The murder of Jill Dando (pictured) remains unsolved almost 20 years on
Barry George has revealed how he is still looking over his shoulder 20 years after being acquitted of the murder of BBC star Jill Dando.
Just weeks after his acquittal he had a gun pressed to the back of his head and was told to ‘watch your back’.
Speaking of how he still fears he will be attacked, George said he believes the threat came from someone connected to the Crimewatch presenter.
Speaking to the Mirror, Barry, 58, said that despite his conviction being overturned 10 years ago he does ‘not feel free’ and is ‘looking over my shoulder’.
After being found guilty in 2001, Barry was cleared at a retrial in 2008.
He had moved to Hackney, east London, and it was there that the threat was made a year after he was freed.
Barry says: ‘When I was in emergency accommodation in Hackney, I was stood in a long hallway and I had a gun put to my head and was told ‘Watch your back’.
‘I went to the police station and told them and they gave me lip service. I was living in fear.
‘There were two things in my mind: I’ve been acquitted of this crime and then I get a gun to my head.’
The Met police confirmed that a man in his 40s had reported such an incident in Hackney during 2009.
However, they were unable to give full details of the probe.
David Wells, a criminal defence specialist from Wells Burcombe Solicitors, was at the police station when Barry reported the sinister threat.
Barry George, 58, (pictured) has revealed how he was threatened with a gun after being acquitted of Dando’s murder
David said: ‘He was incredibly distressed… sweating, out of breath and in quite a state.
‘I’d seen Barry on many occasions and I had never seen him this distressed.
Later that year Barry fled to Ireland where he hoped the harassment would end.
Crimewatch presenter Miss Dando, 37, was shot outside her home in Fulham, south-west London in April 1999.
The murder prompted an enormous inquiry by Scotland Yard and resulted in unemployed loner Mr George being convicted in July 2001.
He was granted a retrial on appeal, and received a unanimous acquittal by a jury in August 2008.
Mr George then made a claim for compensation for lost earnings and wrongful imprisonment, but this was rejected in January 2010.
George (pictured with sister Michelle Diskin) says he has lived in fear since the evening he was threatened
He went to court again to seek a reconsideration of his case, which could have opened the way for him to claim as much as £500,000.
His barrister, Ian Glen QC, insisted that the original decision to refuse compensation was ‘defective and contrary to natural justice’, arguing that for more than 30 years, those acquitted on retrials in similar circumstances had been compensated.
Previously, compensation was only awarded for a miscarriage of justice if a claimant could effectively prove they were innocent.
But a Supreme Court hearing in 2011 widened this to say a person is eligible for compensation if they can prove that no set of circumstances could possibly lead to their conviction by a jury.
The judges ruled Mr George’s case did not pass this second test. His solicitor, Nick Baird, said: ‘We are very disappointed with the judgment and shall be applying for permission to leapfrog the Court of Appeal to have the matter heard before the Supreme Court.’
Mr George’s action was one of five test cases to decide who is now entitled to payments in ‘miscarriage of justice’ cases.
Decisions to refuse payouts in all five cases were defended by current Justice Secretary Chris Grayling in a three-day hearing last October.