Crimewatch was a British TV show produced by the BBC. The show reconstructs major unsolved crimes to provide information to the public which may eventually help in solving the cases. But what happened to the show’s host?
Host of BBC’s unsolved crimes show “Crimewatch,” Jill Dando, was murdered in 1999. The show reconstructed her murder and was able to convict a suspect. The suspect was acquitted after six years, leaving her case still unsolved.
Who was Jill Dando?
Jill Wendy Dando was born on November 9, 1961, in Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, England. She was the daughter of Jack and Winifred Mary Jean Dando and the sister of BBC Radio Bristol journalist Nigel Dando.
Dando’s career as a journalist started when she joined her father and brother in the local newspaper Weston Mercury where she was a print journalist for five years. She joined BBC as a newsreader for BBC Radio Devon in 1985. In the same year, Dando transferred to BBC South West, where she presented Spotlight South West, a regional magazine program.
After two years, she transferred to TSW, then to BBC Spotlight in Plymouth, and in 1988, Dando transitioned from regional to national television. The journalist presented BBC television news, specifically the short on-the-hour bulletins that aired on BBC1 and BBC2 well into the nineties.
She presented other programs like Breakfast Time, Breakfast News, the BBC One O’Clock News, the Six O’Clock News, and the travel program Holiday. Dando also was the host of BBC’s unsolved crimes show, Crimewatch.
Dando was considered one of the high-profile on-screen staff of the network, having been named the 1997 BBC Personality of the Year. She continued to be a journalist and television personality until her murder on April 26, 1999. (Source: People Pill)
At 11:30 am on April 26, 1999, Dando was walking towards the front door of her house in Fulham, London. She was then shot once in the head. Witnesses report seeing a man with thick black hair and wearing a waxed jacket fleeing Dando’s house. (Source: The Week)
At 1:03 pm, the journalist was declared dead at Charing Cross Hospital. The Metropolitan Police, led by detective chief inspector Hamish Campbell started investigating the crime. BBC show Crimewatch, which ironically was the show Dando presented over the years, created a documentary to investigate the host’s murder. (Source: BBC)
The death of Dando affected the nation. Despite being a celebrity, she was seen as a friendly and average person, making her well-loved by the public. Thousands of people flocked to her service, wanting to pay their respects to the journalist. Reverend Roger Collins, who led the service, stated that Dando had a lot of friends and that he didn’t know anyone else who had lesser enemies than her. (Source: True Crime Edition)
Finding the Murderer
Soon after, the police took an interest in a certain individual named Barry George. George lived near Dando’s home and was known to be a loner. The police then searched his house upon the issuance of a search warrant.
In 2000, George was arrested due to a single particle of gunshot residue found in a coat similar to a witness’s description of a man seen walking away from Dando’s home when she was murdered. A year later, George was found guilty and sentenced to prison.
After five years, George’s legal counsel made a new submission to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. The team believed that too much weight was put on the single particle of gunshot residue found in George’s coat. George’s case was reviewed and put on trial. The Court of Appeal found that the residue was inconclusive and moved for George’s release. He was released on August 1, 2008.
Up to this day, Dando’s murder remains unsolved, like many of what she presented in her show. Dando’s family and friends are hopeful that the killer may be caught, but the police have already considered her case cold. (Source: True Crime Edition)