It was a murder that horrified the nation in 1999 – the BBC TV presenter Jill Dando, who was one of the broadcaster's most recognisable faces at the time, was shot dead on her west London doorstep. Two decades later the case remains unsolved.
Tonight, to mark the 20th anniversary of the journalist's death, the BBC will air a one-off hourlong documentary exploring her high-profile killing.
The Murder of Jill Dando airs at 9pm on BBC One and contains never-before-seen material related to the investigation, which turned into one of the Metropolitan Police's biggest ever. If you were a child of the '90s, you may remember seeing Dando's face all over the news even more often after her untimely death at just 37 years of age.
Who was Dando?
Jill Dando was a popular national journalist, newsreader and presenter of some of the BBC's flagship shows in the '90s, including the Breakfast News, the Six O'Clock News and Crimewatch (which would later reconstruct her murder in a bid to help police find her killer). She was engaged to gynaecologist, Alan Farthing at the time of her killing, with the pair due to be married later that year.
She was shot in the head on her doorstep in Fulham, west London, at 11.30am on 26th April 1999, and her murder "reverberated across the country," as the BBC describes, "from the millions of television viewers used to seeing Jill in their living rooms, all the way up to the heart of government – even Her Majesty the Queen commented on Jill’s death."
Who's involved in the documentary?
People who were close to Dando, including her family, friends and colleagues, as well as professionals intimately involved in the case. Dando's brother Nigel, a journalist who reportedly heard his younger sister had been murdered from a TV news bulletin, and her cousin Judith, both feature in the documentary, with Nigel saying he doesn't believe he will ever know who killed Jill. "It is disappointing but…I don’t blame the police at all, when you see the maze of material they had to deal with and the decisions they had to take," he tells interviewers.
Dando's former colleagues, Jennie Bond and Martyn Lewis also feature. Bond, who was tasked with announcing her colleague's death on live TV at the time, tells the programme that the case "makes [her] blood run cold even now, it's just awful."
Viewers will also learn how BBC Director General Tony Hall, who was the corporation's head of news in 1999, received three death threats over the phone in the weeks following Dando's killing. "I listened to the voice of one of them, which said basically, I was next," Hall tells the programme, adding that he had "no idea" how credible the threat was. "There are often copycat things that happen after these sorts of events, and the police took it seriously."
Also interviewed is Hamish Campbell, a senior investigating officer on the case, who admits it is unlikely ever to be solved. "Do I think somebody will come back to court, probably not. [Will somebody new come to court?] No... no," he tells the documentary. Campbell also gives an insight into the day-to-day goings-on of the investigation. "Sometimes I felt we were a day away from solving it and other times, I thought 'no, we're a long way away'," he says.
Why does the case remain unsolved?
A local man named Barry George was arrested in 2000 and convicted of Dando's murder in July 2001. He spent eight years in prison before being acquitted at a retrial in August 2008. The jury at George's retrial admitted that key evidence that detectives had relied on – one particle of gunshot residue in a coat pocket retrieved from George's house – wasn't enough to place him at the murder scene.
More than 2,000 people were named as potential suspects at the time. To this day, theories abound as to who murdered Dando, including the belief that she was killed by the IRA, while others imply that she was targeted because of her job on the BBC's crime programme Crimewatch, which aimed to help the police catch criminals.
The Murder of Jill Dando airs at 9pm on Tuesday 2nd April and will be available on BBC iPlayer afterwards.