"Dead on Time: How and Why Barry George executed Jill Dando", published in 2002 by John McVicar the ex-con crime cracker is a readable, accessible book (but with a totally bizarre and barmy thesis) about the very public murder of TV celebrity Jill Dando.
It was published shortly before the appeal by Barry George who had been convicted of murdering her was judged (  EWCA Crim 1923) by The Hon. Mr Justice Gage in the Crown Court - the transcript of which is available on the Support Barry George website which supports his current appeal.
This judgement provides a brief authoritative and excellent account of the murder, the police investigation, an examination of the evidence provided against Barry George and the reasons for the dismissal.
First attracted by McVicar's book attracted on the "New In" shelf at the library, bound in a blindingly bright yellow cover, reminiscent of the early Gollancz hardbacks, and bolstered the recollections of the author's criminal past and the celebrity of the victim, Lord Patel was tempted and borrowed it - he would not recommend anyone buy it to read it.
Only vaguely aware of the court case, the book provided a decent ( unique and it appears a fairly accurate ) view of the case by someone who sat in Court No1 at the Old Bailey throughout the trial.
Beyond that the book is an insane farrago of nonsense invented by McVicar . According to him the sensible, sexy yet homely girl from Lord Archer's home town having bought two Dover soles in the fish shop at the end of her Fulham street, came face to face with - not a Serbian ( "Serbs tend to rape, not kill women"), not her neighbour who heard the scream but not the gun, but ...
Well McVicar had teamed up with the notorious "Benjie" or Benjamin Pell, an elusive and shadowy denizen of Fleet Street who excelled in rummaging through dustbins for the odd trifle to sell to Sunday Tabloid editors on a slow newsday.
Anyway Benjie fires up Johnny that Barry George (once married to a Japanese girl Itsuko Toide, - a marriage she described to the Daily Mirror " I married a monster" as “violent and terrifying” explaining how George would frequently attack and rape her - it lasted from 1989 until the couple’s divorce in 1994 ) who liked to call himself Barry Bulsara (the real name of Freddy Mercury) and pretend to be Freddy Mercury's cousin, obsessed with "Queen" lyrics, fascinated with Ninjas and Nin jitsu the ancient art of Japanese assassination ( a relic art before pistols were invented and involving lots of dashing about, kicking, slashing and wearing exotic robes...but let it pass).
Wedding these themes, it appears that Jill was friendly with Cliff Richard - who slighted Freddie Mercury by accepting the lead role in "Time" and Barry George was his avenger and his friend Dando's nemesis - after throwing in Zoroastrianism, a bullet crimped in the shape of a imperial chrysanthemum, the film Highlander, the number 39, the Japanese transliteration of 'Dan-do' and the colour yellow - hence the colour of the book cover.
Anyway in the real world...
On 26th April 1999 at about 11.30 am returning to her flat at 29 Gowan Avenue, Fulham after a night spent with her boy friend and fiancee (they were due to marry on September 25th that year), unseen by anyone, Jill Dando 37, was killed by a single bullet fired from an unsilenced pistol that had been pressed firmly against the left side of her head when fired. A fired bullet and casing (Remington) were recovered by the police from the vicinity of the doorstep. She was pronounced dead at 13.05 in Charing Cross Hospital. The BBC mourning department went into overdrive.
Barry George, who lived ten minutes / half a mile, from her flat was first drawn to the attention of the police two days after the murder( by staff of both Hammersmith and Fulham Action for Disability (HAFAD) and Traffic Cars) but it was almost a year later, on 11 April 2000, that the police spoke to him as a witness. (This was after a static camera had been set up outside his flat, and a a team of 50 officers from "Operation Oxborough" began a covert surveillance operation).He was arrested for this murder on 25 May 2000 and charged on 29 May 2000.The trial Judge concluded that in terms of an investigation of this magnitude the delay was small.
Evidently the case against George was founded on his having an obsessive interest in Jill Dando (and other celebrities - he had photographs in his flat of women on TV that he had taken). We now know that Emily Maitlis who lived near Jill Dando at the time of her murder, had a stalker who sent 100's of letters, Julia Somerville and Sarah Lockett have also ben approached and harrassed in this way. There is no evidence that Barry George stalked or harassed any woman, sent letters, approached or contacted Jill Dando in any way - in other words he didn't appear to fit the stereotypical male stalker of pretty TV presenters who have been caught, found guilty and imprisoned.
The forthcoming appeal which the Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the to the Court of Appeal is said to rest upon the unreliability of the The Firearm Discharge Residue Evidence ("FDR"). Barry george's lawyers also have new medical evidence about hiss mental problems and new witnesses, who were not heard at the original trial, who may provide an explanation for why a particle of gunshot residue was found on George's coat.
The Commission's decision is contained (as required by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995) in a Statement of Reasons (SoR) - this is over 100 pages and is supported by more
than 1,500 pages of separate reports, statements and other documents.The Crown Prosecution Service can decide whether to resist the appeal or not - so far they have made no public comment.
Using a forensic sticky tape from inside the internal right pocket of a coat of Barry George's examined over one year after the crime, revealed a small particle 11.5 microns in size. (= 11 .5 millionths of a metre or approx 1/2 one thousandth of an inch) Two particles, which matched one another, had been found in the victim's hair near the wound, and on her raincoat. They were FDR and contained aluminium, lead and barium.
The expert's evidence was that, when a gun is fired there is a discharge of 'percussion primer cap' ("CAP") residue, and propellant residue. CAP residue does not degrade. There are about five common manufacturers of CAP containing three basic chemical compounds; barium, lead and antimony to which aluminium is often added. Remingtons was one of the makers. The micron sized particle contained three of the basic chemical compounds in the CAP, as had the cartridge used to kill the victim.
The defence's forensic expert Dr Lloyd's claimed the particle was so small, that to rely on it, one year after the killing, was "incredible". Its size "cast doubts on where it came from"- it could be the result of casual contamination.
The case is very reminiscent of the Stephen Kisko case where someone with noticeable personality traits (Kisko collected car numbers, George, photographed women and led a disordered life, had a petit mal and a cleft palate.
George (unknown to the jury had been convicted for indecent assault in 1982 and of attempted rape in 1983. He had also been arrested in 1983 for trespassing on the property of Diana, Princess of Wales. he had been found armed with two knives, rope, combat paraphernalia and a gas mask) became the focus of Police enquiries and under pressure for a result, corners were cut and forensic procedures not properly followed and were flawed - eye - witnesses met after identification parades and swapped notes, forensic handling was not totally correct.
We now know that the sole evidence that could possibly have linked Barry George to the crime the 11.5 micron metallic scrap residue from an inside pocket of a coat cannot be relied upon.
Orlando Pownall (Snr Treasury Council) for the prosecution , said on the 2nd day of the trial;
"It is no coincidence that this defendant happens to have a particle in the inside pocket of his coat ... this aspect of the case provides compelling evidence of his guilt."Which leaves PC Plod ( Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell) with the uncomfortable fact that if Barry George is acquitted and he did not murder Jill Dando, there is some person(s) out there who did.