My brother was denied justice, says killer's sister

THE sister of an Irishman found guilty of murdering TV presenter Jill Dando said her brother had been denied justice yesterday after he lost his appeal against the conviction in a London court.

Michelle Diskin, sister of Ms Dando’s killer Barry George, 42, said she was appalled by the decision of three judges not to grant the appeal.

“This is just compounding the travesty that was last year’s conviction. This is not justice. This could happen to anybody - your brother, your aunt, your child - because they have taken evidence and used it and there’s no evidence to convict Barry. This is just appalling,” Mrs Diskin said.

She had flown to London yesterday from her home in Ballincollig, Co Cork, to be with her brother as he awaited the decision.

George was sentenced to life in jail last year for the April 1999 shooting of the 37-year-old Crimewatch presenter outside her flat in Fulham, west London.

He had always protested his innocence. George’s lawyers contested forensic evidence saying that a speck of firearms residue found in his pocket, which measured less than half a thousandth of an inch, was unreliable evidence.

They also claimed there was no fingerprint, footprint or DNA evidence proving he was the killer. His lawyers also raised objections to the way the trial was conducted, in particular the way the jury reached its decisions and the way the case was handled by the judge Mr Justice Gage.

However, judges at the Court of Appeal in London yesterday said there was a general consistency in the identification evidence and accepted the prosecution’s submission that it was inconceivable that there could have been two such men of similar appearance behaving in a similar manner near Ms Dando’s home around the time of the murder.

George’s lawyers had tried to prove that forensic evidence at the original trial was inadmissible and the identification of George was flawed. But appeal judges upheld the findings of the murder trial jury and rejected George’s claim that he had nothing to do with Dando’s death.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, reading from a 60-page written judgement, said: “The important thing in this case is the evidence as a whole. Looking at the evidence as a whole we have no doubt as to the correctness of the conviction.”

On hearing the judgment George shook his head when he was told he would have to go back to jail to resume serving a life sentence.

He lived just half a mile from Miss Dando’s home and was discovered by police making routine inquiries.

Police claimed George had an obsession with guns, celebrities and the BBC, for which he had worked as a messenger in 1976.

He had learned about weapons after enlisting in the Territorial Army, and had also spent time at a local pistol club.

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