personal or political?
On 10 December 1999, it was reported in the Sun newspaper that a man, strolling along the shore of the Thames, had found a black 9 mm automatic Baretta, wrapped in newspaper, a gun similar to that used in the Dando shooting. The same day, police revealed that it was likely Dando had been shot by a stalker rather than a professional killer.There were certain indicators leading them to this conclusion. These included the public location of the murder, with nowhere to hide and the lack of a getaway car. There was a strong element of chance, as Dando seldom went to her own house, spending most of her time at her fiancé’s home. Whilst the police never found the murder weapon, they found that not only had the muzzle made contact with the victim but both the firearm and ammunition was homemade. All these factors were contrary to a professional killer’s work. The Baretta gun was later found to have no connection to the crime.
After a year the case was reviewed and a man, who had previously been overlooked, became the new focus. His was known as Barry Bulsara, 40-years-old and unemployed. He lived half a mile from Dando’s home and his behaviour had been described as odd by some of the murder witnesses. Police set up surveillance on Bulsara and discovered that he regularly followed women along the street, often right to their front doors.Based on their findings, along with the witness reports, police arrested Bulsara on 25 May 2000, withholding his name from the public. A few days after the arrest, they discovered he had been known by other names, including Thomas Palmer and Steve Majors, and finally learned his real name was Barry Michael George. George had told acquaintances and neighbours he assumed false identities due to his work in a high security government position. This was untrue, as was his claim that he was related to the late Freddy Mercury, rock group Queen’s lead singer, whose original surname was Bulsara.There was little forensic evidence to be found but in an initial search of George’s apartment, police discovered that he had an unusual fascination for the BBC, celebrities, the military and guns. He had a large collection of books and magazines on those subjects and police found photographs he had taken from his television of female newsreaders. They also found two articles, cut out from the Metro newspaper, referring to Dando’s death.George was held in custody for 84 hours, during which time, police found a small particle of gunpowder residue on the lining of his coat pocket. It was consistent with gunpowder found at the murder scene and in Dando’s hair. Investigators also discovered a strand of fibre at the crime scene that matched the material of a pair of trousers owned by the suspect. George appeared at the West London Magistrate’s Court on 29 May 2000, where police were granted an extension to hold him for further questioning before they formally charged him for the crime.