BBC sets up Dando grief counselling line for viewers

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The Independent Online
THE BBC is setting up a "victim support" telephone line forviewers upset by tomorrow'sCrimewatch UK programme - the first since the murder of its presenter, Jill Dando.

"We will have the same number of lines staffed by BBC and police volunteers. We want useful information on Jill's appeal but we will be setting up a victim support line for those who want to talk about their grief," a BBC spokesman said.

The show, which most BBC insiders agree will be "tense" and difficult for those who worked with Ms Dando, will be presented alone by Nick Ross. He will open the programme with an item on Ms Dando's murder and an appeal focusing on the sightings of men described by witnesses in Fulham and Putney, south-west London, minutes after the killing.

Reconstructions will be screened without using a look-a-like for the 37-year-old, who was shot on the doorstep of her home on 26 April.

The programme's executive producer, Seetha Kumar, said: "As a tribute to Jill we will not be opening the programme with titles or music. At the end of the programme there will be a brief and simple tribute to Jill from viewers, victims and the police - but otherwise it will be the usual programme."

Scotland Yard detectives are considering flying to South Africa for clues on Ms Dando's murderer. They want to question everybody she met on her six-day working visit to Johannesburg in 1996. They believe the key to the murderer may lie within a part of the presenter's private life yet to be revealed.

One of these areas is what happened while she was filming the Holiday show in the Kruger National Game Park.

The new trawl of her private life reflects a growing conviction that she knew the man responsible for her killing. Police have checked the bank accounts of people who knew Ms Dando for withdrawals of large sums of money that could have been used to pay a hitman.

They are also now considering whether an e-fit picture issued two weeks ago may have been the face of an accomplice, and not the gunman.

Witness statements suggest that at least two men, and possibly up to four, were involved in the murder.