The untold story of the family of Barry George, wrongly convicted for the murder of Jill Dando
On April 26, 1999, BBC TV presenter Jill Dando was murdered outside her home in London. Barry George was convicted and imprisoned for the murder but was later acquitted after an appeal and retrial. Stand Against Injustice is the powerful memoir of the sister of Barry George. For the first time, Michelle Diskin Bates tells her story, the human side and truth behind one of recent history’s most high profile and damaging miscarriages of justice whose life is inextricably interwoven in the drama, the trauma, the conspiracy and the fight for justice. A self-confessed ‘ordinary housewife’, Michelle’s voice weaves the personal everyday struggles that bring depth, color, and passion into what is an extraordinary account. A troubled childhood weighted with overbearing responsibility, fear and insecurity, depression, and the challenges of marriage and adult relationships, Michelle’s life has never been easy.
Stand Against Injustice is a true story and a personal memoir. It is set in the United Kingdom, but my life was lived in southern Ireland, so this book is as much an Irish memoir, as it is an historical account of events that took place in the UK.
Many will have heard of the awful killing of popular TV presenter, Jill Dando, in 1999. Her murder had a devastating emotional impact on people in the UK, eclipsed only by the death of Princess Diana. Never could I have imagined that my life, and Jill’s death, would become inextricably intertwined. Jill moved in the stellar world of showbiz, celebrity, and, as the iconic face of the BBC, she was a superstar. In contrast, I was an unknown, a wife and a mother living a quiet life in a small village in County Cork. I’d never met Jill Dando. Indeed, I’d hardly noticed her before her terrible murder, she wasn’t a superstar in Ireland. Yet I was about to have my quiet anonymity shattered, and my whole life catapulted onto a world stage.
Two trials, and the subsequent overturning of the conviction of Barry George, and his Not Guilty verdict at re-trial, may only be vaguely remembered by a public, used to viewing such events through the coverage of the media, who choose what is ‘in the public’s interest.’
The public will never have been subjected to the damage a miscarriage of justice has on the family. They will not be aware of the pitfalls endemic in our justice system, nor how to protect themselves against it. The public have never been exposed to the truth of this baffling case. Jill Dando has been brutally murdered and her killer is still at large.
Justice has not been served.
Thank you, Michelle Diskin Bates and Love Books Group Tours
About the author
Mother of three, campaigner for justice and Committed Christian.
Michelle campaigned for eight years for the release of her disabled brother, Barry George, after he was wrongly convicted in 2001, for the high profile murder of BBC television presenter, Jill Dando. Mr George was acquitted in 2007 and sent for re-trial in 2008. He was found not guilty, by unanimous jury verdict on 1st August 2008.
Born in Fulham, London in 1955, Michelle lived in West London until 1973. She then moved to Cork, Ireland, where she lived until 2012, with her three adult children. Michelle’s first husband, Patrick, died unexpectedly in 2007 after a short illness, but, with God’s grace, she is now married again, to Peter, who supports her in her Miscarriage of Justice (MOJ) activities. They are both committed Christians, who worship at a Baptist church in Northamptonshire, taking on many responsibilities within the fellowship.
Retired now, Michelle always worked outside of the home in various industries, and at all levels from cleaner to management. Her ethos being: do the job to the best of your abilities, as a service to others, regardless of the task. She has trained as an Image Consultant and most recently, as a weight loss consultant.
Since her brother’s wrongful incarceration, she has become a public speaker at Miscarriage of Justice conferences across the UK, and has also been a guest speaker at the Spiritual Health Weekends for women, run by Nancy Goudie. Also a guest lecturer at University College Cork and Portsmouth University to Law students interested in Miscarriage of Justice. Also attending APPGs on miscarriage of justice in Parliament.
Michelle is still in touch with many families of the wrongly convicted, including those convicted under Joint Enterprise. She also has connections with various MOJ organisations, e.g. Mojo Scotland, The Innocence Project in UK Universities, and a variety of legal representatives and released victims of MOJ.
She is interested in the refusal of the Judiciary to pay compensation under section 133., ‘Not innocent enough’ or ‘A jury, properly directed, could have convicted’, both of which still affect her brother.
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