Barry George was fantasist who kept pictures of TV stars, retrial told

The man accused of killing Jill Dando was an obsessive fantasist who kept photos of other television presenters including Anthea Turner and Emma Freud in his flat, a court heard.

As Barry George stood trial for the second time for the murder of the Crimewatch presenter, the Old Bailey was told he had kept 4,000 undeveloped pictures of women at his Fulham home, among them images of the presenters Emma Freud, Caron Keating and Fiona Foster. Mr George denies murder.

The jury, which was shown an album of 150 pictures that had been found in his apartment, was also told he regularly stalked young women, following them home and pestering them. One was so terrified she jumped into a stranger's car, it was claimed.

Ms Dando, 39, was shot on the doorstep of her home in west London almost a decade ago. Arriving at her front door on 26 April 1999, she was forced to the floor and shot in the head. She was found heavily bleeding and died in hospital just over an hour later.

The country was shocked by the death of the presenter of popular BBC shows such as Crimewatch and Holiday.

Yesterday, as Mr George's retrial got underway, the jury was told it was he who had lain in wait for Ms Dando. It heard that Mr George had a fixation with the BBC – having worked as a messenger there for five months in 1976 – and had even approached a staff member at a bus stop.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, for the prosecution, said Mr George's passion for guns and his habit of stalking women marked him out as "sinister". Those features, as well as his obsession with female presenters to the point of taking photographs of them on his TV, his deluded claim he was a cousin of the Queen singer Freddie Mercury and his dislike of the BBC all combined to form a "compelling case".

Mr George, 48, sat in the dock at the Old Bailey's court No 1 flanked by a clinical psychologist and three security guards. He listened as Mr Laidlaw explained that the defendant was a man with psychological problems – a self-proclaimed "mild personality disorder" – who had a number of bizarre fixations.

He had adopted the name Bulsara, Freddie Mercury's real surname, and claimed repeatedly to be his cousin. In earlier years, he had changed his name to Paul Gadd aka Gary Glitter and later Steve Majors – an amalgamation of the actor Lee Majors and his character Steve Austin in The Six Million Dollar Man. He had tracked down the birth and marriage certificates of an SAS veteran of the Iranian embassy siege and Falklands conflict and adopted his name, Thomas Palmer.

The jury was told to consider the bizarre actions of Mr George. "They raise the question: had the defendant's fascination with female presenters combined with Miss Dando's link with the BBC, and his belief that that organisation had treated Mercury badly, resulted in this irrational plan to kill?" said Mr Laidlaw.

The eight women and four men of the jury were given an album of photographs to flick through, pictures of women he had pursued over the years. The jury heard that Mr George would wait for his targets, then approach them and tell them he "knew where they lived".

"Whilst others in the Fulham area might have regarded the defendant as a lonely, harmless individual there is evidence of a more sinister aspect to his pursuit of women. This must have involved him, on at least one occasion, in a form of stalking," said Mr Laidlaw.

Yesterday as they began what is expected to be a seven-week trial, both the prosecution and judge the Hon Justice Griffith Williams, told the jury not to be swayed by any previous media coverage or wild speculation which had surrounded the case over many intervening years.

The trial continues.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits