A fashion mogul hired a Russian mafia hitman to murder a blonde BBC journalist weeks before Jill Dando was gunned down on her doorstep, bomb court documents claim.
Papers filed with a Paris court allege the boss of elite modeling agency Gerald Marie – who is accused of raping several women – wanted Lisa Brinkworth “treated” to get revenge for her embarrassing his company.
Ms Brinkworth had gone undercover to expose his agency’s dirty work, the Daily Mail reports.
Now extraordinary documents claim that the French fashion magnate hired an assassin who killed the wrong target.
Crimewatch presenter Ms Dando was shot dead on the doorstep of her Fulham home in 1999 in a shocking murder that remains unsolved.
It is claimed that the killer may have confused the two women due to their physical similarities, job titles and nearby addresses in London.
Ms Brinkworth was also a patient of Ms Dando’s doctor, fiance Alan Farthing, which may add to the confusion, court records show.
Gerald Marie, former head of model agency Elite, is under investigation in France over allegations that he raped and sexually abused at least 11 women in the 1980s and 1990s – allegations he strenuously denies.
Ms Brinkworth is one of the women who has leveled allegations against the mogul – she claims he assaulted her in 1998 while she was working undercover for the BBC to investigate sex crimes in the fashion industry.
The former journalist was held in safe houses after the discovery and it was claimed she was told not to take legal action against Marie.
French law requires sex abuse claims to be reported within 20 years – but papers reveal lawyers argue the law should be overlooked in the case, as she feared for her safety for years.
The court documents also allege that former elite executive Omar Harfouch overheard Marie ordering a member of the Russian mafia to “deal with an issue.”
Papers from French law firm Bourdon Associes add: “Shortly thereafter, in April 1999, a BBC journalist, Jill Dando, was shot dead.
“In fact, these two journalists were in their 30s, blonde, with the same facial features, of the same height and similar build.
“They lived close to each other and had people in common, including Jill Dando’s husband.”
The documents also allege that investigative journalist Philippe Berry was told that Marie boasted earlier that year that she had paid mobsters to intimidate a BBC worker.
It comes after model Carré Otis claimed she was raped and force-fed cocaine by the mogul.
Signed to Elite Model Management at just 16, she’s since been credited with inventing the supermodel and helping launch the careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen.
FASHION’S DARKEST SECRET
For homeless teenage runaway Carré, she believed modeling was her ticket out of a life of hardship, and she quickly became a recognizable face in the industry in the late 1980s and ’90s.
The young American has graced the covers of top fashion magazines and even shared the cover of Vogue alongside Linda Evangelista.
But behind the glitz and glamor of the modeling industry lay a dark underbelly.
Just months into her career, Carré was shipped off to Paris, where she claims to have been repeatedly raped by model agency boss Marie, who was dating Linda at the time.
Carré claims her boss prescribed her a daily vial of cocaine to keep her weight down – and that Marie repeatedly raped her in the apartment he shared with Canadian supermodel Linda.
She said: “I was in a particularly vulnerable situation … he had all the power and I wasn’t in a position to metaphorically and realistically fight back.
“I depended on him for food, money, shelter, he had my passport… I was 17.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5645521/jill-dando-shot-fashion-mogul-mafia-hitman-bbc/ Jill Dando ‘may have been shot by BUG after fashion mogul sent mafia hitman to kill another blonde BBC reporter’