British broadcasting legend, Jill Dando – nicknamed the Princess Diana of TV – was killed by a single bullet on her doorstep in 1999 in broad daylight – and a new Netflix documentary re-examines the suspects.
Despite one of the biggest homicide investigations in British history, the murder still remains unsolved. Although a jury found prime suspect Barry George guilty of the murder in 2001, his conviction was later quashed.
Netflix‘s three-part series Who Killed Jill Dando? “takes viewers through the twists and the turns of a true crime mystery”. Her family, friends, journalists, investigators and lawyers consider the question: Who Killed Jill Dando?
Here’s a comprehensive rundown of all the suspects in the baffling criminal investigation into the death of Jill Dando.
Who Killed Jill Dando? on Netflix – all the suspects
A mystery shooter killed TV presenter Jill Dando on the doorstep of her Fulham house on 26 April 1999. She was killed with one single gunshot to the head, and could not be saved.
At 1.03pm, doctors declared Jill Dando dead at Charing Cross Hospital. She was just 37.
The police launched a huge investigation, talking to eyewitnesses, those who knew her, and painstakingly looking through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage of Jill’s movements before her death.
And, at first, there were several key suspects who had to be investigated. These included her stalker, a man seen leaving the scene, and a possible hitman executing a professional job.
Hamish Campbell, Senior Investigating Officer at the time, tells the documentary makers: “It takes a brutal, sadistic psychopath to shoot a gun at someone’s head. Whoever did it is still out there.”
Jill Dando suspects: A man seen running away
Several key witnesses were interviewed within hours of Jill Dando’s death. Although no one actually saw what had happened to Jill, police identified two witnesses who had seen a man leaving the scene. They described this man as white, with dark hair, thick set, and wearing a dark coat.
The man wasn’t masked, or wearing gloves. However, he was seen running away. Another witness claimed he saw a man running across the road who stopped at the bus stop and was sweating.
The sweating man at the bus stop on Fulham Palace Road became a prime suspect – although it seems unlikely that a murderer would use a bus as a getaway… Police released an e-fit of the suspect. Sadly, they were unable to retrieve CCTV footage from the buses at the crucial time of Jill’s murder.
Later a man phoned the enquiry and stated he looked like the e-fit. Undertaker James Shackleton was later ruled as a suspect, and exposed as a liar who had previously involved himself in other murder investigations.
The person in the blue Range Rover
In the Netflix documentary, Who Killed Jill Dando?, the investigating officer at the time mentioned a traffic warden who became a key witness.
She was about to give a ticket to the driver of a blue Range Rover on Gowan Avenue, the road where Jill was found dead. The traffic warden started to write the ticket out but the driver brushed her off and drove away.
CCTV footage then captured the car speeding away from the scene, and driving through red lights. The Blue Range Rover became a key piece of evidence, but police didn’t have a registration number – just the colour and make. Lots of people drove blue Range Rovers at the time, so it was a long shot.
After an appeal on Jill’s own show Crimewatch, police received a phone call by an informant who said: “I know who killed Jill Dando, and there are the names of the individuals.” This particular informant seemed plausible. He was known as James. James said that the murderers of Jill Dando were active criminals, of a higher level drugs group.
However after investigation, police proved that James was lying. He wanted this group to be imprisoned for his own personal reasons.
Jill Dando suspects: Was it a professional hitman?
Jill Dando’s killer could well have been a professional hitman, due to the nature of the murder. Hamish Campbell, Senior Investigating Officer at the time, talks through all the signs it was a professional job…
He explains that “no one heard gunshots” even though Jill was shot in the head. Her killer also took one precise single gun shot to the head, indicating a level of experience.
Hamish also reveals that “silencers were very rare in those days”. Recent reports even suggest that Jill’s death might have been a case of mistaken identity.
Was Jill Dando’s murderer someone she knew?
Police investigators were forced to consider those close to Jill Dando. Senior Investigating Officer Hamish Campbell explains: “The reality is most people are killed by people they know.
“The people in Jill Dando’s inner circle were Alan Farthing, her fiancée; her previous partner of seven years, Mr Bob Wheaton; and her business agent Mr Roseman. They had to be seen and interviewed, and primarily give an alibi. Although that doesn’t mean they didn’t arrange the murder.”
Jill Dando suspects: Bob Wheaton
Jill’s former partner and BBC Editor Bob Wheaton was investigated by the police in connection to her murder. Jill’s fiancée Alan Farthing mentioned that a large sum of money, over £30,000, was given by Jill to Mr Wheaton. That had to be investigated.
Crimewatch presenter Jill had contributed towards Bob buying his house by the river. At the time, they lived in the house together. At the time of Jill’s death, Bob still owed Jill the money.
However, Bob was able to show he had plenty of money. He insisted that the money was a gift from Jill, and he wasn’t indebted to her.
Hamish explains: “We concluded he had nothing to do with the murder at all.”
Was Jill Dando’s followed on the day she died?
Senior Investigating Officer Hamish Campbell also tells the Netflix documentary that police were forced to look into who knew Jill’s whereabouts on the day she died.
He says: “To know that Jill Dando would be at her house, 29 Gowan Avenue in Fulham, at 11.30am, you would have to have been following her. She visited there rarely, as she lived with her fiancée in West London.”
However, after watching more than 400 hours worth of CCTV footage, the police could categorically say that she was not followed. So how did the killer know she was going to be a Gowan Avenue that morning? Who knew she was going to be where she was? There was one person alone – Mr Jon Roseman – who was her agent.
Jill Dando suspects: Her agent Jon Roseman
According to true crime series, Jill’s agent Jon Roseman was the only person who knew her whereabouts that morning. The only reason she went to the house that day was to pick up some faxes that had been sent from Roseman’s office.
In a chilling twist, Jon had also written a book about an agent whose clients were murdered under mysterious circumstances, one of them being shot.
However, after extensive investigations, Jon was ruled out as a suspect. In fact, the police came to the decision that none of Jill’s inner group of people was responsible for her murder.
Serbian man claimed to be murderer
Just hours after Jill’s death, a man called the BBC claiming to be behind the star’s death. The man said he was Serbian, and was reacting to her appeal for Kosovo aid on Crimewatch.
This theory was a popular one at the time. It was believed that the BBC presenter Jill Dando was one of two journalists “executed” by a Serbian hitman in a revenge attack.
A Serbian widow made the allegation, whose husband was killed in similar circumstances just 15 days before Jill’s murder in April 1999. Branka Prpa said she was convinced her husband and the former Crimewatch presenter were targeted by the same killer after “insulting” Slobodan Milosevic’s regime.
Her husband Slavko Curuvija was also a TV presenter, and an outspoken critic of the dictator. He was shot in the head outside his Belgrade home on April 11.
According to historian Miss Prpa, Miss Dando’s appearance in a BBC appeal on behalf of Kosovan-Albanian refugees made her a target for the hitman.
Did a ‘misguided individual’ shoot Jill Dando?
Jill Dando’s brother ruled out the theory she was murdered by a “Serbian hit man” and has claimed a “misguided individual” shot his sister.
Nigel Dando told Lorraine Kelly on her morning show in 2019 that “someone just struck lucky”. He said: “I tend to think it wasn’t a professional hit.
“I think you can rule out a Serbian hitman, that was a popular theory doing the rounds at time. I believe it was just a misguided individual who was in that street on the day with a firearm and knew where Jill lived and just struck lucky.
“For whatever reason that person was in that street and for whatever reason that person did what they did – I doubt that we’ll ever know now because of the passage of time. But I think it was a relatively random act – someone just struck lucky.”
Was the killer someone in jail because of Crimewatch?
Another theory was that her presenting job on Crimewatch was the cause of her death. Jill Dando’s former partner Bob Wheaton “saw BBC Crimewatch show as a threat” and warned her not to do it.
The new Netflix documentary reveals that “someone in jail because of Crimewatch could have killed Jill Dando”. Although it’s an interesting theory, the police weren’t able to back this up with any evidence.
Who was Jill Dando’s stalker?
During episode 1 of Netflix’s Who Killed Jill Dando?, viewers see footage of Jill’s Crimewatch co-presenter Nick Ross. He mentions that Jill was being stalked.
In the archive footage, he says: “There had been somebody stalking her, which ‘irritated her” from time to time.” In fact, “loner” Barry George quickly became a key suspect.
Barry lived half a mile from the home of the 37-year-old Holiday presenter. He was said to have had an obsession with female presenters, including Jill. He had previously been convicted of attempted rape and assault on a woman and was known to the police.
Unemployed, Barry also had a fascination with guns. When a single particle of firearm discharge residue – a speck that matched the ammunition used in the killing – was found on his jacket, he was subsequently arrested.
Did Barry George kill Jill Dando?
Police arrested Barry George after police officers seized a jacket from his flat with a tiny quantity of gun powder residue in the pocket. A jury subsequently convicted him for Jill’s murder.
The jury was told six witnesses had made positive or partial identifications of George as being in Gowan Avenue, where Dando lived, on the morning she was shot.
He was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison but was granted a retrial which heard the “neutral” particle was deemed so inconsequential that it was inadmissible as evidence.
After spending eight years in jail, he was eventually acquitted and released. George walked free from court in 2009 and moved to Ireland over fears for his life.
Who Killed Jill Dando? streams from Tuesday, September 26, 2023 on Netflix.
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