Suspect in Jill Dando murder case has striking resemblance to Serbian secret services assassin

Milorad Lukovic Ulemek alias Legija, at the beginning of his trial at the Special Court for Trials Against Organized Crime in Belgrade. -Credit:KOCA SULEJMANOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Milorad Lukovic Ulemek alias Legija, at the beginning of his trial at the Special Court for Trials Against Organized Crime in Belgrade. -Credit:KOCA SULEJMANOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

A suspect in the Jill Dando murder case bears a striking resemblance to a ruthless Serbian secret services assassin, according to an expert.

The unidentified individual, referred to as Man X, was captured on CCTV footage tracing the suspected path of the gunman's escape shortly after the shooting death of the Crimewatch presenter in 1999. The incident displayed characteristics typically associated with a professional assassination.

The Mirror has revealed how facial comparison expert Emi Polito has identified several resemblances between "Man X" from the CCTV footage and Milorad Ulemek, a twice-convicted murderer currently serving a 40-year sentence in a Serbian prison. At the time of Jill's murder, Ulemek, then 56 years old, commanded a notorious group of hitmen known for targeting adversaries of the 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, who was tried and convicted of the TV star's murder but later cleared after spending eight years in jail, has urged the police to launch an investigation into the potential connection between "Man X" and Milorad Ulemek.

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: “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."

At the time of Jill's death, during the Yugoslav war with British planes conducting NATO bombing campaigns in Serbia, she had advocated for Kosovan refugees who were facing massacres by forces linked to Slobodan Milosevic. Within hours of her murder, a call was made claiming that the killing was a response to the bombings.

The assassin bears a striking resemblance to the “sweating man” e-fit of a suspect who got on a bus in Fulham, South-West London, minutes after Jill was shot outside her nearby home.

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.

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 suggested that obtaining higher-quality CCTV footage could potentially lead to a more definitive identification. Additionally, the expert pointed out a distinctive dent on the bridge of Milorad Ulemek's nose, which is not visible in the CCTV image but corresponds to an e-fit provided by an eyewitness at the time of the crime, as released by the police. However, Mr. Polito has not released the specific e-fit image for comparison.

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.”

Jill's tragic killing on her doorstep in April 1999 shocked the nation and sparked one of the largest homicide investigations in UK history. Despite the significant efforts, her murder remains one of Britain's most notorious unsolved cases, with police not actively reviewing the files for over a decade.

As the 25th anniversary approaches, a thorough investigation by the Mirror has delved into thousands of police documents, interviewed witnesses and former detectives, and even traveled to Serbia for more information.

According to the Mirror's findings, the Metropolitan Police obtained the original CCTV footage of "Man X" within two weeks of the murder. The footage depicted a white male with dark hair, believed to be born between 1960 and 1970, dressed in a dark suit, light shirt, and a light and dark colored tie. The CCTV footage captured him about a mile from the murder scene, entering and then quickly exiting Putney Bridge Tube station after buying a ticket and passing through the barriers.

Detectives at the time suspected that the killer may have been attempting to rendezvous with a getaway driver, possibly associated with a blue Range Rover spotted before and after the murder.

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 details surrounding Jill Dando's murder are indeed deeply unsettling and remain a tragic unsolved case. The potential connection between "Man X" in the CCTV footage and Milorad Ulemek raises compelling questions and underscores the complexity of the investigation.

Milorad Ulemek, known for his notorious activities during the Yugoslav wars and subsequent criminal convictions, presents a compelling match in terms of age, build, and hair color to the description of the suspect sought by investigators. His background as a former French Foreign Legionnaire and alleged involvement in high-profile assassinations adds a layer of intrigue to this already perplexing case.

The meticulous and professional nature of Jill Dando's murder, with the use of custom-made ammunition and a specific firearm consistent with tactics employed by Yugoslav security services in overseas operations, points towards a calculated and targeted assassination.

The eyewitness testimonies and physical evidence paint a chilling picture of the events surrounding Jill's murder, leaving her family and the public yearning for closure and justice. The failure to identify "Man X" and solve this case has undoubtedly left lasting wounds and unresolved grief for Jill's loved ones.

As the 25th anniversary of this tragic event approaches, one can only hope that renewed attention and investigative efforts will shed light on the circumstances surrounding Jill Dando's murder and ultimately bring those responsible to justice, providing a sense of closure to her family after years of heartache and uncertainty.

Scotland Yard said in a statement on Monday: "On the 25th anniversary of Jill Dando’s murder, our thoughts remain with her family and all those affected by her death.

"In the years since her murder, the investigation has been subject to numerous reviews, aiming to identify whether matters could be progressed with advances in technology and forensics.

"The investigation is now in an inactive phase, which means that it is not currently subject to routine reviews. However no unsolved murder is ever closed and detectives would consider any new information provided to assess whether it represented a new and realistic line of enquiry.'

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