George accused of stalking Burley

Man acquitted of Dando murder faces police inquiry over presenter's allegations
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The Independent Online

Barry George is to be interviewed by police over claims that he is stalking the Sky News presenter Kay Burley after she made an allegation of harassment.

Burley collapsed in her newsroom on Tuesday afternoon and has not returned to work since. An ambulance and paramedics were called but she was not taken to hospital. She made the harassment complaint to the police 24 hours later.

Mr George first met Burley when she interviewed him after he was acquitted of the murder of the BBC TV presenter Jill Dando at a retrial in August. He then visited the Sky News studios in west London two weeks ago.

A Sky News source said: "Barry George came to the building and asked for a copy of the interview. Kay was not in that day and he didn't get past reception." A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said that a woman had made an allegation of harassment against a man, and it was investigating.

It remains unclear whether Mr George's alleged behaviour was the cause of Miss Burley's discomfort on Tuesday afternoon. A source told the BBC: "People are saying the two things are linked but that is not necessarily the case. The truth is that Kay has been feeling unwell and needs to rest for a couple of days."

Mr George, 48, a convicted sex attacker, was jailed for the murder of Miss Dando, 37, in 2001. She was shot dead by a lone gunman on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, West London, in 1999.

Mr George's murder conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal this summer after major doubts were raised about the validity of firearms residue said to have been found on his coat. An Old Bailey jury cleared him in his retrial in August after he had spent seven years in prison.

He has previous convictions for attempted rape and indecent assault. Mr George also tried to break into Kensington Palace to see Diana, Princess of Wales, armed with a hunting knife and a coil of rope.

Burley, 47, who presents the Afternoon Live programme for three hours daily on Sky News, was offered personal security by her employers after she raised concerns.

Mr George's spokesman told The Independent: "This is absolute rubbish. Barry hasn't made any such harassment. He wanted a video tape. He told them he was going along to pick it up and that was fine. They eventually sent him a copy – in fact, it arrived this week."

He added that Miss Burley's allegation was part of a vendetta against Mr George waged by a small section of the press.

Reports earlier this week claim-ed that Mr George had asked a friend to help him download images to a laptop of Miss Burley appearing in ITV's Dancing on Ice, and then slept alongside them. Mr George's spokesman added: "That is nonsense. The police are welcome to look at his laptop. Barry has absolutely nothing to worry about."

Michelle Diskin, Mr George's sister who campaigned for eight years to secure his release, told The Independent that the story is untrue. Nevertheless, Scotland Yard is understood to have brought together a group of senior officers to determine the risk posed by Mr George, who is regarded as a threat to women.

Kay Burley: A Sky stalwart

*Left school at 17 to work for the evening newspaper in Wigan. After years in local radio and television, she landed a reporting job on TV-am. Join- ed Sky 20 years ago when TV-am closed down.

*Was married to the football agent Steve Kutner and has a son by him. Now in a relationship with George Pascoe-Watson, political editor of 'The Sun'.

*Involved in an alleged fracas with a photographer outside the trial of Naomi Campbell in June.

*Competed in 'Dancing on Ice' in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research. Her mother Kathleen died of breast cancer 13 years ago.