Jill Dando: The Murder of the BBCs Sunshine Girl
UPDATE: Appeals & Conviction Overturned
On July 31st, 2009, a London jury cleared Barry George of all charges relating to the murder of Jill Dando. Jailed since 2001, George was finally retried after lengthy appeals based on questions raised by his defense team about evidence presented by prosecutors at the original trial.
In November 2008 three Appellate Court judges called into question the veracity of forensic evidence leading to George's conviction.
The Old Bailey Court retrial jury, like the first jury, never heard of George's prior sex offense conviction, record of an attempted rape and three arrests for indecent assault. This second jury never heard about the Kensington Palace break-in either.
Barry George celebrated the not guilty verdict by having a cocktail and a cup of tea with supporters following the jury's exoneration. According to newspaper of record Telegraph.co.uk, George will receive £1 million compensation for his time incarcerated, another £100,000 likely from tabloids for his story. Additionally, George will likely sue for wrongful imprisonment. According to newspapers, George will likely retire in Ireland or rural England.
It is difficult to imagine that something positive could arise out of a life that had been unnecessarily and violently destroyed. However, as a lasting legacy to Jill Dando, Mr. Farthing, friends and family of the TV station banded together with numerous supporters to create one of the world's first criminal science institutes. Mr. Farthing said that those who knew and loved Jill were, "trying to turn the tragedy into something positive." The Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science was developed to assist in the prevention of crime. The institute provides degree courses on crime prevention, in the hopes that other unnecessary acts of violence could be prevented in the future.