Barry George, the man acquitted at a retrial of killing the BBC television presenter Jill Dando, is making an unprecedented legal challenge to stop the authorities keeping a watch on his movements.
George, 48, begins a legal case in the high court against the Metropolitan police, claiming his human rights are being breached because he is the subject of a multi-agency public protection arrangement (Mappa). The arrangements, which involve the police, probation service, prison service and local authorities, are designed to protect the public from sexual and violent offenders who are considered to still pose a risk after serving their sentences.
If George succeeds, probation officers and police believe hundreds of other offenders being supervised under Mappa could make similar challenges.
George, who suffers from a personality disorder and was said in court to be obsessed by celebrities, was freed from prison in August last year after serving seven years of a life sentence for the murder of Dando. The Crimewatch presenter was shot dead on her doorstep in Fulham, west London, on 26 April 1999.
George, who has lived with his sister in Ireland and at an address in west London since his release, will argue in his legal challenge that the monitoring of his life breaches his rights because he was acquitted of the Dando killing and because previous convictions for attempted rape and indecent assault are now spent.
Legal sources said George's challenge was unprecedented. He is on the lowest level of Mappa monitoring: he has to tell the local authority where he lives and the police are kept informed of his movements.
Harry Fletcher, from Napo, the trade union for probation staff, said he believed George's case raised worrying issues.
"Mappa was set up to monitor people coming out of prison who still posed a risk to the public and, if you go down the road of monitoring people who haven't been convicted, it raises massive issues about civil liberties," said Fletcher.
"If people are being referred to Mappa on the basis of suspicions and intelligence or because their case is high-profile, it does open up worrying aspects around intrusion."
The Metropolitan police is contesting the challenge, which will be heard in full in two weeks' time after Tuesday's preliminary hearing.
It argues that George has admitted stalking women and police have received new complaints from two women since his release last year.
The Met says his pattern of behaviour over many years of following women means that he still poses a risk despite his acquittal. They use his convictions for indecent assault in 1982 and attempted rape in 1983 as evidence of a long-running pattern of behaviour.
George was arrested in 2000 for the murder of Dando. He was convicted at his first trial in 2001 after the jury accepted that a single speck of gunpowder residue found on his coat linked him to the crime. After losing his first appeal, his conviction was quashed in 2007 after scientists told the court of appeal the gunpowder evidence was neutral and too much weight had been placed upon it.
A jury at his second trial last year found him not guilty in a unanimous verdict and George was released and made the subject of a Mappa order.
After his release, George gave an interview in which he admitted stalking women. He said the reason he could not have killed Dando was that he was stalking another woman at the time.
In the interview with the News of the World, George said that when Dando was murdered, he was following another woman after leaving a disability centre in Fulham, west London.
"I walked with her for a bit and, from her perspective, maybe it was unwanted attention. But she didn't make that clear," he said. "It didn't seem like she was telling me to go away. If she'd told me to leave, I'd have done so straight away."
He told another newspaper: "I won't follow women any more. I know it's wrong. I am never going to give anyone the chance to send me away again. I have changed."
George became a suspect about eight months into the Dando murder inquiry. His name had cropped up before, sometimes as Barry Bulsara ? the name of one of singer Freddie Mercury's relatives ? but he had not come to the fore.
During a search of George's flat, detectives found piles of newspapers and celebrity magazines. Photographs of Caron Keating, Anthea Turner and Emma Freud were among 4,000 pictures of women found in his flat in May 2000, the court heard. Police also found newspapercuttings about Dando's life and career.
He was placed under surveillance and was seen to approach 38 women on the streets during a three-week period. Checks revealed his previous convictions for sex offences.
During his second trial, the jury heard from 14 women who said George had followed them or frightened them as they walked home. But there was never any scientific proof or witnesses to put him at the Dando murder scene; the evidence presented was all circumstantial and he was acquitted.
Scotland Yard's review of the Dando murder inquiry is ongoing. It is understood forensic scientists have found no new evidence.