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Diana died in accident, not murdered

A Three-year inquiry into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed has concluded that the Paris crash that klled the two was a tragic accident and not murder.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 19:18 IST

A Three-year inquiry into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed has concluded that allegations of murder were unfounded, and that the Paris car crash that killed the two in 1997 was a "tragic accident," a senior police officer said on Thursday.

The inquiry, which largely confirmed previous findings by French investigators, said there was no reason for suspecting the involvement of the royal family, that the princess was not pregnant when she died and nor was she engaged to marry her companion, Dodi Fayed.

"Our conclusion is that, on all the evidence available at this time, there was no conspiracy to murder any of the occupants of the car. This was a tragic accident," said Lord Stevens, former chief of the Metropolitan Police, who led the investigation of the deaths of Diana, 36, and her companion Fayed, 42.

"There was no conspiracy, and no cover-up," Stevens added. The couple were killed along with chauffeur Henri Paul when their Mercedes crashed in the Pont d'Alma tunnel in Paris on August 31, 1997, while they were being chased by paparazzi.

The inquiry said that blood samples taken from Paul showed his blood-alcohol level was twice the British legal limit. "We know that the car travelled at excessive speed during the final part of the journey while being followed by the paparazzi.

We know the route it took. We can say with certainty that the car hit the curb just before the 13th pillar of the central reservation in the Alma un derpass, at a speed of 98 to 101 kilometres per hour," Stevens said. "We conclude that nothing in the very rapid sequence of events we have reconstructed supports the allegation of conspiracy to murder."

Stevens noted allegations by Fayed's father, Mohammed Al Fayed, that the couple were killed as a result of a conspiracy by the establishment, including Prince Philip and British intelligence agencies.

"I have seen nothing that would justify further inquiries with any member of the royal family," he said. He said Diana's elder son, Prince William, said there had been no indication that she was about to take a second husband. The report disputed al Fayed's claims that Diana was pregnant and intended to marry Dodi Fayed.

"We are certain that the Princess of Wales was not pregnant at the time of her death," Stevens said. "Our conclusions were strengthened by forensic tests carried out on blood recovered from the Mercedes car.

The investigation The allegations of murder were unfounded The crash was a tragic accident There was no reason for suspecting involvement of royal family Diana was was not pregnant when she died The blood samples taken from chauffeur Henri Paul showed his blood-alcohol level was twice the British legal limit.

It's all garbage: al-Fayed

The father of Princess Diana's boyfriend Dodi al-Fayed dismissed on Thursday a new British report into her 1997 death, saying it was "garbage" if it rejects a key conspiracy claim he has long made.

Mohammed alFayed, owner of Britain's Harrods department store, notably accused the author of the new report of being "blackmailed" by British intelligence services.

A French investigation subsequently concluded that the driver was well over the drink-drive limit and had also been taking drugs, and that the crash was an accident.

But Mohammed al-Fayed has long maintained that it was a conspiracy involving British intelligence agents, and notably said Paul's blood samples were switched to falsely implicate him as drunk.

Media leaks from the British report said DNA tests confirm that the samples taken from the driver just after his death were indeed his and show him to have been three times over the French limit.

Al-Fayed said however that he did not trust Lord John Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police commissioner leading the inquiry. "He have just done what the British intelligence has asked for," Fayed said.

"They blackmailed him, definitely." He added that he had hired five of Britain's leading pathologists to conduct their own investigation, the results of which ran counter to Lord Stevens' reported findings. "If he has done DNA it is garbage."

Fayed told BBC radio: "How can I accept something really shocking?. I know deep in my heart that I'm the only person who knows the truth."

First Published: Dec 15, 2006 19:18 IST