As a Marcus Plowright-directed documentary series living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s ‘Who Killed Jill Dando?’ can only be described as equal parts baffling and haunting. That’s because it carefully explores not just the April 26, 1999, homicide of the renowned titular journalist outside her own Fulham home but also its ensuing investigations to really underscore the reality behind this matter. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the sole individual to have ever been put on trial for her shooting demise — Barry Michael George — we’ve got the essential details for you.
Who is Barry George?
Although born on April 15, 1960, in London, England, as the youngest of three to Margaret and Alfred George, Barry unfortunately didn’t have the most comfortable, cozy, or happy childhood. The truth is he’d started showing serious signs of behavioral as well as emotional difficulties by the time he was a teen, leaving his family with little choice but to send him to a specialized boarding school in Berkshire. Yet alas, things did not pan out in the way any of them hoped, and he ultimately ended up dropping out at the tender age of 16 without any qualification — he didn’t wish to study further either.
It thus comes as no surprise the only job Barry ever held was as an inside messenger at BBC Television Centre on a contract-based term of six months, just for him to somehow lose it within five. That’s when he developed a reputation for being a lone wolf wanderer and a women-obsessed creep (not a full-fledged stalker), all the while racking up several felony charges on a myriad of utterly distinct counts too. Though the one to have disturbed people the most was his tendency to lie and use pseudonyms for attention; he once claimed to be renowned musician Freddie Mercury’s cousin Barry Bulsara.
In fact, following Barry’s first arrest in 1980 for impersonating a policeman as well as obtaining false warrant cards, he stated his name in court as Paul Gadd (the actual name of singer Gary Glitter). Then came his attempt to join the Territorial Army, but he was discharged in a year and it drove him to take up the name Tom Palmer (one of the soldiers who’d ended the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege). This was around the same time he was accused of indecent assault by two women, just to be convicted in one case before being found guilty of an unrelated attempted rape in 1983 as Steve Majors.
It’s actually imperative to note Steve Majors was the same pseudonym Barry had used while pretending to be a professional stuntman a brief period prior despite having no experience in the field. So, of course, he ended up breaking his spine and getting a few more injuries upon convincing a stadium to stage a show in which he would jump over four double-decker buses on roller skates. It then came to light he was not only a little obsessed with the Royal Family but had also assaulted his wife in their 11-month marriage, yet the charge against him concerning the latter was dropped.
There were reportedly no other charges against Barry in the ensuing years — except dropped indecent assault counts in 1990 and 1992 — that is, until he was arrested for Jill Dando’s murder in May 2000. According to reports, he lived mere blocks away from the television personality in Fulham at the time of the offense and had subsequently contacted a local cab company to confirm he was there. It was as if he was setting up an alibi for himself, resulting in many reporting him to the police, but a search of his home wasn’t executed until nearly a year later owing to the various pieces of evidence.
Where is Barry George Now?
The only piece of definite evidence against Barry at his murder trial was gunshot residue in one of his coat’s pockets and an undeveloped image of someone with similar features as him holding a gun. Nevertheless, he maintained the weapon was a mere replica at every step of the way, along with the fact he’d never even seen or heard of Jill before her demise in 1999 – he had no connection to her. As for his “obsession” with women, he indicated that although he did often click their pictures in secret or approach them, his intention was never to make them feel downright uncomfortable.
In the end, despite Barry being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), somatization & factitious disorders, as well as several personality disorders like antisocial, histrionic, narcissistic, and possibly paranoid, he was found guilty prior to being sentenced to life in prison on July 2, 2001. The fact he had epilepsy plus a reported IQ of 75 didn’t make a difference either, that is, until his appeals to a higher court concluded with the verdict of a retrial on grounds this aforecited gunshot residue evidence was inadmissible in the court of law.
Barry’s conviction was thus overturned on November 7, 2007, following which his retrial resulted in him being acquitted on August 1, 2008, making him a free man through and through. Since then, he has sued both tabloid newspapers as well as the state for making wrongful claims against him prior to wrongfully imprisoning him for nearly eight years, yet he has only won damages for the former. In other words, this 63-year-old Cork, Ireland, resident’s — he relocated to move away from the hustle-bustle of London — claims for compensation for wrongful imprisonment have been totally dismissed.
Read More: Bob Wheaton: Where is Jill Dando’s Ex-Boyfriend Now?