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Fashion boss denies his hitman killed Jill Dando in a shootout

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A fashion boss has denied his killer gunned down Jill Dando in a case of mistaken identity.

Gerald Marie, 72, has been accused of using the Russian mafia to try to kill Lisa Brinkworth, now 55, a BBC journalist who exposed him as a sexual abuser.

But the shooter may have murdered TV presenter Ms Dando, extraordinary allegations in legal documents filed in Paris show.

However, the fashion boss described the allegations that he had hired the bumbling killer as “imaginative nonsense”.

Lawyers reportedly argued that the mix-up may have stemmed from the similarities in the two women’s appearance, their occupation and the fact that they both lived in the same area of ​​London.

In the legal documents, Ms Brinkworth is described as “blonde, of the same height and of similar build; as Jill Dando”. They were also neighbors in Fulham.







Ex-BBC journalist Lisa Brinkworth
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AFP via Getty Images)

The infamous cold case was again widely exposed when Ms Brinkworth claimed Marie wanted her dead after she claimed he sexually assaulted her in 1998 while she was working undercover to uncover crimes in the fashion industry.

In the court filing, Ms Brinkworth’s lawyers refer to an alleged conversation witnessed by a former elite agency executive in which Marie considered hiring the Russian mafia to “solve a problem”.

The newspapers said: “Shortly afterwards, in April 1999, another BBC journalist, Jill Dando, was shot dead.”

The French statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions at the time meant that sexual assault had to be reported within three years and rape within a decade.

Marie therefore claims the allegations were “made up to try to overturn the statute of limitations”.







Elite Models Agency Manager Gerald Marie
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Alamy Stock Photo)

One of his lawyers said today: “It is imaginative nonsense aimed at Lisa Brinkworth fearing for her life and was therefore too frightened to report the alleged assault within a reasonable time.

“In fact, Lisa Brinkworth made no effort whatsoever to report sexual abuse at the time and only began taking action decades later.”

Ms Brinkworth claims she was held in a safe house after her exposé was broadcast on the BBC program MacIntyre Investigates, presented by veteran journalist Donal MacIntyre.

She also said that according to the newspapers, the BBC did not want her to take legal action.

They say that Omar Harfouch, who is now 53 and a Lebanese businessman and politician, was in a Paris restaurant with upper elite management in 1999 when they were discussing the MacIntytre program.







Barry George was acquitted of killing Jill Dando and received substantial damages for defamation over claims that he was obsessed with her
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PA)







Mrs. Brinkworth in her eighties
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Collect)

“We’re screwed,” Marie reportedly told others after learning about the report.

He said he was “tricked” after Ms Brinkworth, then 31, pretended to be a model and the fashion boss called her a “huge problem”.

To which Vitali Leiba, an elite Moscow-based agent with allegedly strong ties to the Russian mafia, replied: “Consider it done.”

Mr. Harfouch claims this is an indirect reference to ‘doing [Brinkworth] disappear,” says the legal papers.

The Harfouch testimony is now being used by lawyers for 15 plaintiffs – including Ms Brinkworth – to try to overturn the statute of limitations.

In a file sent to Paris prosecutors, William Bourdon, Amélie Lefebvre and Anne-Claire Lejeune refer to “the fear of physical reprisals, up to and including contract killing, preventing Lisa Brinkworth from filing a complaint in a timely manner, which Gerald Marie accuses of sexual assault as part of her report.”







Ex-Crimewatch host Jill Dando
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PA)







Jill Dando with her partner Alan Farthing
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Alan Davidson/REX/Shutterstock)

The attorneys’ report adds: “They are therefore asking for an extension of the statute of limitations in an unprecedented proceeding, paving the way for a future trial.”

Paris prosecutors launched a preliminary investigation into Marie in September 2020 after he was accused of rape and sexual assault by the 15 women.

However, all of the alleged facts happened in the 1980s and 1990s, which barred them from prosecution, leaving Marie a free man.

The BBC aired the MacIntrye program in November 1999 and alleged that Ms Brinkworth was attacked in a nightclub in Milan, Italy, in October 1998.

In her complaint, which was eventually filed with French judicial authorities on September 20, 2020, Ms Brinkworth describes an “obscene atmosphere” created by Marie, who allegedly encouraged her to “perform oral sex” on elite executives and “me.” to let fuck”. you are for money

Ms Brinkworth was told: “Nobody rejects the President of Elite and it’s an honor to sleep with that man,” the legal papers said.

Elite executives are said to be “laughing and applauding” as Marie allegedly foisted on Ms Brinkworth and feared she was being raped.

Footage shows Ms Brinkworth telling Mr MacIntyre what happened immediately after the incident.

Elite sued the BBC over the allegations and in 2001 the corporation agreed under a confidentiality agreement never to air the program again.

Ms Brinkworth was not part of that arrangement and so she was pressured to remain silent, according to Elite’s latest legal documents.

She says she received protection from the BBC for three years, between 1999 and 2001, and placed her in three safe houses, at least one of which was surrounded by electric fences.

A spokesman for the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed that the investigation into Gerald Marie was “ongoing” and that no one had been arrested or charged.

A Met Police spokesman said: “The investigation into Ms Dando’s murder remains open, as with all homicide investigations. We will always investigate any new information that may become available.”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fashion-boss-denies-hitman-killed-27338039 Fashion boss denies his hitman killed Jill Dando in a shootout

Fry Electronics Team

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