Jury selection begins in Dando trial

Potential jurors in the Barry George retrial in London were told today that they would be excluded if they knew murder victim Jill Dando.

George (aged 48) of Fulham, west London, denies shooting the BBC television presenter dead in April 1999 and is facing his second trial.

Mr Justice Griffith Williams told potential jurors at the Old Bailey that they would be given a questionnaire with five points that could bar them.

The judge said told them: “The defendant is Barry George. He is charged with the murder of Jill Dando, the well-known journalist and television personality.

“This will be the second trial of Mr George for this alleged offence.

“Many of you, I suspect, will have read of the first trial and the case generally because it attracted, at the time and since, a great deal of media interest.”

That knowledge would not prevent them from serving because they would pledge to try the case on what they heard in court.

But he added: “If any of you know anything in addition to that, let me know when your name is called out.”

Those banned from service are Metropolitan Police, employees of the force, those who knew Miss Dando and her then fiancé, doctor Alan Farthing, anyone who worked for the BBC and anyone who lived in the Fulham area during the last 30 years.

A panel of 20 jurors were to be selected today and the final 12 jurors sworn in tomorrow.

They will be put in charge of the case on Monday when prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw QC will address them. The trial is due to last between six to eight weeks.

The jurors are expected to visit Gowan Avenue where Miss Dando, 37, was shot in the head in as she arrived at her front door, on Tuesday.

George stood in the dock in a blue sweatshirt. George answered in a whisper when asked to confirm his name.

Miss Dando was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and first worked as a journalist on her local paper before joining the BBC.

After moving to London in 1988 she built up a huge following as a newsreader and presenter, becoming one of the best-loved faces on British television.

From 1995 Miss Dando teamed up with Nick Ross to front the BBC’s monthly 'Crimewatch' programme.

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