Jill Dando death
True Crime

New evidence suggests Jill Dando’s death was a case of mistaken identity by Russian hitman

Could another blonde journalist have been the target?

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Jill Dando’s death in 1999 could have been a tragic case of mistaken identity.

Shocking new evidence has shown that a Russian hitman killed the WRONG blonde journalist.

According to documents recently bought to light, the intended victim could have been journalist Lisa Brinkworth.

One new theory is that the assassin mistook Lisa Brinkworth for presenter Jill Dando.

Jill Dando and her fiancé Alan Farthing
Jill Dando and her fiancé Alan Farthing pictured before her tragic death (Credit: Shutterstock)

Read more: Alfie Boe’s marriage – who was his wife and what happened?

Jill Dando’s death – who killed her?

In 1999, a suspected hitman shot TV presenter Jill Dando dead.

Her neighbour discovered her lifeless body minutes later on the doorstep of her home in Fulham.

A suspected professional assassin gunned down the popular TV presenter.

Jill was just 37 years of age.

The murder shocked the nation, and her fans subsequently demanded justice.

However, police were never able to catch her killer.

First if all, police wrongfully convicted Barry George in 2001.

The Court of Appeal later overturned the conviction on appeal and he was released.

Now, however, a French court has heard some truly remarkable claims.

According to new evidence, a Russian hitman may have killed Jill by mistake.

The killer could have been targeting journalist Lisa Brinkworth instead.

French model agency boss Gérard Marie ‘hired a Russian hitman to murder Lisa Brinkworth’.

Who is Gérard Marie?

Gérard Marie, 72, is a former French model agency boss who stands accused or rape.

In February 2021, 11 women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Gérard was previously married to supermodel Linda Evangelista.

He was the president of Elite Model Management European division.

For a time, he was one of the most powerful men in fashion.

New evidence now suggests that he hired a Russian hitman to murder presenter Lisa Brinkworth.

Lisa, now 55, went undercover to expose his agency in 1998.

She also claims Gérard sexually assaulted her during that time.

She says the attack took place while she was working undercover alongside journalist Donal MacIntyre.

The BBC documentary aimed to expose sex crimes in the fashion industry.

Jill Dando dressed in lilac
A hitman killed Jill Dando in 1999 (Credit: Shutterstock)

Read more: Getting Away with Murder: Who killed Mary Gough and why? 

Was Jill Dando’s death a mistake?

Jill’s killer may have mistaken her for fellow BBC journalist Lisa Brinkworth.

Astonishing documents submitted to a Paris court suggest that Lisa was the real target of the assassination plot.

Documents suggest that alleged rapist Marie hired a Russian hitman to assassinate journalist Lisa Brinkworth.

However, the hitman may have mistaken Jill for Lisa.

Lawyers pointed out that Jill’s fiancé Alan Farthing was also Lisa’s doctor.

The sex assault court case heard that the Russian hitman was sent to London to “deal with” the different blonde BBC reporter.

Just weeks later, Jill was shot dead outside her Fulham apartment.

Blondes Jill and Lisa were both journalists.

They shared the same hair colour, lived in the same area of London, and had a connection to Alan Farthing.

In the documents presented in court, the lawyers reference a crucial conversation.

Former Elite executive Omar Harfouch says he overheard Gérard Marie ordering a member of the Russian mafia to “deal with a problem”.

Documents from a French law state: “Shortly thereafter, a BBC journalist, Jill Dando, was shot dead in April 1999.”

Investigative journalist, Philippe Berry, also reveals some damning evidence.

He says Gérard Marie had boasted of paying gangsters to intimidate a BBC employee.

Where is Lisa Brinkworth now?

Lisa Brinkworth is currently fighting the French courts to prosecute Gérard Marie for sexual assault.

France’s statute of limitations means sexual abuse claims must be reported within 20 years.

However, Lisa’s lawyers have filed papers to the Paris prosecutor arguing her case.

They believe the statute does not apply in her case.

This is because she subsequently spent years fearing for her safety.

The former BBC journalist was kept in safe houses for years following the BBC documentary that exposed Gérard Marie.

She claims she was discouraged from taking legal action against Gérard Marie by the BBC.

Gérard Marie successfully settled with the BBC in 2001.

He sued the BBC for £1.7million in damages over the documentary.

Lisa Brinkworth now says she feels a “responsibility” to the other girls who were allegedly assaulted.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Miss Brinkworth said fashion needed “it’s #MeToo movement”.

Jill Dando's house
Fans left flowers outside Jill’s Fulham house after her death (Credit: Photo News Service/Shutterstock)

Can I watch the Lisa Brinkworth documentary?

The documentary was part of the MacIntyre Undercover series.

As part of the settlement, the BBC agreed not to broadcast the film again.

TV viewers can no longer watch the documentary, called Fashion Industry.

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Do you remember Jill Dando’s tragic death? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor