Diana probe says death was "tragic accident," dismisses conspiracy

Iran Materials 14 December 2006 18:08 (UTC +04:00)

(AFP) -. Princess Diana's death in a Paris car crash was a "tragic accident" a long-awaited report has concluded, dismissing theories of a murder plot by intelligence services.

"There was no conspiracy to murder any occupants of that car. This was a tragic accident," said Lord John Stevens, the former commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, unveiling the 800-page report in London, reports Trend.

The report, which followed a three-year investigation, also rejected speculation that Diana was pregnant at the time of the crash in 1997.

"We are certain that the Princess of Wales was not pregnant," Stevens said.

He said he had also questioned numerous people, including the princess's son Prince William, about the claim that she planned to marry her boyfrend Dodi Al-Fayed who was also killed in the crash.

"None of them have indicated that she was either about to or wished to get engaged," he said, adding that Prince William had told him his mother did not give him the slightest indication of such intentions.

Even before the report was published, Dodi's father, Mohammed Al-Fayed had dismissed its leaked findings as "garbage," and insisted a conspiracy was behind the couple's death.

Fleeing paparazzi photographers, Diana, 36, Dodi Al-Fayed, 42, and chauffeur Henri Paul, 41, were killed in the crash in a Paris underpass in the early hours of August 31 that year. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived.

Many blamed the pursing paparazzi for having contributed to the crash, but in 1999 a French investigation formally cleared nine photographers and a press motorcyclist of manslaughter charges.

In February this year, three photographers were convicted of breaching France's privacy laws for taking pictures of Diana and Dodi on the night they died.

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

"He has just done what the British intelligence has asked for," Fayed said of Lord Stevens. "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, he said, would contradict Lord Stevens' findings. "If he has done DNA it is garbage," he said.

Fayed also authorized an exclusive jeweller to release a video which it said showed Dodi picking up an engagement ring for Diana, just hours before both died in the car crash.

In a letter to AFP, which obtained a copy of the video, the jewellery company Repossi said it was making the images available after receiving authorization from Mohammed Al-Fayed.

The washed-out, black-and-white video, which was timestamped August 30, 1997, showed a man resembling Dodi Fayed entering Repossi's upscale Place Vendome boutique in central Paris, which neighbours the Ritz Hotel owned by Mohammed Al-Fayed.

The man entered at 5:44 pm (1544 GMT), according to the timestamp, and stayed a total of seven minutes. During that time he can be seen examining items of jewellery pulled out of a case and placed on a table. At the end of his visit, he seems to pick something up off a table and then leaves.