Crimewatch host Jill Dando 'murder that shocked the nation' update 25 years later

In a shocking development in the Jill Dando murder investigation 25 years after the crime was committed, a man has been revealed to bear a remarkable semblance to a feared Serbian hitman.

In an exclusive probe by The Mirror startling similarities were revealed between the unknown man captured on CCTV along the alleged escape route of Dando's killer and twice-convicted murderer Milorad Ulemek, serving a 40-year sentence in Serbia.

Renowned facial comparison expert Emi Polito found numerous matching characteristics between the elusive Man X on the CCTV footage and the infamous assassin, who notably spearheaded a notorious hit squad during the reign of Slobodan Milosevic.

Jill's brother Nigel, now 72, told the publication: "I'm always interested in any new lines of inquiry about Jill's death, especially if those lines of inquiry might lead to somebody being arrested and convicted of her murder."

Barry George, the man who was wrongfully convicted for the celebrated TV presenter's murder and spent eight years behind bars before his acquittal, also demanded an inquiry into this recent revelation. Mr George, a 64 year old neighbour of Dando with learning difficulties, said: "If he's the person who committed that crime then he should face the full letter of the law and be brought from Serbia to the UK and be dealt with through the courts."

Michael Mansfield KC, who represented Mr George at his initial trial, has called for action after the investigation, stating: "I would call for there to be a review and for the investigation to be resuscitated."

He also provocatively suggested: "There was a recent Netflix show called 'Who Killed Jill Dando?' Well, you may have the answer."

Mr Mansfield further insisted on the importance of the Metropolitan Police's role, saying: "The Metropolitan Police has a duty to Jill Dando's family and loved ones, to Barry George and the public to fully investigate this new line of inquiry uncovered by the Daily Mirror."

He urged for a comprehensive probe. "This should include a full forensic examination of the original CCTV of the unidentified man, all recovered finger and palm prints and to ascertain the movements of Ulemek at the time."

The context of Jill Dando's murder is chillingly linked to the Yugoslav war, as she had appealed for help for Kosovan refugees shortly before her death. A claim was made soon after her assassination that it was a retaliation for NATO's bombing of Serbia.

The mystery deepens with the assassin's uncanny resemblance to the "sweating man" seen in an e-fit, who was spotted boarding a bus in Fulham just minutes after Jill was fatally shot outside her home.

Forensic expert Mr Polito, who often works with the police, noted striking similarities between Man X and the suspected Serbian killer, pointing out matching features such as their mouth, chin, hairline, sideburn, and even the shape and size of their noses and right ear.

The report by the expert concluded with a cautious note: "Within the imagery limitations, no differences were found between Man X and Mr [Ulemek]."

However, he could only offer limited support to the idea that they are the same person due to the low resolution of the CCTV image.

He added: "There are a number of similarities between the two men... in particular the appearance of the mouth and of the hairline that add some light weight to the contention that they are the same person."

Mr Polito suggested that a more conclusive opinion might be possible with higher quality CCTV footage. He also pointed out a distinctive dent on Ulemek's nose, which wasn't visible on the CCTV but was present in an e-fit from an eyewitness, released by the police at the time.

Notably, Mr Polito did not provide the e-fit image himself.

When approached about whether his client had any involvement in Jill's murder, Ulemek's attorney Aleksander Kovacevic stated: "I inform you that my client has been made aware of this and that he is not interested in participating."

The brutal murder of Jill on her doorstep just after 11.30am on Monday April 26, 1999, sent shockwaves across the nation and sparked one of the largest homicide investigations in UK history.

Despite its infamy as one of Britain's most high-profile unsolved cases, the police have not reviewed the files in over a decade.

Twenty-five years after Jill Dando's death, a Mirror investigation has uncovered new leads in the case. Based on police files, witness testimonies, and detective interviews, the investigation reveals that the Metropolitan Police had access to CCTV footage of a suspect nicknamed "Man X" within two weeks of the murder.

The footage depicts a white male with dark hair, believed to be between 50 and 60 years old, wearing a dark suit, light shirt, and a two-toned tie. He was captured on camera entering Putney Bridge Underground station, purchasing a ticket, and entering the platform before turning around and exiting through the barrier seconds later.

At the time, detectives suspected the killer intended to meet a getaway driver in a blue Range Rover spotted before and after the shooting. Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell stated at the opening of Dando's inquest in May 1999 that a man resembling the suspect in the e-fit was seen boarding a number 74 bus minutes after the murder.

The bus driver confirmed picking up the suspect, who appeared to be sweating heavily and speaking on a mobile phone.

Despite accessing CCTV footage from the station, detectives never released images of Man X to the public, leaving his identity and potential involvement in the case shrouded in mystery. Scotland Yard confirmed earlier this month that he remains unidentified.

After a two week wait for response, the force refused to answer a number of other questions from the publication.

Like the descriptions of the suspect, Ulemek was in his 30s at the time and of a similar build, height and hair colour.

He is in the Zabela high security prison, known locally as Serbia's Alcatraz, near the eastern town of Prozarevac.

Ulemek was convicted of plotting the murders of Serbia's former President Ivan Stambolic in 2000 and the country's first democratically elected PM, Zoran Djindjic in 2003.

The former French Foreign Legionnaire and gang boss is understood to have learned English while living in London as a young man.

He is Serbia's most infamous paramilitary soldier and human rights groups say his units were responsible for some of the worst atrocities in the Yugoslav wars of the 90s.

More commonly known by his nickname, Legija or Legionnaire, he also calls himself Lukovic, a name he took from his former wife.

Jill, 37, was shot in the head once at point-blank range as she went to open her front door, seconds after getting out of her blue BMW convertible.

The attack bore the hallmarks of a ruthless and well thought-out military operation. Custom-made ammunition was used which experts had not previously seen in the UK.

Jill was grabbed from behind and forced down so her head was nearly on the ground by the killer who had been laying in wait for her.

The chilling details of Jill Dando's murder have emerged, revealing that the gun was pressed against her skull, behind her left ear, in a "hard contact" attack that muffled the gunshot sound, leaving no witnesses who heard it.

Jill's life was tragically cut short in an instant. The "9mm short" bullet found at the scene was less potent than the usual 9mm parabellum rounds.

Forensic experts deduced that the bullet could have been shot from a compact semi-automatic weapon, possibly a Beretta or a Walther PPK, similar to those used in foreign assassinations by Yugoslav spies.

Eyewitnesses described the unmasked killer as he calmly closed the gate of Jill's residence at 29 Gowan Avenue and even slowed his pace when he realised he was being observed.

Two locals provided matching descriptions of the suspect seen departing the crime scene, consistent with accounts of a man spotted sprinting down Fulham Palace Road towards Putney Bridge Tube station.

Jill's untimely death occurred just three months after she shared the joyful news of her engagement to gynaecologist Alan Farthing.

Her father, Jack, passed away on his 91st birthday in 2009 without ever seeing justice for his beloved daughter. Jill's mother, Winifred, succumbed to leukemia 13 years prior.

On the sombre 25th anniversary of Jill Dando's death this Friday, 26 April, Scotland Yard released a statement saying: "On the 25th anniversary of Jill Dando's murder, our thoughts remain with her family and all those affected by her death.

"In the years since her murder, the investigation has been subject to numerous reviews, aiming to identify whether matters could be progressed with advances in technology and forensics."

"The investigation is now in an inactive phase, which means that it is not currently subject to routine reviews. However no unsolved murder is ever closed and detectives would consider any new information provided to assess whether it represented a new and realistic line of enquiry.'".