A BLONDE undercover reporter could have been the “real target” of Jill Dando’s hitman – legal documents suggest her murder was a case of “mistaken identity”.
BBC newsreader and Crimewatch presenter Jill, 37, died of a gunshot wound to the head outside her home in Fulham, west London, in 1999.
The now 62-year-old loner Barry George was arrested for her murder in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison.
But his conviction was later overturned before he was acquitted in a second trial in 2008.
Despite more than 2,000 potential suspects and a number of conspiracy theories, the killer has not been found.
But today a new documentary airs: Who Killed Jill Dando? – hopes to shed light on the cold case.
The theory that Jill was murdered by a Russian hitman in a case of mistaken identity recently emerged in explosive French court documents.
Documents submitted to a Paris court allege that the boss of elite modeling agency Gerald Marie, who has been accused of raping several women, wants Lisa Brinkworth to be “tried” in revenge for his company’s exposure.
The documents said the French fashion tycoon hired an assassin who then killed the wrongdoers.
Legal documents viewed by MailOnline say Marie ordered a member of the Russian Mafia to “take care of a problem.”
The documents continue: “Shortly afterwards… a BBC journalist, Jill Dando, was shot dead in April 1999.
“In fact, these two journalists were in their 30s, blonde and had similar facesand of the same height and stature.
“They lived close to each other and had people in common, including Jill Dando’s husband.”
Dando was not married, but to her fiancé Dr. Alan Farthing engaged – and Brinkworth was one of his patients.
On the morning of April 26, 1999, Jill left Farthing’s home in Chiswick.
She returned to her home in Fulham, west London, alone by car.
But when Jill reached her front door around 11:32 a.m., she was shot once in the head.
Her body was discovered about 14 minutes later by a neighbor. Jill was taken to nearby Charing Cross Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival at 1.03pm.
Police turned their attention to George, who lived about half a mile from Dando’s house, shortly after her murder.
He had a history of stalking women, sexual offenses and other antisocial and attention-seeking behavior.
George was placed under surveillance, arrested and charged with murder on May 28, 1999.
He was tried at the Old Bailey, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on 2 July 2001.
Concern over this conviction was widespread as the case against George appeared flimsy.
Two appeals were unsuccessful, but after discredited forensic evidence was excluded from the prosecution, George’s third appeal was successful in November 2007.
The original conviction was overturned and a second eight-week trial ended with George’s acquittal on August 1, 2008.
No one else was charged with Jill’s murder.
Other theories surrounding the murder suggest that it was an IRA attack.
There was also speculation that Jill’s murder was a plot by a London underworld gang after she reported on it for Crimewatch.
And some believe it was a revenge killing by Serbian warlords after the journalist hosted an appeal for Kosovar refugees.
In addition to Jill’s family, friends and colleagues, the series also speaks to Barry George, who is seen in the trailer as having eight years of his life taken away from him.
Who killed Jill Dando? will continue to be broadcastfrom today.