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Jill Dando killer 'wanted five minutes of notoriety' says brother, as he dismisses 'professional hit' speculation
26 September 2023, 05:51 | Updated: 26 September 2023, 08:01
Crimewatch host Jill Dando was shot in an opportunistic killing by someone who wanted "five minutes of notoriety", her brother has claimed.
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Ms Dando was gunned down in the street near her home in west London in 1999. Barry George was convicted of her murder, but the verdict was later overturned and the identity of her killer remains a mystery.
Ahead of the release of a Netflix documentary about her, Ms Dando's brother Nigel said: "My belief is that it was someone who was in that street who was armed, saw Jill, recognised her and for whatever reason wanted five minutes of notoriety and killed her."
Some have claimed that the killing was an underworld hit because of Ms Dando's impassioned work on Crimewatch.
But her brother said: "When you sit back and think about it and look at the evidence there is, I just think (an organised hit) is highly unlikely.
"To organise something like that, probably Jill would have had to have been followed, or someone would have had to have been in her street 24/7.
"But Jill didn’t actually live at her home in Gowan Avenue at the time.
“She was toing and froing between the house where she lived in Chiswick with her fiance, Alan.
"Nobody could have known when she was going to be at her house."
Barry George was sent to prison in 2001 for Jill Dando’s murder. George was wrongly convicted and was unanimously acquitted at a retrial in 2008.
Noel ‘Razor’ Smith, an armed robber turned writer, said he thought she was killed in a "professional" assassination.
Asked who killed her, Smith told the documentary-makers: “I don’t really want to talk about that for my own safety.
“There are rumours in the criminal world. It’s not who you would think and it’s not Barry George. It was a professional hit.”
He said he couldn’t give any further insight because “If I tell you why, you’d know who did it.”
George was jailed due to a particle of gunshot residue so small it was not admissible at his retrial. He lived close to Dando in Fulham.
Other theories remain about who was behind her murder.
One is that she was killed on the orders of a Russian mafia don whose advances she rejected while filming a holiday programme in Cyprus, the Daily Mail reports.
Another was that her killing was the work of a Serb hitman after she fronted a fundraising programme in aid of Kosovo refugees.
There were also claims of a mistaken identity killing, following an investigation by another blonde BBC colleague into alleged abuse at a French model agency.
At least two senior London crime families were supposedly resentful of her crusading TV role on Crimewatch.
Jill’s family hope that the Netflix programme might lead to new information being brought to light.
The last hours of her life remain a mystery to this day. Her neighbour Richard Hughes said he heard two bleeps from a BMW car alarm and then footsteps. He told that after 30 seconds he heard a ‘startled scream’.
He said he heard no shot but head a gate clang when he went to the window - he saw a man walking away at a brisk pace.
Another neighbour said they saw a similar looking man ‘running’ along the pavement.
Police who arrived on the scene quickly ruled out a stabbing or a robbery gone wrong, her watch and jewellery had not been taken.
Police concluded she was taken by surprise from behind as she was about to unlock her door. She was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head.
The new Netflix show raises multiple theories as to who was behind her murder, with some - including police - still maintaining that George is the killer.
Dando’s former agent Jon Roseman, meanwhile, argues that “if anybody… thinks Barry George did it, they need to get help”.
‘Who Killed Jill Dando?’ is out on Netflix on 26 September