Dando `gun' fiction angers police

POLICE HUNTING Jill Dando's murderer are growing increasingly concerned about "speculative" reporting which may further hamper the already stalled investigation.

Privately, members of the 48-strong team of police investigators fear that reports "based purely on rumour and speculation" may be proving counter- productive.

Their concerns follow reports yesterday which said that a Scotland Yard supergrass will name the killer - at a price. A spokesman for the Met described the claim as "fiction".

Another newspaper reported that, in a bid to unearth clues, police had set up a surveillance operation at a Midlands pub where the killer bought the gun. This revelation prompted another strenuous denial.

"This type of reporting is very unhelpful. There was no surveillance in Birmingham and there is no definitive line of inquiry," a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said.

"The weapon used in the shooting is still outstanding. All of which we stated when asked," he said.

Faced with such a high-profile case, a huge level of public interest, and a lack of genuine leads to report it is likely that speculative reporting will continue.

Despite the publicity surrounding the case, the massive police manpower and a television reconstruction on Crimewatch UK, the very programme Ms Dando hosted, officers admit that the investigation is moving slowly.

Det Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell, who is heading the investigation at Kensington Police Station has still not ruled out that Jill Dando fell victim to a stalker or that her death was the result of a personal grudge.

The organised crime link, which was suggested in both contentious articles, is by no means the strongest line of investigation.

The popular BBC presenter was shot on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, west London, on April 26. She died as a result of a single bullet wound to the head.