Jill Dando murder revelation over unidentified suspect's distinct likeliness to Serbian secret services assassin

Jill Dando resting her head on her hands on a sofa
Jill Dando was 37 when she was shot dead in Fulham -Credit:Colin Davey/Getty Images

A man wanted for questioning in the Jill Dando murder case bears a striking resemblance to a Serbian secret services assassin, a Mirror breakthrough investigation has found. The Crimewatch presenter was shot dead on her doorstep just after 11.30am on Monday April 26, 1999, in Fulham, at the age of 37.

It bore the hallmarks of a professional hit and an unidentified person was caught on CCTV following the gunman’s likely escape route. The "sweating man" e-fit of a suspect who got on a bus in Fulham minutes after Jill was shot outside her nearby home.

Now 25 years later, an investigation by our sister site The Mirror reveals the similarities to 'Mr X' and a Serbian criminal. Facial comparison expert Emi Polito has now found multiple likeliness between “Man X” in the CCTV and twice-convicted murderer Milorad Ulemek, who is serving 40 years in a Serbian prison.

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Milorad Lukovic Ulemek pictured in 2004
Milorad Lukovic Ulemek pictured in 2004 -Credit:KOCA SULEJMANOVIC/AFP

At the time Jill was killed, the 56-year-old led a feared squad of hitmen responsible for targeting opponents of brutal dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Jill’s brother Nigel, 72, told The Mirror: "I’m always interested in any new lines of inquiry about Jill’s death, especially if those lines of inquiry might lead to somebody being arrested and convicted of her murder."

Barry George, the man tried and convicted of the TV star’s murder only to be cleared after spending eight years in jail, has called on police to investigate. Mr George, 64, who lived nearby at the time and has learning difficulties, said: “If he’s the person who committed that crime then he should face the full letter of the law and be brought from Serbia to the UK and be dealt with through the courts.”

Michael Mansfield KC, who defended Mr George during the first trial, said of our findings: “I would call for there to be a review and for the investigation to be resuscitated. There was a recent Netflix show called ‘Who Killed Jill Dando?’ Well, you may have the answer."

Mr Mansfield added: "The Metropolitan Police has a duty to Jill Dando's family and loved ones, to Barry George and the public to fully investigate this new line of inquiry uncovered by the Daily Mirror.

"This should include a full forensic examination of the original CCTV of the unidentified man, all recovered finger and palm prints and to ascertain the movements of Ulemek at the time."

When Jill died, the Yugoslav war was raging and British planes were bombing Serbia as part of a NATO campaign. She had made an appeal for Kosovan refugees who were being massacred by Milosevic’s forces.

Within hours of her death, a call was made claiming the murder was in response to the bombings. Mr Polito, who gives expert evidence for the police, said Man X and the Serb killer have a similar shaped mouth, chin, hairline and right sideburn, while the general shape and sizes of their noses and right ear were the same.

Barry George pictured talking to Mirror journalists  Matt Young and Tom Pettifor
Emi Polito has now found a number of similarities between “Man X” in the image and twice-convicted murderer Milorad Ulemek

His report concluded: “Within the imagery limitations, no differences were found between Man X and Mr [Ulemek].” But he could only give limited support to them being the same person because of a lack of detail in the blurry still of the CCTV image.

He concluded: “There are a number of similarities between the two men… in particular the appearance of the mouth and of the hairline that add some light weight to the contention that they are the same person.”

Mr Polito said that it may be possible to make a more definitive finding if better quality CCTV was obtained. In addition, the expert highlighted a dent on the bridge of Ulemek’s nose which is not visible in the CCTV image but is evident in an e-fit created by an eye witness at the time, which was released by the police. Mr Polito has not given the e-fit image.

Ulemek’s lawyer Aleksander Kovacevic said his client did not wish to 'participate' when asked if he murdered Jill. He wrote: “I inform you that my client has been made aware of this and that he is not interested in participating.”

Where was 'Man X' seen after Jill Dando's murder?

The murder of Jill Dando shocked the nation and led to one of the biggest homicide investigations ever conducted in the UK. It remains one of Britain’s most notorious unsolved murders but police have not touched the files for more than 10 years.

With the 25th anniversary on Friday, a Mirror investigation has examined thousands of pages of police files, spoken to a number of witnesses and former detectives and travelled to Serbia.

The publication have found that the Met Police were in possession of the original CCTV of “Man X” within two weeks of the murder. It showed a white male with dark hair, thought to be born between 1960 and 1970, wearing a dark suit, a light shirt and a light and dark coloured tie.

Jill Dando in a red suit jacket and skirt sat on a park bench
Barry George -Credit:PHILIP COBURN

He was filmed approximately a mile from the murder scene walking into Putney Bridge Tube station, buying a ticket and then entering through the barriers. Seconds later he turned around and left the station after going back out through an exit barrier, police files reveal.

Det Chief Insp Hamish Campbell told the opening of Jill’s inquest on May 5, 1999, that a man resembling the e-fit of the suspect was seen getting on a number 74 bus minutes after the shooting.

He was sweating heavily and speaking into a mobile phone. The bus, which was not fitted with CCTV, took him two stops from the Fulham Palace Road to the Tube station.

The driver came forward to confirm he had picked up the e-fit suspect. Detectives accessed CCTV footage taken in and around the station suspecting that was the route he took. But they never released images of Man X. Scotland Yard confirmed earlier this month that he remains unidentified.

Ulemek was convicted of plotting the murders of Serbia’s former President Ivan Stambolic in 2000 and the country’s first democratically elected PM, Zoran Djindjic in 2003.

The former French Foreign Legionnaire and gang boss is understood to have learned English while living in London as a young man.

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