Dando jurors fail to agree after 20 hours

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The Independent Online

The jury in the Jill Dando trial are spending today in a hotel after failing to reach a verdict yesterday.

The six women and five men trying Barry George for the murder of the television presenter will return to the Old Bailey tomorrow to continue their deliberations.

George, 41, unemployed, of Crookham Road, Fulham, south-west London, has denied murdering Miss Dando on April 26, 1999. Ms Dando was shot through the head outside her home in Gowan Avenue, Fulham.

The 11 jurors have spent more than 20 hours trying to reach a verdict after being sent out by the Old Bailey judge last Wednesday.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Gage said he would take a majority verdict, on which 10 members agreed, but the jury foreman told him they still needed more time.

The judge told the six women and five men jurors that "a respectable body of opinion says it is not lawful for a crown court to sit on a Sunday. So you will not be able to consider your verdict on the Sunday. It will give you a welcome break.

"I ask you to come back on Monday and start your deliberations at 9.30am."

One female juror has already been allowed to retire after a bereavement.

Earlier, the foreman of the jury was asked if they had reached a unanimous decision. When he replied "No", the judge gave the jury his majority direction, but 35 minutes later he called them back into the courtroom.

"This is the fourth day that you have been deliberating and I really don't think it is fair to ask you to go on deliberating today," he told them.

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