Who Killed Jill Dando? Mystery Lingers 25 Years After British Broadcaster's Murder

The beloved British broadcaster was found murdered on her doorstep 25 years ago from yesterday

<p>Colin Davey/Getty</p> Jill Dando

Colin Davey/Getty

Jill Dando

It’s been a quarter century since England was rocked by one of the most high-profile killings in the country’s history.

Beloved British broadcaster Jill Dando was murdered 25 years ago from yesterday, on April 26, 1999, marking another grim anniversary in a homicide case that remains unsolved.

Dando, who was 37 years old at the time of her midday murder, was shot to death on her front doorstep. Her body was discovered by a neighbor outside her Fulham, London, home about 15 minutes after the shooting, allowing her killer to escape the scene undetected.

Fingers have been pointed at multiple suspects over the years, and a list of theories — some plausible, some conspiratorial and some downright outlandish — have swirled since the day Dando was killed, an event that shocked the British public who grew accustomed to watching her on television throughout the 1990s.

The journalist’s murder was the subject of a handful of series over the years, including an investigation by the BBC and a three-part true crime documentary which premiered on Netflix last September, titled Who Killed Jill Dando?

To this day, that question still haunts investigators, fans, and most of all, Dando's family. Here’s what happened.

<p>Tom Wargacki/WireImage</p> Jill Dando

Tom Wargacki/WireImage

Jill Dando

Who was Jill Dando?

Dando was a celebrated British journalist, known for her vibrant and empathetic personality, along with her striking style that was even said to influence Princess Diana.

Born in Somerset, England, in 1961, Dando went on to study journalism at the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education before taking a job as a reporter for the local Weston Mercury. Soon after, Dando landed a gig as a print reporter for the BBC and slowly began taking on opportunities to present the news on television, catching the attention of producers.

She received an offer to join BBC’s national news broadcast team in 1988, launching her an illustrious and influential television career that would see her go on to become one of the most recognizable newscasters in the country throughout the 1990s.

Dando hosted several BBC news and talk show programs throughout her career, from Breakfast Time to the BBC’s primetime Six O’Clock News, to the true crime show Crimewatch, which she began hosting from 1995 until the time of her death four years later.

Her role as the host of Crimewatch later led to several theories soon after her murder that a former subject of the show wanted to kill Dando in revenge for her reporting.

<p>Colin Davey/Getty</p> Jill Dando

Colin Davey/Getty

Jill Dando

How did she die?

Dando was found shot to death “at point blank range” by an unknown assailant on her doorstep, according to The Guardian. Dando was found with a single bullet wound to the head and pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.

News of her murder was announced by her colleagues at BBC during an emotional broadcast later that evening, as recounted in Netflix's three-part documentary series released last year.

Investigators offered a £250,000 reward for information leading to her murderer's arrest, according to Sky News. But despite pleas for information, investigators' trail on a potential killer has remained cold for most of the past 25 years, and Dando's death remains one of Britain’s most high-profile unsolved murders, according to the BBC.

<p>Dave Benett/Getty</p> Jill Dando

Dave Benett/Getty

Jill Dando

Inside the cold case

Dando’s murder remains unsolved to this day, although a renewed public interest in her case over the last few years has led to calls for the cold case investigation to pick up again.

Barry George, a convicted rapist, was falsely convicted of her murder in 2000 and served eight years in prison before a review of forensic evidence was later determined to be insufficient, making his involvement in Dando’s murder implausible, according to The Standard.

The outlet reported earlier this week that a lawyer for George, now 64, has called for investigators to reopen the case and look into another popular theory surrounding a Serbian hitman, The Daily Mirror reported. Many have theorized a hitman was involved in Dando’s death given the seemingly professional manner of her broad daylight killing.

“The Metropolitan Police has a duty to Jill’s family and loved ones, to Barry George and the public to fully investigate this new line of inquiry uncovered by the Daily Mirror,” George’s lawyer, Michael Mansfield KC, told the Mirror.

<p>Paul Buller/TV Times via Getty </p> Jill Dando

Paul Buller/TV Times via Getty

Jill Dando

A brother's theory

Dando’s unsolved killing has led to wide speculation about what might have happened to the newscaster.

Netflix’s three-part series examines many of the theories, including some that allege she was killed randomly by an ex-criminal like George, by a professional Serbian hitman hired by someone upset with her coverage of ongoing conflicts in the country throughout the late 1990s, by an obsessive stalker, or even that her death was orchestrated by someone closer to her, who knew of her whereabouts on the morning of her murder.

“I’m always interested in any new lines of inquiry about Jill’s death, especially if they might lead to somebody being arrested and convicted of her murder,” her brother Nigel Dando, now 72, told the Mirror.

Nigel also revealed his leading theory in a September 2023 interview with BBC, explaining that he believes his sister was killed by an opportunist looking to make a name for themselves.

"My theory, which I had before this documentary and more so since I've seen a greater insight into the police investigation, is that it was just someone who was in that street who may or may not have known that she lived there, who was armed at the time, who may have recognized her, who perhaps thought he or she could get five minutes of notoriety by shooting her,” Dando’s brother told the BBC. "And that is my view as to what happened, no matter how odd and strange people may think that is, it's certainly one of the theories that's abounded; that Jill was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Who Killed Jill Dando is available on Netflix.

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