Jill Wendy Dando (9 November 1961 – 26 April 1999) was a British journalist, television presenter, and newsreader who was 1997 BBC Personality of the Year. At the time of her death, she was the presenter of the BBC programme Crimewatch.
On 26 April 1999, Dando was fatally shot outside her home in Fulham, London. A local man, Barry George, was convicted and imprisoned for the murder but was later acquitted after an appeal and retrial. The case remains open.
Dando was born at Ashcombe House Maternity Home in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. She was the daughter of Jack Dando (February 1918 – February 2009), who died in Weston-super-Mare on his 91st birthday, and Winifred Mary Jean Dando (August 1928 – January 1986), who died of leukaemia aged 57. Her only sibling, brother Nigel (born 1952), worked as a journalist for BBC Radio Bristol but retired in 2017, having previously worked as a journalist in local newspapers since the 1970s. Dando was raised as a Baptist. When she was three years old, it was discovered that she had a hole in her heart and a blocked pulmonary artery. She had heart surgery on 12 January 1965.
Dando was educated at Worle Infant School, Greenwood Junior School, Worle Comprehensive School, and Broadoak Sixth Form Centre, where she was head girl, and passed two A-levels. She studied journalism at the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education in Cardiff. Dando was a member of Weston-super-Mare Amateur Dramatic Society and Exeter Little Theatre Company, with whom she appeared in plays at the Barnfield Theatre. She was a volunteer at Sunshine Hospital Radio in Weston-super-Mare in 1979.
Dando's first job was as a trainee reporter for the local weekly newspaper, the Weston Mercury, where her father and brother worked. After five years as a print journalist, she started to work for the BBC becoming a newsreader for BBC Radio Devon in 1985. That year, she transferred to BBC South West, where she presented a regional news magazine programme, Spotlight South West. In 1987, she worked for Television South West, then BBC Spotlight in Plymouth. In early 1988, Dando moved from regional to national television in London to present BBC television news, specifically the short on-the-hour bulletins that aired on both BBC1 and BBC2 from 1986 until the mid-1990s.
Dando presented the BBC television programmes Breakfast Time, Breakfast News, the BBC One O'Clock News, the Six O'Clock News, the travel programme Holiday, the crime appeal series Crimewatch (from 1995 until her death) and occasionally Songs of Praise. In 1994, she moved to Fulham. On 25 April 1999, Dando presented the first episode of Antiques Inspectors. She was scheduled to present the Six O'Clock News on the evening of the following day. She was featured on the cover of that week's Radio Times magazine (for 24 to 30 April). Dando was also booked to host the British Academy Television Awards 1999, alongside Michael Parkinson, at Grosvenor House Hotel on 9 May. On 5 September, BBC One resumed airing of Antiques Inspectors, the final series to be recorded by Dando. The series had made its debut on 25 April, with filming of the final episode completed two days before that. The programme was subsequently cancelled following her death, but it was decided later in the year that it should be aired as a tribute to the presenter. The final episode is aired on 24 October.
At the time of her death, she was among those with the highest profile of the BBC's on-screen staff, and had been the 1997 BBC Personality of the Year. Crimewatch reconstructed her murder in an attempt to aid the police in the search for her killer. After Barry George was charged with the murder but acquitted, Crimewatch made no further appeals for information concerning the case.
On the morning of 26 April 1999, 37-year-old Dando left Farthing's home in Chiswick. She returned alone, by car, to the house she owned in Fulham. She had lived in the house, but by April 1999 was in the process of selling it and did not visit it frequently. As Dando reached her front door at about 11:32, she was shot once in the head. Her body was discovered about 14 minutes later by neighbour Helen Doble. Police were called at 11:47.Dando was taken to the nearby Charing Cross Hospital where she was declared dead on arrival at 13:03 BST.
"As Dando was about to put her keys in the lock to open the front door of her home in Fulham, she was grabbed from behind. With his right arm, the assailant held her and forced her to the ground, so that her face was almost touching the tiled step of the porch. Then, with his left hand, he fired a single shot at her left temple, killing her instantly. The bullet entered her head just above her ear, parallel to the ground, and came out the right side of her head."
Forensic study indicated that Dando had been shot by a bullet from a 9 mm calibre semi-automatic pistol, with the gun pressed against her head at the moment of the shot. Richard Hughes, her next door neighbour, heard a surprised cry from Dando "like someone greeting a friend" but heard no gunshot. Hughes looked out of his front window and, while not realising what had happened, made the only certain sighting of the killer—a six-foot-tall (183 cm) white man aged around 40, walking away from Dando's house.
After the murder, there was intense media coverage. An investigation by the Metropolitan Police, named Operation Oxborough, proved fruitless for over a year. Dando's status as a well-known public figure brought her into contact with thousands of people, and she was known to millions. There was huge speculation regarding the motive for her murder.
Within six months, the Murder Investigation Team had spoken to more than 2,500 people and taken more than 1,000 statements. With little progress after a year, the police concentrated their attention on Barry George, who lived about half a mile from Dando's house. He had a history of stalking women, sexual offences and other antisocial and attention-seeking behaviour. George was put under surveillance, arrested on 25 May and charged with Dando's murder on 28 May.
George was tried at the Old Bailey, convicted, and on 2 July 2001 was sentenced to life imprisonment. Concern about this conviction was widespread on the basis that the case against George appeared thin. Two appeals were unsuccessful, but after discredited forensics evidence was excluded from the prosecution's case, George's third appeal succeeded in November 2007. The original conviction was quashed and a second trial lasting eight weeks ended in George's acquittal on 1 August 2008.
Initial reactions to the acquittal were mixed. Farthing and Dando's families did not ask the police to reopen the investigation. After George's acquittal, some newspapers published articles which appeared to suggest that he was guilty of the Dando murder and other offences against women. In December 2009, George accepted substantial damages from News Group Newspapers over articles in The Sun and the News of the World, following a libel action in the High Court.
Dando's funeral took place on 21 May 1999 at Clarence Park Baptist Church in Weston-super-Mare. She was buried next to her mother in the town's Ebdon Road Cemetery. The gross value of her estate was £1,181,207; after her debts and income tax, the value was £863,756; after inheritance tax, it was £607,000, all of which her father inherited because she died intestate.
Dando's co-presenter Nick Ross proposed the formation of an academic institute in her name and, together with her fiancé Alan Farthing, raised almost £1.5 million. The Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science was founded at University College London on 26 April 2001, the second anniversary of her murder.
A memorial garden designed and realised by the BBC Television Ground Force team in Dando's memory, using plants and colours that were special to her, is located within Grove Park, Weston-super-Mare (51°21′09″N 2°58′45″W) and was opened on 2 August 2001. The BBC set up a bursary award in Dando's memory, which enables one student each year to study broadcast journalism at University College Falmouth. Sophie Long, who was then a postgraduate who had grown up in Weston-super-Mare and is now a presenter on BBC News, gained the first bursary award in 2000.
In 2007, Weston College opened a new university campus on the site of the former Broadoak Sixth Form Centre where Dando studied. The sixth-form building has been dedicated to her and named the Jill Dando Centre.
On 2 April 2019, three weeks before the twentieth anniversary of her death, the BBC broadcast a documentary concerning the case, titled The Murder of Jill Dando, briefly involving her career, the events surrounding her death, the follow-up investigations, wrongful prosecution of the lead suspect, and the continued aftermath. Watched by four million viewers, the general consensus among critics being that the film was "sensitive" and "powerful" but lacked answers.
— Source: Wikipedia
Daniel J. LaPlante (born 1970) is an American convicted triple-murderer serving multiple life sentences for the 1987 murders of Priscilla Gustafson and her two children in Townsend, Massachusetts, which he committed at age seventeen. LaPlante had a juvenile record of breaking and entering, and lived with his mother and stepfather near the Gustafsons. On 1 December 1987, he broke into the Gustafson residence, possibly with the goal of burglary. He raped Priscilla Gustafson, who was pregnant, and murdered her using a revolver. He then drowned the two children, seven-year-old Abigail and five-year-old William. Priscilla Gustafson's husband, Andrew Gustafson, found his wife's body and called 911.
LaPlante fled during the investigation, but was captured and eventually convicted on all three counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without parole. In 2017, he asked to be re-sentenced on the basis that he was a juvenile at the time of the crimes. However, the judge ruled that he had to wait 15 more years before becoming eligible for parole.
— Source: Wikipedia
I got to hangout with both of my nephews separately this weekend. Hanging out with my 8-year-old nephew, Micah, we just got to walk around, talk and eat, and of course my little baby nephew is just such an angel. It just made me feel like a good Aunt.
I did truly nothing for four days in a row, not that I needed it, and I was binge-watching all kinds of crazy shit. I started watching this old BBC series from the 90’s called Tom Jones, and it was very satisfying. Then (thanks to Twitter) I discovered the British series The Misfits, which is so fucking good and funny. I watched the first three seasons. It is so good and interesting!