Dando Shooting: Killer waited an hour to strike

JILL DANDO was shot dead by someone using a hollow-point bullet fired from a 9mm handgun fitted with a silencer - details that point overwhelmingly to the work of a hitman.

Police said yesterday that they believed the killer waited for an hour outside the television presenter's home in Fulham, west London, for her to return from a shopping trip. They spoke of seven witnesses who may have seen the suspect, including a window cleaner - who thought the man was an estate agent waiting for a client - another cleaner and a mother with her child. The man made no attempt to hide or avoid being spotted, pacing up and down the road.

The Independent understands that while detectives are investigating other possibilities, they believe the killing was almost certainly committed by a professional.

Yesterday, police confirmed that Ms Dando, 37, had been shot in the side of the head at very close range with a single bullet from a semi-automatic handgun. The shot caused massive injuries and Ms Dando died a little over an hour later. The use of a hollow-pointed bullet is extremely rare.

Detectives are focusing their attention on reports of a well-groomed, smartly dressed man, carrying a mobile phone, who was seen in the road where Ms Dando lived just seconds before she was fatally wounded. The same man was seen briskly leaving the scene.

A man fitting a similar description was seen a little later climbing over railings on the bank of the river Thames a few minutes walk from Ms Dando's two-storey home. Police said the man may have been using a disguise - in particular large dark-coloured glasses which one witness noticed and said looked too big.

Then, possible a few minutes later, another man waiting at a bus stop in Fulham Palace Road saw a man running down the road. He was described as wearing a dark blue suit and sweating profusely.

Yesterday Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell, the officer heading the murder inquiry, said: "At this stage we will look at every avenue. A whole range of matters will be looked at. [Ms Dando's] private life will be one of the areas that will be explored."

Det Ch Insp Campbell worked with Crimewatch, the BBC television show that Ms Dando presented, during the investigation into the murder of a 12-year-old Macedonian girl in Hammersmith, west London, in May 1997.

As a routine part of the inquiry, detectives will speak to all of Ms Dando's former boyfriends, including Simon Bassil who met the presenter on location at the Kruger National Park in South Africa where he worked as a game warden.

Detectives yesterday spoke to Mr Bassil at his home in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Now a computer analyst, Mr Bassil came to Britain from Africa in 1997. Ms Dando broke off their relationship soon after. "I have spoken to police. They have come to my house today," he said. "I found out about Jill's death from my mum. It's all speculation at the moment about her killing. I have spoken to her family and expressed my condolences."

Ms Dando was shot at around 11.45am on Monday on the doorstep of her home after returning via Hammersmith from the Chiswick home of her fiance, Alan Farthing. She was found by a neighbour who heard her scream and when he rushed downstairs he found Ms Dando slumped against the door, covered in blood and unconscious.

Det Ch Insp Campbell said yesterday that there were a number of reasons why people did not report hearing a shot. But it is understood that officers believe the killer almost certainly used a silencer. One witness reported hearing a clicking noise, a sound associated with guns fitted with such devices.

Police sources said yesterday that a semi-automatic handgun fitted with a silencer and ammunition could be bought illegally for pounds 1,000. Without a silencer the gun - most likely a Browning, Glock or a Tanfoglio - could be purchased for as little as pounds 500.

It is understood that Ms Dando's attacker used a "quarter-tipped" bullet which are designed to spread out on impact causing maximum damage. Such bullets cannot be bought legally.

Police are also investigating whether Ms Dando's killing could be the result of a grudge borne against her because of her work with the Crimewatch programme. Officers have spoken to co-presenter Nick Ross and other members of the programme's team about security in the wake of the shooting. However, their initial inquiries through police informants have revealed nothing about anyone trying to obtain a hitman "to do Jill Dando".

Officers are also investigating the possibility that Ms Dando was killed by a stalker, although they said yesterday that she had made no recent complaint.

Medical experts said that the stalker theory could be valid. They said details of her death could fit in with someone who had become obsessed by her, and who might even be suffering from De Clerembault's syndrome, a rare form of sexual obsession.

The type of gun used was banned following the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland in March 1996, but hundreds are believed still to be in circulation. Criminologist Kate Broadhurst, of the Scarman Centre for the Study of Public Order, Leicester, said: "The sawn off shotgun is the weapon of choice for the bank robber... this is the weapon of the drug dealer and the weapon of the professional criminal." The type of bullet used in the attack has only been used in a handful of incidents in Britain.

Mr Campbell said that his team was examining a range of possible motives for the murder. "It could either be a stalker or a hitman. However, there are many theories to be explored and nothing will be left untouched. Everything is being looked at."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Pandas may be more sociable than previously thought
news
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss