In Brief

Jill Dando case will never be solved, detective admits

Twenty years after the presenter’s murder, lead investigator closes the book

The murder of Jill Dando will remain a mystery, according to the detective who led the investigation.

“Do I think somebody will come back to court? Probably not, no,” Hamish Campbell told a forthcoming BBC documentary marking the 20th anniversary of the 37-year-old TV presenter’s death. 

“Sometimes I felt we were a day away from solving it and other times, I thought: ‘No, we’re a long way away.’ Senior officers were asking: ‘What are the likelihoods of this case being resolved?’”

Campbell revealed that more than 2,000 people were named as potential suspects and said tracing and eliminating each one might take “a day” or “two weeks”.

A year after Dando, 37, was killed on her doorstep in Fulham, west London, detectives arrested Barry George. He was convicted of murder and spent eight years in jail, but he was acquitted at a retrial and released.

A particle of gunshot residue from the pocket of a coat found in George’s house was the pivotal evidence against him, but in the retrial the jury accepted that it was insufficient to place him at the scene of the murder. 

George was described by his own defence in court as “the local nutter”. He had claimed he was the cousin of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band Queen, and that he had served in the SAS.

George recently complained about his treatment, asking a Daily Mail reporter: “How can you be acquitted unanimously by judge and jury, which means you [regain] innocent status, but then get told you are not innocent enough?”

The documentary, The Murder of Jill Dando, will also reveal how BBC director general Tony Hall, then the corporation's head of news, was targeted with three telephone threats in the weeks after Dando's murder.

“I listened to the voice of one of them, which said basically, I was next,” he told the programme.

Lord Hall said he had “no idea” if the threat was real. “There are often copycat things that happen after these sorts of events, and the police took it seriously.”

Theories about Dando’s murder suggest that she was killed in a gangland hit, an IRA operation or because she planned to identify “surprisingly big names” as being in a paedophile ring at the BBC. 

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