Jill Dando was the victim of ‘professional hit’ says ex-career criminal in new Netflix documentary

BBC broadcaster Jill Dando was the victim of a “professional hit”, a former career criminal has claimed in a new Netflix series on the high-profile unsolved murder case.

The much-loved former Crimewatch presenter was shot and killed outside her home in Fulham, west London, on April 26, 1999, at the age of 37.

Who Killed Jill Dando? is to be released on Netflix on Tuesday, September 26, and will take viewers through Dando’s life and the true crime mystery that continues to mystify experts and the public.

The three-part series is expected to reflect the various theories of who may have been behind the murder, including convicted sex offender Barry George, who was originally convicted of Dando’s murder. George was imprisoned for eight years before later being acquitted and released after a retrial.

Armed robber-turned-writer Noel ‘Razor’ Smith is interviewed in the series.

According to the Mirror, which has previewed the documentary ahead of its release, Smith says: “I don’t really want to talk about [who carried out the murder] for my own safety.

“But there are rumours in the criminal world, let’s put it that way. It’s not who you would think and it’s not Barry George. It was a professional hit.”

Police forensic officers at Gowan Avenue, Fulham, where TV presenter Jill Dando was murdered (PA Archive/PA Images)
Police forensic officers at Gowan Avenue, Fulham, where TV presenter Jill Dando was murdered (PA Archive/PA Images)

Asked if he knew why Dando was killed, he says: “No. If I tell you why - you’d know who did it.”

He reportedly goes on to say: “The way it was done was professional. In the 80s and 90s, the way every hit was carried out was in broad daylight out in the street.

“You want a place where people are not expecting you to do it. The chances of catching a professional who works in that way are slim to none.”

Dando was one of the country’s most recognisable faces when her murder sent shockwaves across the nation.

She had become engaged to high-profile doctor Alan Farthing just three months before her death. She spent most of her time at his home in Chiswick, and was selling her own house in Fulham.

On the morning of April 26, 1999, she made the 15-minute drive home in her BMW convertible, arriving at around 11.30am. Just outside her front door her murderer pounced on her from behind and forced her to the ground. He held a gun to her left temple, and fired a single bullet.

Her body was discovered around a quarter-of-an-hour later by a neighbour, who called the police.

Dando was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Dando’s murder became the biggest criminal investigation of the decade.

London’s homicide squad reportedly interviewed more than 2,500 people, took more than 1,000 statements and traced more than 1,200 cars.

A trailer for the new Netflix show features clips of George, including one in which he says: “It makes me angry that they’ve taken eight years of my life.”

It also features a clip of Loose Women panellist Jane Moore saying: “To be sitting here 24 years on and saying that we still do not know who killed Jill Dando is mind-boggling.”

Outside of her work on Crimewatch, Dando was also seen during the 1980s and 1990s on BBC shows including travel show Holiday and The Antiques Inspectors.

She began as a reporter at her local paper The Weston Mercury in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, before moving to the morning programme Breakfast Time, which later became BBC Breakfast.

The upcoming Netflix series will chronicle her life through a mix of archive, new research and interviews.

The project is directed by Marcus Plowright, known for Fred And Rose West: Reopened and executive produced by Emma Cooper, who worked on The Mystery Of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes.