But, you know, one of the leading TV celebrities in this country gunned down on her own doorstep. It’s going to… It’s a heck of a story. And you kind of knew what was going to come down the line.

“I was trying to prepare myself to deal with that, knowing that you had to deal with the media. But trying to protect my dad from any excesses of it.”

It is of course that same power of the story that attracted true crime producer Emma Cooper to the case, and she would go on to spend over a year heading up the three-part documentary.

She explains: “An act that violent with a gun happening in an area of London, that would be outlandish now in 2023. So, to look back at that happening at that time is extraordinary.”

But she says it was also key to remember the person at the heart of the story: “It was very important to all of us that Jill was very present in the series and that we reminded people who knew her and remember her. And also [it was important] we brought it to a new audience of young people who don’t necessarily know about Jill and don’t necessarily know what happened to her and what a huge part she was in all of our lives.”

Pic: South Coast Press/Shutterstock
Pic: South Coast Press/Shutterstock

Who was Jill Dando?

Born in the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, Dando’s first job was as a trainee with her local weekly newspaper, the Weston Mercury, where her father and brother also worked.

Quickly progressing from print journalism to television, her talent paired with a girl-next-door persona saw her rise through the ranks of regional shows to national TV, going on to present Holiday, the Six O’ Clock News and Crimewatch.

Just two years before her death, she was voted BBC personality of the year.

On 26 April 1999 she was shot dead outside her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, southwest London. She had been due to present the Six O’ Clock News the following evening.

Pic: Nick Scott Archive/Alamy
Pic: Nick Scott Archive/Alamy

The many theories about Jill’s killer

One of the theories of a possible motive behind her killing, was that her presenting role on Crimewatch had made her vulnerable to criminals who might bear a grudge against her for her part in bringing them down.

Another was that a Serbian assassin could have killed her, in revenge for NATO bombing, after seeing her front an appeal for aid for Kosovar Albanian refugees.

However, Mr Dando doesn’t believe such theories stand up to robust investigation, calling them “interesting lines of inquiry” but which “never went anywhere”.

Of the Crimewatch connection he says “there was no evidence, it was just someone jumping on the bandwagon”.

And of the theory of links to Serbian mafia – Mr Dando says there was “no real evidence of a Serbian hitman”.

But he does have his own thoughts about who could have been behind his sister’s death.

“My theory before this happened and that’s been reinforced since by watching this documentary, is that Jill was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that somebody walking down the street, holding a gun for whatever reason, spotted her, either knowing her or not knowing who she was, and shot her dead.”

Mr Dando adds that some of the “theories would make great stories in fiction, but… There’s no line that really holds a huge amount of water apart from you know, a random killing, which I think it was.”

Barry George. Pic: Undated police handout
Barry George. Pic: Undated police handout

Who is Barry George, and how does he fit into the case?

Local man, Barry George, who had previous convictions and a history of stalking women, was arrested for Jill’s murder almost a year after her death, and later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mr George spent seven years in jail, but was later acquitted due to unreliable forensic evidence, leaving the case again unsolved.

Speaking about Mr George’s original conviction, Mr Dando says: “At the time I thought that the police had got the right person, and a jury agreed with that sentiment because he was obviously found guilty and jailed for life. But the legal system moves on.”

But Mr Dando does have one concern – that Mr George chose not to give evidence, at either his trial or re-trial.

Mr Dando says: “I would just liked to have seen him tell a jury exactly what he was doing on that day, because he’s never actually explained where he was. It’s all a bit jumbled up. It would have been interesting to have heard him explain where he was, and for him to have been cross-examined about his movements on that day.”

While the conviction against Mr George was quashed, he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to gain compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

Mr George is also a contributor to the Netflix documentary.

Executive producer Emma Cooper says she felt it was vital to have Mr George’s side of the story in the film, to present “as clear of a rounded picture of all the events as possible from as many different perspectives as possible”.

In the documentary, she asks Mr George outright, “Did you kill Jill Dando,” to which Mr George answers, “No”.

She says: “I thought it was important to ask, I thought that the audience would expect that of us to ask him a straight question. And so, we did.”

Pic: Michael Fresco/Evening Standard/Shutterstock
Pic: Michael Fresco/Evening Standard/Shutterstock

One of the biggest homicide investigations in British history

Mr Dando says he bears no anger towards the police over the lack of a conviction, calling the investigation “a difficult job” and adding: “I don’t have any negative feelings towards the police at all with their inquiries. I didn’t at the time, and as the years have gone on, I don’t.”

As the documentary shows, while Dando’s fame ensured that news of her murder travelled far and wide, it also played a part in hindering the investigation.

Mr Dando says officers were inundated with people trying to “do the right thing” by offering up information, and the result was an avalanche of tips “overwhelming all the potential lines of inquiry that came in”.

While the investigation was moved into “an inactive phase” nine years ago, Met Police told Sky News detectives “would consider any new information provided” in a bid “to determine whether it represented a new and realistic line of enquiry”.

Offering further information around the combined reward of £250,000 which was initially offered for information leading to an arrest, the Met told Sky News, “Any discussion about any reward would have to take place in the event that new information came to light.”

BBC TV presenter Jill Dando at Television Centre. 26/4/99: Jill Dando was shot and killed outside her home in Fulham, South West London. 07/06/01: The Old Bailey jury in the Dando murder trial announced its verdict of guilty.  * the trial of suspect suspect Barry George, 41, unemployed from  south west London. George had denied murdering Miss Dando on April 26 1999. The TV presenter was shot through the head in the doorway of her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham.

Jill’s legacy

Mr Dando says he is still approached in public – in the supermarket, at the carpet shop – by people “wanting to talk about Jill” and “how they remembered her”.

Jill was just 37 when she died, and five months away from getting married to her fiance, Alan Farthing.

Mr Dando says: “She was on an upward trajectory… Whether family life would have taken over from her broadcasting career or whether she could have juggled the two. Who knows what would have happened, where she would have been today.”

Pic: ANL/Shutterstock
Jill with fellow Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross. Pic: ANL/Shutterstock

Will we ever get an answer?

Ms Cooper says: “It’s really important for a shared audience to look back at that and for new people to discover what happened. And for older people to be reminded about it and to be reminded of the fact that it is still unsolved.”

The film documents aspects of the investigation that most – including some of Jill’s family – have never heard about before.

Other contributors to the film include Dando’s ex-partner, television producer Bob Wheaton, her agent Jon Roseman, and former detective chief inspector Hamish Campbell who headed up the murder case.

Ms Cooper says: “If somebody could see something that could jog a memory that has been unclaimed for 20 years, that would be an amazing outcome for all of us.”

Mr Dando too, has hopes – even if they are vanishingly slim – that the documentary could lead to some sort of answer for himself, and all those who loved and knew Jill.

He says: “We’ve lived for 24 years not knowing who did it, but maybe more importantly, why they did it. Why would you go up to a stranger and do what you did? I just don’t know. So, it would be nice to have some closure from that point of view to know why that person pulled the trigger.”

He goes on: “Maybe even the killer is out there watching this documentary and their conscience, even after all these years may be pricked and it may just encourage them to come forward to confess what they’ve done and get it off their chest.”

Who Killed Jill Dando? is released on Netflix on Tuesday 26 September.

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Met Police firearms officers plan mass downing of guns if Chris Kaba murder suspect is identified, marksman tells Sky News




Met Police firearms officers plan mass downing of guns if Chris Kaba murder suspect is identified, marksman tells Sky News

A Met firearms officer has told Sky News that many of his colleagues are planning a mass downing of guns if the identity of the marksman accused of Chris Kaba’s murder is made public by a judge.

An officer appeared at court last Thursday charged with the murder of Mr Kaba, 24, who was killed in September last year in Streatham Hill, south London.

The Met officer is known only as NX121 after a district judge granted an interim anonymity order.

But the order could be lifted at a hearing at the Old Bailey on 4 October, which would lead to the officer being named publicly.

A serving firearms officer has told Sky News that many officers are considering handing in their weapons if the anonymity order is lifted.

He said: “The anonymity hearing will determine what happens. If he loses his anonymity, then serious questions will be asked.

“I haven’t handed my firearm in yet, but I would if that happens – and there are many others that would do the same.”

More on Chris Kaba

It is standard court procedure for anyone accused of a crime to be named publicly in open court, but the legal team for the defence has made an application for officer NX121 to remain anonymous.

Dad-to-be Mr Kaba died from a single gunshot to the head after the car he was driving was blocked in by a police vehicle and an officer opened fire.

It later emerged that the Audi which Mr Kaba was driving had been linked to a gun incident the previous day.

File pic
File pic

Hundreds of Met officers handed in their weapons after officer NX121 was charged with the murder of Mr Kaba, and the Army was placed on standby to support the Met.

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said there are “significantly” fewer firearm officers available and warned the force may have to make some “difficult choices” because of staff shortages.

Speaking at a meeting of the London policing board, he said: “Officers are extremely anxious and I think it’s important to put this into context.

“A lot of this is driven by families – many of them are under pressure from their partners, wives, husbands, parents, children saying, ‘I’m worried about what you might go through based on your job’.”

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Liberal Democrat conference: Davey’s speech featured a powerful human moment – and an electoral calculation | Sam Coates




Liberal Democrat conference: Davey's speech featured a powerful human moment - and an electoral calculation | Sam Coates

Sir Ed Davey’s conference speech – his first since becoming leader in the autumn of 2020 – capped what has been a remarkable change in the role of the Liberal Democrats in British politics. 

Just eight years ago, Sir Ed was one of the Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers working with the Conservatives around the cabinet table in Number 10.

Today, he couldn’t be more caustic about Rishi Sunak’s party of “clowns”. Once, Lib Dems preached “equidistance” – the ability in a hung parliament to decide whether to put Tory or Labour into Number 10. Now they are making clear they would never put the Tories back in power in the – mathematically improbable – situation they have a choice.

Read more: Braverman accused of ‘cynicism and xenophobia’ – politics latest

This means in Bournemouth, the Lib Dems were back firmly on the centre left, the party’s happy place, a position which reflects electoral maths. In the 80 seats where they are second place, there are only two where they fight Labour.

And the issues they chose to focus on – cost of living and health – are the two biggest issues likely to push voters into their column, Lib Dem polling suggests. But Sir Ed needed to cut through the noise and get noticed, leading to one of the most gut-wrenching, difficult passages ever delivered by a party leader in modern times.

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He used his speech to describe the death of his mother from cancer aged 15, following the death of his father when Sir Ed was aged four. The details – how he was in his school uniform by her side on the way to school when she died – were not easy to listen to and evidently not easy to deliver.

More on Liberal Democrats

It was a remarkably powerful human moment, but since it was delivered on their biggest political platform the party gets all year, there was also crude electoral calculation too. This is an issue they want to be associated with, and they’re having to try harder to be heard as the fourth-biggest force in British politics.

For all the good heart and buoyancy after three days in Bournemouth, it has become clear the party is not really contemplating a massive yellow tide, with regular reminders of the need for caution. The vote in the Brexit-leaning South West, once a heartland, may be inching back to them – it was still ebbing away from them in 2019 – but they are still only looking at winning a total of 15 to 35 seats next year, not the 50 plus they enjoyed between 1997 and 2015.

Read more:
Davey hints at post-election deal with Labour
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Davey: ‘I used the wrong C-word’

It is not likely to be the number that allowed Nick Clegg to negotiate that ultimately toxic coalition deal with the Tories in 2010.

So there has been a conversation on the fringes of Lib Dem conference – frowned upon and sighed at by the leadership – about what to do in the event of a hung parliament, given they have already ruled out playing the two other parties off against one another should that be even possible.

Many believe Sir Ed would never go into another coalition, so scarred is the party, since there is no way of ensuring promises made at the start can actually be delivered. Sir Ed seems scarred to some by failure to get more from the Tories, who he says broke promises. So the discussion is between two other models – could there be a much more limited confidence and supply agreement, where Lib Dems get some political baubles in exchange for backing some bits of Labour’s agenda?

Or should they take a more hardline approach – decide bill by bill, measure by measure, whether to back the Starmer agenda?

Both sides are staring at each other, knowing that if the stakes are raised too high, and discussions fall apart and relations break down, there could be another general election at any point.

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There are those that, when the time comes, will urge Sir Ed to adopt the latter approach.

The Lib Dems first in person autumn conference since 2019 went well on its own terms. The question is how much impact they can have outside this hall.

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Russell Brand says he is ‘incredibly moved’ by support of fans after sexual abuse allegations




Russell Brand says he is 'incredibly moved' by support of fans after sexual abuse allegations

Russell Brand has said he is “incredibly moved” by the “ongoing support” of his fans – following sexual abuse allegations against him.

In his latest post on video platform Rumble, he said: “Thank you for joining us, I can hardly express my gratitude towards you sufficiently, and thank you for the ongoing support, all of you, I’m incredibly, incredibly moved by it.”

Brand also urged people to subscribe to his channel at a time “where your support becomes absolutely essential”.

It comes after four women made allegations of rape, sexual assault and abuse against the star between 2006 and 2013 as part of an investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

Another woman, speaking to Sky News, alleged Brand “ripped holes” in her tights and “refused to call her a taxi until she performed a sex act”.

The Metropolitan Police says it has begun an investigation after receiving a number of sexual offence claims relating to London and elsewhere in the UK following media reports about the comedian.

The 48-year-old denies all the allegations against him.

The Rumble video is the second Brand has recorded this week and looks to be a return to his usual nightly routine of livestreams on the platform, on which he has more than 1.4m followers.

Cast member Russell Brand arrives at the premiere of "Rock of Ages" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 8, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 15.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Brand pictured in 2012

During his video on Monday, he accused the government of trying to “bypass” the judicial system after his YouTube channel was demonetised in the wake of the allegations against him.

The comedian also accused the “legacy media” of being in “lockstep” with each other to “support a state agenda” and “silence independent media voices”.

Ahead of the publication of the claims, he released a video on the platform in which he preemptively addressed the allegations and said all of his relationships were consensual.

On Friday, he released a second clip on Rumble in which he claimed the British government had “asked big tech platforms to censor our online content”.

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Russell Brand appears on Rumble

YouTube, owned by Google, demonetised Brand’s channel in the wake of the allegations against him.

However, Rumble, a video site popular with some conservatives and far-right groups, has not demonetised Brand.

Dame Caroline Dinenage, chair of the House of Commons media committee, wrote to Rumble to ask if it would be stopping Brand from earning advertising revenue on the platform.

Read more:
Channel 4 boss addresses ‘horrendous’ Brand allegations
BBC to review comedian’s time at the broadcaster

In her letter to Rumble’s founder and chief executive Chris Pavlovski, Dame Dinenage wrote: “We would be grateful if you could confirm whether Mr Brand is able to monetise his content, including his videos relating to the serious accusations against him.

“If so, we would like to know whether Rumble intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand’s ability to earn money on the platform.

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Russell Brand denies ‘serious allegations’

“We would also like to know what Rumble is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behaviour.”

‘Deeply inappropriate’

In a statement, the site refused to demonetise Brand’s channel and described the letter as “deeply inappropriate and dangerous”.

“While Rumble obviously deplores sexual assault, rape, and all serious crimes, and believes that both alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation, it is vital to note that recent allegations against Russell Brand have nothing to do with the content on Rumble’s platform,” the platform said in a statement.

“We regard it as deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or to earn a living from doing so.

“Singling out an individual and demanding his ban is even more disturbing, given the absence of any connection between the allegations and his content on Rumble.

“Although it may be politically and socially easier for Rumble to join a cancel culture mob, doing so would be a violation of our company’s values and mission.

“We emphatically reject the UK parliament’s demands.”

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Police receive ‘number of claims’

On Monday, the Metropolitan Police said a number of sexual offence claims relating to London and elsewhere in the UK following media reports about Brand.

The London force said the allegations were all non-recent.

A statement said: “Following an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches and The Sunday Times, the Met has received a number of allegations of sexual offences in London.

“We have also received a number of allegations of sexual offences committed elsewhere in the country and will investigate these.”

There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

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