The shocking true story of Jill Dando’s unsolved murder
(Credit: Netflix)

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The shocking true story of Jill Dando’s unsolved murder

A fresh wave of intrigue surrounds one of Britain’s most enigmatic murder mysteries as the new Netflix documentary series, Who Killed Jill Dando? revisits the chilling events of April 26th, 1999. 

On that fateful morning, Jill Dando, the radiant star of British television, was tragically gunned down on her London doorstep, plunging the nation into one of its most extensive homicide investigations ever. 

A local resident of the area, Barry George, faced conviction and a lengthy prison sentence for the crime. However, after serving eight years behind bars, he was ultimately acquitted as a result of a successful appeal and subsequent retrial.

Directed by four-time BAFTA nominee Marcus Plowright and executive produced by Emma Cooper, this true crime documentary seeks to shed new light on the still-unsolved case, offering hope to Dando’s grieving family.

Who was Jill Dando?

Jill Dando was not just another television personality; she was a beloved newscaster and the host of the BBC’s popular show Crimewatch, among other programs. Her charm and resemblance to Princess Diana made her an icon in her own right, endearing her to the British public. As her funeral procession drew hundreds of mourners, one observer said, “Diana was our rose, but Jill was our sunflower.”

What happened to Jill Dando?

The documentary begins with a panicked recording, capturing the voice of a passerby who stumbled upon Dando, collapsed and bleeding on her doorstep in Fulham, London. The caller can be heard saying, “Confidentially, it looks like it’s Jill Dando,” before expressing shock a moment later. “Oh my god, no, I don’t think she’s alive.”

On the morning of April 26th, 1999, Dando, then 37, left her partner Alan Farthing’s Chiswick residence and drove alone to her home at 29 Gowan Avenue, Fulham, which she was in the process of selling. At approximately 11:32 a.m., as she approached her front door, tragedy struck. An assailant attacked her from behind, subduing her and forcing her to the ground. In a horrifying moment, the attacker fired a single fatal shot at point-blank range, striking her left temple. The gunshot ended her life instantly, leaving her lifeless body discovered roughly fourteen minutes later by her neighbour Helen Doble.

Authorities were alerted at 11:47 a.m., and Dando was transported to Charing Cross Hospital, where her death was officially confirmed at 1:03 p.m. BST.

Over the course of three gripping episodes, Who Killed Jill Dando? retraces Dando’s steps leading up to that fateful morning. The series delves into her rise in television, featuring intimate interviews with her brother Nigel; her then-fiancé, gynaecologist Alan Farthing; and her BBC colleagues who had the gut-wrenching task of announcing her death.

So, who killed Jill Dando?

The documentary follows the extensive investigation that followed her murder. Lead investigator Hamish Campbell and numerous journalists who covered the case recount the exhaustive process of speaking to over 4,000 individuals and sifting through countless hours of CCTV footage.

Initially, Barry George, a man with a history of bizarre behaviour, was convicted of the murder. However, his conviction was later overturned due to flawed gunshot residue evidence, leading to his release after eight years of incarceration. The question of who killed Jill Dando remains hauntingly unanswered even though Campbell is still convinced it was George who pulled the trigger, as he proclaims in the documentary.

Dando’s neighbour, Richard Hughes, heard a scream, initially assuming it was someone startling another person. He didn’t hear any gunfire. Peering out of his front window, Hughes unknowingly became the sole witness to the murderer—a Caucasian male, approximately 40 years old, standing at six feet tall, walking away from Dando’s residence.

Where is Jill Dando buried?

Jill Dando’s final resting place is at the Ebdon Road Crematorium and Cemetery, situated in Weston Super Mare, a town in North Somerset, United Kingdom.

You can watch Who Killed Jill Dando? on Netflix.