The man wrongly convicted for murdering Jill Dando says his 'conscience is clear' regarding the killing of the TV presenter in 1999.
Barry George told a new ITV Documentary, Jill Dando - The 20 Year Mystery, that he knows he did not commit the crime and that "the truth of the real killer is out there somewhere".
George, who has epilepsy and learning difficulties, was jailed in 2001 for the killing but was acquitted at a retrial seven years later.
Asked if he thinks there are people out there who still think he is responsible for the murder, George says: “There are probably a select few people who may think, ‘Okay, he’s been through the case. He’s got off on a technicality, probably, or whatever.’ But my conscience was clear - I knew I hadn’t done it.”
Many of Ms Dando's friends give an insight into the TV presenter. Sir Cliff Richard explains how he was planning to provide the car for her upcoming wedding to Dr Alan Farthing.
“She was going to use my Rolls Royce to arrive in the church," Sir Cliff says. "But of course, you know, the sad story is that that didn't happen. And she was taken from us rather cruelly I feel, it just doesn’t make sense. And to this day it's still a mystery to me that they haven't been able to find her killer.”
The documentary also uncovers new theories and leads in the search for the real killer of Ms Dando.
Possible links to Serbia are unearthed in the programme. When Ms Dando was was murdered, Britain was a key partner in Nato's bombing of the country, which was engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Kosovar Albanians. Three weeks prior to her death Ms Dando fronted an appeal to raise money for Kosovan refugees.
Police files contain intelligence that Ms Dando was murdered as an act of revenge for the bombing of the state broadcaster, which killed 16 innocent people.
The documentary also unearths potential police failures. A man appears to have phoned the BBC on numerous occasions claiming the murder was committed as revenge. Although police possessed details of these calls they never managed to connect them to the same person.
The first call was apparently made on the day of the murder. A summary of the message found by the programme said: “RE THE MURDER OF JOURNALIST TELL YOUR PRIME MINISTER IN BELGRADE 15 KILLED SO 14 MORE TO GO.”
Just after 11am the day after the murder (April 27), the same man is believed to have made another call to the BBC, saying: "Yesterday I called to add a few more numbers to the list because your government and in particular your Prime Minister Blair murdered, butchered 17 innocent young people… He butchered, we butcher back. The first one you had yesterday. The next one will be [head of BBC News] Tony Hall.”
The police suspected the same man made another call with a similar message on April 28, saying: “Listen you and the BBC are the voice of your government that's why your reporter is dead because your government killed 17 innocent people.”
The programme uncovers further potential links to Serbian warlord Arkan, as well as to major UK criminals including evidence about the bullet used in Jill’s murder. The police did not think the Serbian theory was credible. They say the case remains open so they can’t comment other than to say they will explore any new information that becomes available.
- Watch Jill Dando - The 20 Year Mystery is on ITV at 9pm on Thursday