Jill Dando murder: Man wanted for questioning ‘bears resemblance to assassin’, 25th anniversary investigation finds

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A new investigation 25 years after the murder of journalist Jill Dando has found a suspect ‘bears a resemblance’ to a Serbian assassin

A man wanted for questioning in the Jill Dando murder case bears a resemblance to a Serbian secret services assassin, an investigation conducted to mark the 25th anniversary of her death has found.

The unidentified person was caught on CCTV following the gunman’s likely escape route after the Crimewatch presenter was shot dead. That person became known as ‘Man X’ after the murder, which took place on April 26 1999. Facial comparison expert Emi Polito has found a number of similarities between ‘Man X’ in the CCTV and twice-convicted murderer Milorad Ulemek, who is serving 40 years in a Serbian prison, an exclusive investigation by ‘The Mirror’ has found.

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At the time Dando, a 37-year-old journalist, television presenter and newsreader, was killed, the now 56-year-old led a feared squad of hitmen responsible for targeting opponents of dictator Slobodan Milosevic. According to Polito, the assassin bears a striking resemblance to the “sweating man” e-fit of a suspect who got on a bus in Fulham, south-west London, minutes after Dandon was shot outside her nearby home.

Polito, who gives expert evidence for the police, said ‘Man X’ and Ulemek have a similar shaped mouth, chin, hairline and right sideburn, while the general shape and sizes of their noses and right ear were the same. His report concluded: “Within the imagery limitations, no differences were found between ‘Man X’ and Mr [Ulemek].” He could only give limited support to them being the same person, however, because of a lack of detail in the blurry still of the CCTV image.

He said: “There are a number of similarities between the two men . . . in particular the appearance of the mouth and of the hairline that add some light weight to the contention that they are the same person.” He added that it may be possible to make a more definitive finding if better quality CCTV was obtained, and also highlighted a dent on the bridge of Ulemek’s nose which is not visible in the CCTV image but is evident in an e-fit created by an eye witness at the time, which was released by the police.

Serbian secret services assassin Milorad Ulemek. Photo by Getty Images.Serbian secret services assassin Milorad Ulemek. Photo by Getty Images.
Serbian secret services assassin Milorad Ulemek. Photo by Getty Images.

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

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Barry George, the man tried and convicted of the TV star’s murder only to be cleared after spending eight years in jail, has urged police to investigate the findings by the publication. George, 64, said: “If he’s the person who committed that crime then he should face the full letter of the law and be brought from Serbia to the UK and be dealt with through the courts.”

Michael Mansfield KC, who defended George during the first trial, called for review in to the findings and for the investigation in to Dando’s killing to be re-opened. “There was a recent Netflix show called Who Killed Jill Dando? Well, you may have the answer,” he added. He went on: "The Metropolitan Police has a duty to Jill Dando's family and loved ones, to Barry George and the public to fully investigate this new line of inquiry uncovered by the Daily Mirror. This should include a full forensic examination of the original CCTV of the unidentified man, all recovered finger and palm prints and to ascertain the movements of Ulemek at the time."

When Dando, who would now be 62 years old, was killed on the doorstep on her London home, the Yugoslav war was on-going. British planes were bombing Serbia as part of a Nato campaign and Dando had made an appeal for Kosovan refugees who were being murdered by Milosevic’s forces. Within hours of her death, a call was made claiming the murder was in response to the bombings.

Ulemek’s lawyer Aleksander Kovacevic said his client did not wish to 'participate' when asked if he murdered Jill. He wrote: “I inform you that my client has been made aware of this and that he is not interested in participating.”

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Dando’s death shocked the nation, and her murder remains one of Britain’s most notorious unsolved cases. Friday (April 26) will mark 25 years since the crime.

Scotland Yard said in a statement to ‘The Mirror’: "On the 25th anniversary of Jill Dando’s murder, our thoughts remain with her family and all those affected by her death. In the years since her murder, the investigation has been subject to numerous reviews, aiming to identify whether matters could be progressed with advances in technology and forensics.

"The investigation is now in an inactive phase, which means that it is not currently subject to routine reviews. However no unsolved murder is ever closed and detectives would consider any new information provided to assess whether it represented a new and realistic line of enquiry.'