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Jill Dando 25 years on: ‘Someone could still say, ‘Yeah, it was me’

Twenty-five years after the TV presenter was shot dead on her doorstep in broad daylight, rumours over whether it was a Serbian hitman or a stalker have never gone away. Here, Chris Harvey asks her brother what he thinks really happened

Friday 26 April 2024 06:22
Jill Dando’s unsolved murder was the subject of a Netflix documentary last year
Jill Dando’s unsolved murder was the subject of a Netflix documentary last year (Netflix)

On 26 April 1999, Nigel Dando was at his desk at the Bristol Evening Post, where he was chief reporter, when he got a call from a contact on the Daily Mail. It was about his sister, the hugely popular TV presenter Jill Dando. “He said he’d heard that Jill had been involved in some sort of accident, and had I heard anything?” the former journalist tells me from his dining room. “It was 10 o’clock in the morning. I rang Jill to check she was OK, and couldn’t get hold of her. And then he rang back about half an hour later, and said, ‘I think it’s a bit more serious than that, she’s been stabbed in the street where she lives and taken to hospital.’”

Dando tried calling his sister’s fiancé, the gynaecologist Alan Farthing, and eventually got through to him. “He said that he was sitting in the back of a police car on his way to Charing Cross Hospital where Jill had been taken. And there was a police officer in the car, who took over the call. He said that they believed that Jill had died.”

Dando had been murdered. She had not been stabbed, although this was not known by the time her visibly shaken BBC colleague Jennie Bond had to announce the news of her death to the nation on the lunchtime bulletin. Pre-air footage shows her asking, “What shall I say?” as a producer keeps repeating, “She was 37.” She had been shot in the head at very close range on the steps of her home in Fulham. She was found by a neighbour, who called 999 and said that she thought the woman she was looking at, whose arms were blue, with blood coming from her nose, was Jill Dando, and she wasn’t breathing.

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