UK UK - Jill Dando, 37, Fulham, London, 26 Apr 1999

Interesting and a unique theory that I have never heard before. I feel like the "covered up accident" theory exists for every unsolved murder and missing person case though.

To be clear, I don't think anyone is covering anything up--aside from BG, who denies everything. Whether Jill's death was the intended outcome or not, the fact is she's dead. And BG, whom I firmly believe did it, likely got away with murder.

But knowing what we know of BG, his track record, and his relative ineptness, I could see a scenario where he didn't intend to kill her. I could also see him having every intention of killing her. There's so much we don't know that I could see many scenarios being plausible.

Most people seem to hyper-focus on how quickly and "cleanly" it happened, and how easily the killer disappeared. It must have been someone who knew what they were doing! IMO it could just as easily have been someone in the right place, at the right time, who had incredible good luck on that particular day.

On a different day, or at a different time, things might have turned out very differently. Sometimes five seconds either way can make all the difference.
 
I tend to agree, although expectations aren't always met...

Would we expect the police - the real professionals - to secure the crime scene, or to contaminate it completely?

In fairness, the paramedics contaminated the scene during their attempts to save Jill, before the police ever got there. The police have lamented the condition the scene was in when they first arrived.
 
It's also true, to be fair, that "professional" killings can be incompetent. Two or three spring to mind. There's the attempted murder of Norman Scott, where the inept attacker missed the man and shot the dog. There's also the murder of Rasputin, who in early accounts was given poisoned cakes, poisoned wine, shot in the chest, came around an hour later and had to be shot again, and was finally pushed into a frozen river and drowned under the ice. Then there are actual executions, notably Mary Queen of Scots, where Mary was of course unarmed and the executioner had an axe, but still had to have three goes at it. Only the first of these is potentially similar to this case, but they at least show that even when you do it for a living, it's quite common to make a complete hash of killing someone.

I do quite like the idea that someone was playing SAS man that day and his tampered-with gun went off accidentally.
 
I do quite like the idea that someone was playing SAS man that day and his tampered-with gun went off accidentally.

RSBM

The gun is so important to this case, and the fact that it was never found makes everything else so much more difficult to decipher. Who manufactured it? Was it a high quality weapon or a piece of junk that barely worked? Was it a re-activated starter pistol as some suspect? Did it have a hair-trigger that could go off unexpectedly?

We can never know if the shooter had to decisively and deliberately fire the weapon, or if a fumbling lunatic stalker could have shot Jill without intending to. We'll only know if the killer starts talking. And whilst BG does love to talk, I don't envision him being truthful any time soon.
 
To be clear, I don't think anyone is covering anything up--aside from BG, who denies everything. Whether Jill's death was the intended outcome or not, the fact is she's dead. And BG, whom I firmly believe did it, likely got away with murder.

But knowing what we know of BG, his track record, and his relative ineptness, I could see a scenario where he didn't intend to kill her. I could also see him having every intention of killing her. There's so much we don't know that I could see many scenarios being plausible.

Most people seem to hyper-focus on how quickly and "cleanly" it happened, and how easily the killer disappeared. It must have been someone who knew what they were doing! IMO it could just as easily have been someone in the right place, at the right time, who had incredible good luck on that particular day.

On a different day, or at a different time, things might have turned out very differently. Sometimes five seconds either way can make all the difference.
"Cover up" was referring to BG. Have you heard the theory that the perpetrator had been living in the house without Jill's knowledge?
 
That’s a plausible theory that maybe BG wanted to get Jill into her house to assault rather than kill her ?

I think that's a very plausible theory. I'm surprised the police never seem to have seriously considered it could have been an attempted assault or robbery gone wrong. It wouldn't make the murderer any less of a murderer, but it also wouldn't make them an expert assassin. It would just mean they were lucky (and Jill wasn't) at that time and on that day.
 
I think that's a very plausible theory. I'm surprised the police never seem to have seriously considered it could have been an attempted assault or robbery gone wrong. It wouldn't make the murderer any less of a murderer, but it also wouldn't make them an expert assassin. It would just mean they were lucky (and Jill wasn't) at that time and on that day.
The killer was lucky though, there's every chance BG was the killer but the evidence didn't fully support it, that's why he was released.
 
The killer was lucky though, there's every chance BG was the killer but the evidence didn't fully support it, that's why he was released.

I'm actually not sure it's true to say the evidence didn't fully support it. The detective in charge of the investigation has said they had thousands of suspects, but based on the available evidence they could rule out all but one: BG.

I think the case against BG could have been strong enough even without the gun shot residue. Lots of circumstantial evidence all pointing in his direction. It was the change of opinion over the GSR that played the biggest role in getting the conviction quashed.

After so much media publicity there was no way they were going to be able to successfully convict BG a second time. But if they had convicted him without the GSR the first time (which I think it's possible they could have), he'd most likely still be in jail.
 
Perhaps BG just got lucky big time, but if he was a well known ' odd one' in the area, the eye witnesses in the houses surely would of identified him. He would of run or walked fast from the scene, making him look suspicious immediately.
No-one placed him that road that morning did they? Maybe in the past but not that day.
 
I'm actually not sure it's true to say the evidence didn't fully support it. The detective in charge of the investigation has said they had thousands of suspects, but based on the available evidence they could rule out all but one: BG.

I think the case against BG could have been strong enough even without the gun shot residue. Lots of circumstantial evidence all pointing in his direction. It was the change of opinion over the GSR that played the biggest role in getting the conviction quashed.

After so much media publicity there was no way they were going to be able to successfully convict BG a second time. But if they had convicted him without the GSR the first time (which I think it's possible they could have), he'd most likely still be in jail.
It's like the SLP case, the publicity prevents trial, do they not learn.
 
Perhaps BG just got lucky big time, but if he was a well known ' odd one' in the area, the eye witnesses in the houses surely would of identified him. He would of run or walked fast from the scene, making him look suspicious immediately.
No-one placed him that road that morning did they? Maybe in the past but not that day.
Substitute BG for any other and they too were lucky.
 
Perhaps BG just got lucky big time, but if he was a well known ' odd one' in the area, the eye witnesses in the houses surely would of identified him. He would of run or walked fast from the scene, making him look suspicious immediately.
No-one placed him that road that morning did they? Maybe in the past but not that day.

BG *was* seen on the street earlier in the day, but unfortunately nobody got a really good look at the man as he left the crime scene. Even with BG being known in the area, it doesn't guarantee everyone would recognise him.


"Three witnesses spotted George in Gowan Avenue in the hours before the murder. Mr Pownall asked the jury to consider why he would be lingering there."
 
I think that's a very plausible theory. I'm surprised the police never seem to have seriously considered it could have been an attempted assault or robbery gone wrong. It wouldn't make the murderer any less of a murderer, but it also wouldn't make them an expert assassin. It would just mean they were lucky (and Jill wasn't) at that time and on that day.
I can believe that. It would mean JD died in effect because she was assaulted by an irresponsible half-wit, who carried and accidentally used a lethal weapon.

If this was BG then given his offending history it's not hard to fathom what he was intending to do to JD.
 
I am a reformed gang member who now visits prisions talking to the youths about gang culture I can assure you they do adapt weapons, but not in this way.

This type of gun required a close up shot. A rifled round is accurate whereas a smooth bore can go in any direction.

Her killers description was extremely nervous, & he panicked after. He ran the full length of Fulham Palce Rd into traffic and Into Bishops Park! That was her killer imo, not a man wearing a suit, or the man at the bus stop!

That description, sounds more like someone who did not mean to kill her, or a Jilted lover. Her engagement ring ( she'd just announced) was described as being on show! That could be a very important detail.
Handguns are typically used at a range of less than 20ft. A rifled barrel is not going to make any noticable difference to accuracy at that range.
From the BBC’s The Murder of Jill Dando

Hamish Campbell
Detective Chief Inspector
28th Feb 2000

‘I return to the loner, the infatuated, the psychopath, the disturbed or the obsessed. They are all equally capable of planning, good luck, and an ability to hurt and harm. My own notes show that this is the most likely explanation. The witness evidence of 26th and earlier days, show a man loitering in the street. Can it really be possible that this is ten or fifteen different men, or one man seen through different witness eyes, and thus explains the various discrepancies. Not only have we not seen one piece of evidence or information to show Dando was subject of a contract killing, the location of her death points away from contract. Miss Dando did not live at 29, Gowan Ave, she lived in Chiswick. Her attendance at Gowan Ave was sporadic, it is not the location anyone would choose, because there is simply no guarantee or knowledge that she would appear. This is highly pertinent (NB, cars, timing, alarm code)

However, the loner etc, would be taking the random chance. The man was on foot before the attack, he left on foot. As Adrian West says, it tends to point towards someone who is on foot anyway and close enough to reach the Gowan Ave address, otherwise why not Chiswick?

Who is this man that we seem to have missed?, because I believe we have. What of the ‘odd’ person with the hat and dots on it. (If this is actually accurate and true?) A man in the street or junction on three occasions before 26.4.99. In the street at two locations on 26.4.99. His clothing ‘matches’ the man leaving the scene. He had a phone on two separate occasions. Is he the mad man or the contract killer or neither? His behaviour matches more that of the loner than a contract killer.’

I don't agree that a shooter arriving and leaving on foot identifies anything about the killer except to suggest he wasn't dumb enough to park his car outside her house. If he did he would probably be in prison right now.
 
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) Jill Dando - Wikipedia

JMO but this has always struck me as a professional killing. Quick, no struggle, single modified bullet to the head. Nothing about the act makes me think BG was capable of this level of organisation. Who knew she was intending to visit her property that day? Could her phone have been hacked?
There were no eyewitnesses to the shooting so that account is pure speculation. He could just have easily ordered her at gunpoint to get down on her knees and then put the gun to her head and killed her.
 
Indeed, and as Nick Ross summarises on his blog, the case against BG was *a lot* stronger than that:
  • He had been seen in the road four hours before Jill’s murder
  • He had been identified as having been by two separate witnesses near the killing in an agitated state soon after the murder.
  • The witnesses, including a mental health worker, were so concerned about him that in the days after Jill’s murder they had rung the incident room repeatedly.
  • He had returned to both witnesses the following day seeking to persuade them he had been there at different times and in different clothes.
  • He had a history of violence against women, including formal warnings, convictions for sexual assault and a prison term for attempted rape.
  • When under surveillance he routinely stalked women.
  • He had once been found in the grounds of Kensington Palace with a balaclava, a knife and a rope – but was never charged because he was thought to have mental problems.
  • Itsuko Toide, briefly his wife in a marriage of convenience, was so frightened of him that she reported his violence to the police and fled back to Japan. (She later told me she had no doubt he was Jill’s killer).
  • Despite denying he had an interest in Jill Dando or the BBC, undeveloped film recovered from his apartment showed he took photos of women from his TV, and he kept copies of the BBC’s in-house magazine.
  • Although he denied he had ever owned or held a gun, a reel of undeveloped film was processed and revealed him posing with a pistol.
  • The pistol he was holding was of the same type that killed Jill.
We might add that the pistol never turned up. If it hadn't been used to kill someone why did it disappear?

He was not at all a random suspect. The above list is a decent circumstantial case - even without the firearm residue point, which is not in the list.

Indeed, and as Nick Ross summarises on his blog, the case against BG was *a lot* stronger than that:
  • He had been seen in the road four hours before Jill’s murder
  • He had been identified as having been by two separate witnesses near the killing in an agitated state soon after the murder.
  • The witnesses, including a mental health worker, were so concerned about him that in the days after Jill’s murder they had rung the incident room repeatedly.
  • He had returned to both witnesses the following day seeking to persuade them he had been there at different times and in different clothes.
  • He had a history of violence against women, including formal warnings, convictions for sexual assault and a prison term for attempted rape.
  • When under surveillance he routinely stalked women.
  • He had once been found in the grounds of Kensington Palace with a balaclava, a knife and a rope – but was never charged because he was thought to have mental problems.
  • Itsuko Toide, briefly his wife in a marriage of convenience, was so frightened of him that she reported his violence to the police and fled back to Japan. (She later told me she had no doubt he was Jill’s killer).
  • Despite denying he had an interest in Jill Dando or the BBC, undeveloped film recovered from his apartment showed he took photos of women from his TV, and he kept copies of the BBC’s in-house magazine.
  • Although he denied he had ever owned or held a gun, a reel of undeveloped film was processed and revealed him posing with a pistol.
  • The pistol he was holding was of the same type that killed Jill.
We might add that the pistol never turned up. If it hadn't been used to kill someone why did it disappear?

He was not at all a random suspect. The above list is a decent circumstantial case - even without the firearm residue point, which is not in the list.
All of that makes him a suspicious person, none of it makes him guilty of anything
 
As circumstantial cases go it's probably as good as they get.

I'm always drawn to compare this case with the nearby Suzy Lamplugh disappearance. There, the police failed to persuade the CPS of their circumstantial case against John Cannan, but went ahead and named him anyway. The CPS in reviewing the police file said that they had not shown that Cannan had ever met her, nor that he was in Fulham that day.

Constructively, the police case amounts to his being a rapist, recently released from a nearby prison, who had local acquaintances who might have helped him out with cars and hiding places.

The trouble with this line of reasoning is that there were three prisons as near as the one Cannan had been in (the Scrubs) to where Suzy Lamplugh lived and worked, or indeed nearer; i.e. Brixton and Wandsworth. HMP Wandsworth is less than two miles from her local pub, the last she ever visited. Between them, these three prisons would probably have released about 100 rapists over the period when Cannan was on pre-release. So the scepticism of the CPS is well-founded, because why can't it have been one of the other 99? If the same circumstantial case can be made out against anyone else, then that sinks the case against Cannan, because it needn't have been him.

With Barry George, the circumstantial case looks more persuasive because there really can't anybody else of whom that string of circumstances is true.

Analogously, there's a PhD called Richard Carrier who writes books and does YT videos dedicated to proving that Jesus did not exist. In one book, he lists a series of historicity criteria and argues that if someone meets enough of them, they must have existed. Based on this, he argues that Jesus does not and thus did exist. His critics have argued that based on his own criteria, neither did Abraham Lincoln.

I almost think we're at that point with Barry George. If those circumstantials don't convict him, then none can ever convict anyone, and we can forget about ever obtaining convictions at all unless someone is witnessed in the act.
 
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The police thought BG was discussing the murder with locals, so it must have been him. The alternative is that BG was trying (in his own rather simple way) to firm up an alibi because he had just been questioned for the Rachel Nickell murder, and didn't want to spend another 48 hours in custody being grilled.

The Nickell murder and the attempt to pin it on Colin Stagg, was of course another example of the Met police getting things completely wrong.

We don't know if anyone else did fit the bill for Jill's murder, because the Met ended up with the same tunnel vision towards one suspect, as with Cannan and Stagg.

Jill Dando had over a hundred known stalker type 'super fans', but how many stalkers did she have who weren't known to the police?
 

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