Jill Dando and Barry George

Barry George also used the names Paul Gadd, Thomas Palmer, Steve Majors and Barry Bulsara. Keen quizzers will have noted that Paul Gadd is Gary Glitter's real name, Steve Majors is a fusion of the first name of television's Bionic Man and the surname of the actor who played him, and Bulsara was Freddie Mercury's real surname. (Barry George often claimed to be Freddie Mercury's cousin, and changed his surname to Bulsara by deed poll.) Thomas Palmer is less obvious; he led the SAS team that stormed the Iranian Embassy in the well–publicised climax to the 1980 siege.

In the case of Jill Dando's murder, the only real evidence that the prosecution could provide against Barry George was a minute speck of material found in the pocket of a jacket that belonged to him, a year after the murder, that may or may not have been gunshot residue. The other three items that they relied on were alleged lies that George told when interviewed, an alleged attempt to provide a false alibi, and possible sightings in the neighbourhood in the hours before the murder. (Barry George's flat was about half a mile from Jill Dando's house in Fulham.) But he was known to the police as "an oddball loner fixated by women, celebrities – and guns".

This article in The Guardian – published following Barry George's original conviction – has a lot more detail on his life up to that point.

© Haydn Thompson 2018