Kill Jill: The Dando Assassination Explained: Show 252

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    Rob (Site Owner)

    Release Date: 05-06-2018

    Show Link: Link to the show at the Website

    In this 4-part Film, Richard examines, in some detail, the events leading up to the Assassination of Jill Dando and includes much of the work done by Dr. Larry O’Hara, on the subject.

    In writing a synopses for this, I hit upon a bit of an issue, which is this: This film presents a lot of information on two topics.

    1) The London Nail Bombs of 1999.
    2) The murder of Jill Dando.

    Here, I’ve written a detailed account of what Richard has presented in part 1 of his film and I include references to a Granada Television Ltd documentary; Real Stories – Nailing The Bomber.

    Richard’s film (apx 3 hours running time, in total) is one of the Investigative Films that Richard has made and it begins with an explanation about his reasons for making, not only this film, but also the motivation behind all of the Investigative Films Richard has made.

    For those that don’t know, Jill (Wendy) Dando was a very popular television presenter and newsreader, winning the BBC Personality of the Year award in 1997, and co-presenter of the ‘Crimewatch‘ BBC T.V programme.

    Jill was murdered, outside of her home in Fulham, London, by a single bullet to her head, on 26 April 1999. Barry George was convicted and imprisoned for the murder, but he was later acquitted after an appeal and retrial: The murder case remains open.

    In part 1, Richard gives a full account of the 1999 London Nail Bomb attacks, three in total, perpetrated by David Copeland, before moving on (in parts 2 – 4) to the killing of Jill. The background information presented in part 1, is essential to the understanding of the entire film.

    As with Show 258 and Show 262 the subject mater in this show alone, provides enough research material and leads to keep one busy for hours, if not days; It is well presented and well researched.

    Part 1: The London Nail Bombs of 1999.

    The first bomb Saturday 17 April 1999: Birxton Market

    According to O’Hara’s account, the first CCTV footage that is seen (at the trial?) is of Copeland getting into a Taxi, at Clapham Junction, at 15:30 This is some 3 miles away from Birxton Market. The journey should have taken apx 15 minutes, on a Saturday afternoon, but O’Hara says that footage showing Copeland actually planting the device [in Brixton Market] had on it the time 15:34, which is just 4 minutes later. This anomaly is said to be because the time stamps shown on CCTV footage may not be accurate. The bomb is reported to have exploded some 2 hours later, at 17:25, injuring 48-49 people. The Guardian, a week later, on Sunday 25 April, then contradicts this number (and its report, a week earlier) by stating that …the bomb, which injured 39 people….

    There also seems to be some confusion over the people involved with moving the bag/bomb, just before it exploded: The Independent reports that George Jones (42) picked it up and put it by a brick wall. Then it went off., he says. But The Guardian (echoed by Wikipedia) reports that Gary Shilling (15) moved the bag to a less crowded area after seeing a blond man (Copeland? I don’t think he’s blond, hair colouring aside) acting suspiciously. He (Shilling) escaped with only slight injuries – a nail in his foot – when the bomb exploded seconds after he had moved it, according to the report. Although Wikipedia has it that two further moves of the bag/bomb occurred by unconvinced traders, including the bomb being removed from the bag (the bag was then stolen and subsequently recovered by police, providing the clue needed when reviewing CCTV footage), which is when it ended up by the Iceland supermarket before exploding. I’m not trying to imply that these anomalies are significant in and of themselves, but it does demonstrate how confusing things get in a situation where people are clearly terrified.

    Monday 19 April 1999:
    A phone box in Well Hall Road, was used by a person claiming to be a member of Combat 18 and claiming responsibility for the Brixton Market Bomb. Richard reasons that somebody connected with the investigation knew that the call was not from the real bomber (the implication being that the identity of real bomber was known) and as such the details of the call (and the fact of the call) were kept from the public.

    The police had (it is claimed) received a number of calls from people claiming to be from Right Wing groups and association with the bombing. If this is the case, then I’m not surprised that the Well Hall road call was dismissed, or at least treated with some scepticism, given that it is supposed that the police had no information about who may be responsible for the bomb; to the police this could simply have been another crank call [It’s not clear if this was the first call of many or simply one call of many].

    The film returns to the topic of CCTV footage of Copeland and discusses why it took apx 12 days for the footage to be analysed and stills to be taken and released to the public. I don’t know enough about the process to pass any judgement, but Hall and O’Hara seem to think that the time scale is unreasonably long, and I can see their point: the bomber (Copeland as it turns out) was fairly easy to identify as he was wearing a light coloured (white?) Baseball style hat and, according to one account, on Monday 19 April, just two days after the Brixton Market bomb exploded, was when it was recognised that this was the man for whom the police were looking, but the picture of a this man was not given any publicity until Thursday 29 April [front page of the London Evening Standard as seen in Part 1 at 30:11], at which point Paul Mifsud, a colleague of Copeland (some reports say it was Copeland’s boss that recognised him), recognised him from the picture and alerted the police.

    In this article Larry says According to the Metropolitan police, Copeland was identified as the Brixton bomber (17/4/99) from CCTV footage filmed inside the Iceland store. By 19/4 police had a first ‘smudge’ identification, which was so poor the film had to be sent to NASA in the USA, who took a further 12 days to produce a picture clear enough to enable a positive identification. Larry then goes on to say that …the whole concentration on this piece of film was a red herring — the footage eventually released of Copeland wasn’t from Iceland’s CCTV at all, but a street camera. He’s correct in so much as the picture of Copeland that was published, was clearly not taken from Iceland’s CCTV camera, but I can’t see where the police claimed that it was. Maybe you can help. My understanding is that the CCTV footage from which the picture was taken, is the footage that had to be sent to the U.S.A, not the footage from the Iceland CCTV, which was used only to give the police knowledge of who they were looking for (a man wearing a light-coloured Baseball style hat), when examining other footage from other CCTV cameras.

    The film then goes on to show some footage from a CCTV camera (CAMERA 25), clearly showing Copeland, from which it’s possible that he could have been identified by anyone that knew him. The date and time stamp is a little unclear, but seems to be 17-04-99 | 15:49. This is the footage from which the published (on 29 April 1999) image of Copeland was taken. It features in the Real Stories documentary called ‘Nailing The Nail Bomber’, which suggests that this was day nine of the investigation. That would have been 26/04/1999, just three days before the image was published, not 12 days.

    The Second Bomb Saturday 24 April 1999: Brick Lane

    A week later (Saturday 24 April 1999 apx 18:00 hrs) the second bomb exploded in the boot of a car, in Brick Lane, having been moved from Hanbury Street by Gerard Lynch. In his testimony, Lynch says that he picked up the sports bag in which the bomb had been left, and carried it to his car, in Brick Lane, thinking that the bag may have contained some tools, having not check it, but simply picked it up as he was passing down the street; an opportunist theft, in other words. There is CCTV footage (shown in the film) of a person parking the Maroon coloured car in Brick lane, in which the bomb was later left, and a person returning to this same car and opening the boot. It is claimed that this was Lynch, putting the bag/bomb in the boot of his car, before walking away to try and find a police officer.

    It is said that the reason that Copeland left the bomb in Hanbury Street is because he made a mistake about on which day the Brick Lane Street Market is held (it’s on Sundays, not Saturdays). I’m confused by this. Surly Copeland would have done better research than that? A cursory glance at a local news paper would reveal the day of any street market. It’s also a well known fact to anyone even remotely connected to the area as it [the Brick Lane Market] has a long history. In fact there’s no evidence that Copeland was ever in Hanbury Street, or Commercial Street or even in Brick Lane; a reference to CCTV footage was made, but the footage was not shown at Copeland’s trial, footage that would have substantiated the claim that it was Copeland who left the bag/bomb in Hanbury Street. Why was this footage not shown? I have just one CCTV image of Copeland, from 24/04/1999. If anyone can help in the identification of the location, then please get in contact with me, via this Forum. A reference to a still image taken from CCTV, of Copeland in Brick Lane, is made, but not shown in Richard’s film. Is this it?

    Near the end of the Real Stories documentary (apx 46:00 in) we see a very brief image of Copeland, with a bag, exiting what could be Waterloo Train Station. In the Real Stories documentary, it is said that a Taxi driver had phoned the police and confirmed that he’d picked up the man seen in the published (on 29/04/1999) image, from Waterloo Train Station. Did the Taxi take him to the Brick Lane area? It’s not said.

    So, unlike the bombing of Birxton Market, we can see no real evidence that Copeland was ever in the Brick Lane area on Saturday 24 April, 1999. We have CCTV footage of Copeland at Waterloo Station (the time and date is not stated) where he got into a Taxi and a statement from the Taxi driver, but where did that Taxi take him?

    I’d like to see some evidence of Copeland leaving the bag/bomb in some random street in the Brick Lane area where some random person then picked it up and moved it. If you can provide me with some evidence of these events, please do contact me at this Forum and I’ll update this post. If you’d rather remain anonymous, that can be arranged. If there is some evidence that supports the official story of Copeland’s movements on this date, which has been missed by the Real Stories documentary, Richard’s film and O’Hara, I’d be interested to learn of it and I will continue to look for it.

    I was also suspicious about the explosion (which can be seen in Richard’s film) and if the kind of damage we see could be the result of the contents of some domestic Fireworks. I’ve subsequently learned that ammonium nitrate was found in his [Copeland’s] room, after his arrest. If ammonium nitrate was used to construct this device, it would explain the destructive power. It’s reported that buildings were shaken, not unlike an earthquake.

    The film goes on… Copeland said, in his police statement, to have claimed that he made a silent 999 call from a call-box in nearby Digby Street, at 17:10. The only Digby Street that I can find is over a mile away from the Brick Lane area and would have taken apx 30 minutes on foot and about 10 minutes by Taxicab. Copeland is then said to have visited Soho (the area of the third bomb) by Taxicab (apx 20 minutes away and back towards the Brick Lane area, from Digby Street). Despite police appeals, no witness is known to have come forward to substantiate this claim and no CCTV footage of the event was show at Copeland’s trial.

    In a feature called Soho Bombing: Fortnight Of Fear In The Capital published by the Independent newspaper (30/04/1999), it states that the Brick Lane bomb exploded shortly before 6pm. This would fit the time-line of the story, but if Copeland had planned to bomb the Brick Lane Market, even if had got the correct day, by this time of the day, the Market would have been all but over, so why was the bomb set to exploded so late in the afternoon? Even if we concede that the Market was not the intended target, but in fact it was the evening Restaurant trade, then the timing is still senseless as even an hour or so later would have seen many more people in the area.

    The third bomb Friday 30th April 1999: Admiral Duncan Public Bar, Soho

    Copeland was in the Soho area the day before, visiting the Admiral Duncan Public Bar. This was the same day (29 April, 1999) that the first picture of Copeland was seen in the media and it’s clear that the image shown in Richard’s film, of the front page of the (London) Evening Standard newspaper, presents a still image from the CCTV (CAMERA 25) footage already seen.

    [Could somebody please comment on what time the first edition of the Evening Standard would have been available so that I can get some idea of the time-line. Thank you.]

    We then see an image showing a blood-spattered man, with Copeland standing behind him and talking to a police officer. This image is not explained in Richard’s film, but it’s from 20th September 1997. The man with (his own) blood on him is one John Hutchyns Tydall. He was attacked by anti-fascists in Stratford, East London, at The Swan.

    As an aside: I’d have thought that the names and addresses of all the people pictured, would have been taken and filed, by the police as well as MI5 and Special Branch, in which case when Copeland was seen planting the bomb in Brixton, two years later, he may have been easier to identify, being known member of the C18 (remember the Well Hall Road phone call?) splinter group, NSM.

    Richard then goes on to explain that Copeland then returns to his home, in Farnborough (apx 40 miles away. In fact Copland lived in a rented room, Sunnybank Road, Cove which is N.W of Farnborough) to collect some belongings (method of transport is not stated), in preparation for a his next actions. He then returns to London and checks into a Hotel on St George’s Drive (Victoria), using a false name, where he spent the night. This is apx 2.5 miles away from the Admiral Duncan Public Bar on Old Compton Street. No CCTV footage of these movements was shown at his trial. It is also claimed that Copeland used a telephone box outside of the Hotel, but the details of any calls made is not known.

    Copeland checked out of the first Hotel, on the morning of the 30th (no time stated), only to check into another Hotel (no name or time stated) where it is said that the bomb was prepared. This bomb, contained again in a Sports Bag, was placed on the floor of the Admiral Duncan Public Bar, on Old Compton Street and exploded at apx 18:37.

    The only seen (at the trial) CCTV footage of Copeland’s movements during the hours (spanning two consecutive days) that he is said to have been be in Soho, is that of Copeland walking North East, along Old Compton Street, carrying the bag/bomb toward the Admiral Duncan, and again walking South West, along Old Compton Street, without said bag/bomb. The footage is said to be of him passing two shops, No 62 and No 64. This would be, apx, a 1 minute walk from the Bar and at between apx 18:00 and 18:10 hrs on Friday 30th April 1999.

    It is alleged that because the Pink Paper (in an issue Dated 30/04/1999, but going to press 27/04/1999) ran a front page story, by David Northmore, about how the gay communities would be wise to be on bomb alert following the Brick Lane bomb, Northmore must have had foreknowledge or a tip-off about the Soho bomb. Northmore denied any foreknowledge and Richard shows a clip of a feature that Northmore wrote in the Independent, denying any such foreknowledge. You can (and should) read the full feature here.

    Given that, by this time, C18 were thought to be the most likely group to be behind the two bombs, it doesn’t seem to me to be that unreasonable to advise the gay communities, that they should be extra vigilant. Rather than acting on a tip-off, I believe that Northmore was simply trying to get the message out; as the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.

    The Independent newspaper (01/05/1999) says Police and the Home Office had urged gay businesses and organisations to be alert for possible bombs, and yesterday’s gay Pink Paper carried a warning. It seems that these warnings came, regrettably, too late.

    There then follows some more extracts from O’Hara’s NFB (Issue 5), that cite stories that Copeland was being surveilled before he planted the bomb in Soho. This is backed up by a claim that Steve Greenwood, Linda Bellos and Gerry Gable were shown, at a pre-trial briefing, extensive footage (CCTV?) of Copeland in Soho on 30th April 1999, and also by (shown) an email from Peter Tatchell in a reply to one Simon on the subject of statement. In the email, Tatchell says that he got a phone call from an officer based at West End Central claiming to have overheard other officers discussing a phone call from a Special Branch unit, about 30 minutes before the bomb went off (I assume that this unit does not use Police Radio) saying that they had lost their suspect, in reference to Copeland.

    I note that Scotland Yard have dismissed the claim of Copeland being under surveillance before the Soho bomb as absolutely untrue.

    It may be unconnected, but I have read that the Police condoned off a call-box on Shaftesbury Avenue, around the time of the explosion at the Admiral Duncan.

    My thoughts: It’s entirely possible that the footage of Copeland seen at the pre-trial briefing, was not uncovered until after the fact of the Soho bomb, rather than proof that Copeland was being surveilled. All that any CCTV footage proves is that we’re all being surveilled, all of the time. Once the Soho bomb had exploded, the police then had a time-line that could be back-tracked and relevant CCTV footage explored, just as with the Brixton Market bomb. The email is, unfortunately, only circumstantial, as it contains ‘hearsay’.

    Parts 2 – 4.

    Starts with a summery of Jill and the BBC T.V programme, Crimewatch, which, in 1999, aired once a month. The April 1999 programme went out on Tuesday 20th.

    The significance here is the fact that Jill reported that a call had come in reporting that people were seen on the rooftop of a building in the Brixton Market area and were seen to be using binoculars. This report was repeated the next day on the BBC News Website. So, the question is, who were these people and what were they doing? Richard firmly believes that it was Copeland that was being surveilled by these people and as such he was known and should have been prevented from doing what he did.

    In his film, you can watch Richard as he visits Electric Avenue in order to try to determine which building it would have been. Richard says that he can see only one building rooftop on which these people could have been; I say there are at least two. You can make your own judgement.

    As the film continues, Richard says that he has the address of Gary Shilling, but no further reference is made as to this. Did Richard visit and talk with Shilling?

    We then get to a contentious part of the events: Did the police have any idea, by Monday 19 April, that they were looking for a man wearing a white Baseball style hat? O’Hara reports that Jason Bennetto stated that the first ‘smudge’, or sighting of the bomber, was made on 19th April from cameras filming the doorway of the Iceland food store. O’Hara goes on to say that according to two directly police-sourced accounts it took six days to decipher this footage. The point here is that if this footage was deciphered by the 19th, it could have been aired on the Tuesday 20th Crimewatch programme. The footage was not aired.

    So, why was Jill murdered? Is there any link between her murder and the work that she was doing with the Crimewatch T.V programme? It seems to have been a very professional operation, hence the term ‘Assassination’. Richard’s film goes on to explore various avenues and is, overall, a very good production.

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