A woman killed Jill’

PUBLISHED: 17:37 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:08 25 August 2010

Dave Courtney at Café Taj with Rob Abdul

SH3907-037 16-11-06 Gravesend Dave Courtney at Café Taj with Rob Abdul

A FORMER gangster who was quizzed over the murder of Jill Dando claims it was a woman who killed her for encouraging people to grass up on her lover.

A FORMER gangster who was quizzed over the murder of Jill Dando claims it was a woman who killed her for encouraging people to 'grass up' on her lover.

Dave Courtney, 49, from Plumstead, and Ian 'Lucky' Tucker, 41, of Lewis Road, Istead Rise, were quizzed by police after the 'Golden Girl' was gunned down outside her Fulham home in 1999.

Barry George, 48, served eight years behind bars for her murder but was acquitted at his retrial at the Old Bailey last Friday. He told reporters: "To be quite honest and practical, I don't think they'll ever find who did it."

Now the former prime suspect has been acquitted, Mr Courtney, who worked for the Kray twins for 20 years, says he is not scared the police will come back after him, even though in 1999 he was quizzed about the murder for two days.

He said: "I had an alibi. I live my life by a calendar. I was doing an audience-with show, where I was speaking."

He slammed the police investigation, claiming that they refuse to admit that her death could be related to BBC's Crimewatch that Dando presented.

He said: "I believe it was a woman. To shoot a woman is very hard. It is f****** hard. A man would find it really hard but for women it would be easier.

"Anyone who kills someone has a plan. Anyone who just hides in a bush, shoots somebody and runs off down the street, shows they haven't planned it. That is somebody that is angry and not thinking."

He added: "Me and Ian Tucker were questioned because I had a connection with guns and she ended up putting away a lot of people I know.

"An idiot could work out that it was somebody who had a husband, lover or son that Crimewatch had put away.

"That is the only angle the police didn't look at. They didn't even mention it once that it could be that.

"The police can't advertise that she was killed because of that as she was advocating grassing people up. They can't say she was punished for that.

"Every night, there is a grass-up somebody programme on television.

"How many people has that programme sent away? And Jill Dando was all over the papers saying 'I'm getting married'."

Mr Courtney said he thought it was obvious Barry George wasn't guilty from the start.

He said: "The authorities can't deal with not catching somebody so they put away the one who will cause the least fuss. And by the time it gets to appeal they forget they haven't got the real one."

Senior investigators and the Assistant Commissioner John Yates met at New Scotland Yard on Monday to discuss the next steps in the case of Ms Dando's murder.

Mr Yates said: "As with all unsolved murders, this case remains open and subject to review.

"A £50,000 reward from the charity Crimestoppers still remains available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Jill's murderer. We continue to appeal for any new information and keep an open mind in relation to this case."

Michael Laurie CBE, chief executive of Crimestoppers, added: "Over the passage of time there must be someone out there who knows something about the murder of Jill Dando. If that person is unable to go the police with that information then they can contact Crimestoppers in total anonymity. We do not ask for names and addresses; calls are not traced or recorded. We are only interested in what you know not who you are."

Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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