Jill Dando suspects Who Killed Jill Dando

So, who killed Jill Dando? Key theories about what happened to the beloved BBC presenter

The case has been unsolved for 24 years


The murder of adored TV presenter Jill Dando has mystified experts since the tragic shooting took place in front of her own home in 1999. And now, 24 years since the unsolved murder of the 37-year-old Crimewatch host took place, the case has captivated us again with the coming of Netflix’s latest true crime documentary: Who Killed Jill Dando?

Jill’s shocking murder prompted the biggest murder inquiry conducted by the Metropolitan Police and the UK’s largest criminal investigation since the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. And, although after officers interviewing more than 2,500 people, the identity of her killer is still a mystery – here are all the key theories:

A Serbian hitman

Jill Dando theories

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One of the most long-lasting theories about Jill’s murder is that she was killed by a Serbian crime gang in retaliation against her coverage of the Serb-Kosovo war. The theory emerged as, 20 days before her death, Jill had presented a BBC Kosovo Crisis Appeal, which raised more than £1million for refugees fleeing violence in 24 hours.

Just days before Jill was killed, British forces had carried out strikes in Belgrade and it later emerged, days after her death, the BBC’s former head of news Tony Hall had been phoned by a man with an Eastern European accent,  saying: “Your prime minister [Tony] Blair butchered innocent young people. We butcher back.”

Although the Serbian hitman theory was written about for weeks in the newspapers at the time, the call to Tony Hall is now considered to be a hoax and many experts have pointed out if a Serbian crime gang wanted to make a hit on a journalist, they probably would have chosen a BBC correspondent who was actually working in Belgrade at the time.

Barry George

Jill Dando Barry George

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Two years after Jill was tackled to the ground and shot in the temple outside of her own home, a convicted sex offender called Barry George was convicted and sentenced to life for the crime. But eight years later he was released after an appeal and a retrial.

Barry lived 500 yards away from Jill and an anonymous tip-off named Barry to the police the day after Jill was shot. A neighbour also alleged she saw him on the street the day of the murder. But it took officers ten months to officially consider him a suspect.

Barry lived 500 yards away from Jill and an anonymous tip-off named Barry to the police the day after Jill was shot. A neighbour also alleged she saw him on the street the day of the murder. But it took officers ten months to officially consider him a suspect.

When the Jill Dando investigation first started, there was a lot of attention on her dating history as people wondered whether she’d been killed by an angry ex-boyfriend. Detectives went through Jill’s diaries, phone calls and interviewed her social circle to see if there was anything to uncover. But the line of enquiry ultimately came to nothing.

Dangerous crime gangs 

Jill Dando theories

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Because of her work on Crimewatch, detectives wondered whether Jill could have been victim of an attack by a calculated hitman, employed by a crime gang with a vengeance.  Police spoke to thirty people who could have a motive to hurt Jill and many more convicts already in prison were interviewed for information.

Mark Williams-Thomas, an investigative journalist and detective at Surrey police, even publicly suggested in 2015 that Jill had been murdered by a London crime boss called Mr Big to “send out a direct, bloody message to others: ‘Do not take on organised crime’.

However, there was skepticism over this theory as, although Jill’s shooting did appear like a professional hit, the supposed assassin had also left shell casing at the scene – an amateur move.

A revenge attack

Jill Dando theories

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There was also a theory Jill’s murder had been revenge for looking into a paedophile ring at the BBC in the ’90s. The conspiracy emerged after the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal broke in 2012 but the BBC said it had found no evidence supporting the claim.

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