Princess Diana inquest nears an end

Princess Diana inquest nears an end

( AP )- Flashing lights, swarming paparazzi, a mysterious second car at the crash site, and a multi- tentacled conspiracy allegedly directed by the husband of Queen Elizabeth II - jurors have much to sort through in reaching a judgment on the deaths of Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed.

Nearly 11 years after the tragedy that shook the world, testimony has ranged far and wide in an extraordinary coroner's inquest, without shedding much light on claims that they were victims of a plot. The coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, is expected to begin his summation Monday, which may take days before going to the jury.

The key question for the jurors is whether the car crash in a Paris road tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997 was an accident.

Mohamed Al Fayed has not budged from claiming that his son and the princess died at the hands of British security agents, acting at Prince Philip's behest.

French police concluded it was an accident, caused in part by speeding and by the high alcohol level in driver Henri Paul's blood. A British police investigation concurred.

More than 240 witnesses have testified since the inquest began on Oct. 2, including Diana's close friends and former butler, Philip's private secretary and a former head of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Al Fayed's late bid to force the coroner to summon Philip to testify, and for written questions to be put to the queen, was summarily rejected by a higher court.

There has been evidence that Diana feared dying in a car crash, but that she also had speculated about death in a helicopter or airplane crash; there was testimony that she feared Philip.

The basic scene is familiar: the couple's car slammed into a concrete pillar in the Alma tunnel, after apparently having a glancing collision with a white Fiat Uno , as they were pursued from the Ritz Hotel by photographers. Some witnesses said they saw flashes of light in the instant before the crash; other witnesses didn't notice any. Al Fayed's claim is that flashing lights disoriented the driver and sent the couple's car into a fatal skid.

But there was precious little evidence to back up his claims that his son and Diana were engaged, that she was pregnant and that Philip was at the head of a murder plot.

Al Fayed believes the Establishment simply didn't want Diana to marry his son, a Muslim.

Al Fayed worked his way up from a humble birth in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1929 to become one of the richest men in Britain. He owns Harrods department store, a Scottish castle, the Fulham FC soccer team and the Ritz Hotel.

As the inquest unfolded, some distance opened between Al Fayed and his lawyers.

Michael Mansfield, his main advocate, steered away from accusing Philip or claiming MI6 assassinated the couple. He did suggest that rogue agents might have been involved.

"Mr. Al Fayed ... has certain beliefs which he has made clear. He is plainly not a member of MI6 or, certainly, the Establishment either," Mansfield told the coroner.

"I have never at any stage withdrawn any of his beliefs but you will see I have focused very carefully on elements of what he is suggesting that may be true; in other words, for which there is, forensically, evidence to support his beliefs."

Mansfield has suggested that Diana's campaign against land mines was the motive for the conspiracy - that she was assembling a dossier "capable of exposing historically British involvement in Angola because of who manufactured the weaponry, how it was got in there."

When he testified on Feb. 18, Al Fayed affirmed his belief that the conspirators included Prince Philip; Diana's ex-husband, Prince Charles; Tony Blair, who was prime minister when she died; Diana's sister, Sarah McCorquodale ; her brother-in-law, Robert Fellowes ; two former chiefs of London police; driver Paul; the CIA; Diana's attorney, the late Lord Mishcon ; two French toxicologists; Britain's ambassador to France; members of the French medical service; and three bodyguards Al Fayed once employed.

Al Fayed has claimed Fellowes was in Paris on the night of the crash sending messages to agents back in Britain. But none of Al Fayed's lawyers put that to Fellowes when he testified.

Al Fayed was the only witness to claim Diana was engaged to his son. He was told of the engagement, Al Fayed said, in a telephone call hours before the crash.

He alone definitively asserted that Diana was pregnant. The pathologist who examined her body said he saw no evidence, and others testified she was conscientious about taking her birth control pills.

So where was the proof? Al Fayed was asked.

"How can you want me to get the proof?" he said. "I am facing a steel wall of the security service, Official Secrets Act."

The coroner asked Al Fayed if he could possibly be wrong.

"No way, 100 percent," Al Fayed said. "I am certain. I am the father who lost his son. And I know exactly the situations. I know exactly the facts."

Azerenergy issues time framing to restore power plants in liberated Sugovushan (VIDEO)
Azerenergy issues time framing to restore power plants in liberated Sugovushan (VIDEO)
Oil market still to see some bumpy months
Oil market still to see some bumpy months
Turkmenistan exceeds plan for oil and gas condensate production
Turkmenistan exceeds plan for oil and gas condensate production
Loading Bars
Latest
PM Johnson and EU chief seek to break Brexit impasse
Azerbaijan teaches a lesson how Nations are built to fight against enemies
U.S. sets record of 227,885 COVID-19 cases in one day: Johns Hopkins University
Azerbaijan names day of holding military parade on victory in Patriotic War (PHOTO/VIDEO)
BTK railway project plays important role for logistics dev't in Georgia
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Uzbekneftegaz to buy casing pipes via tender
Demand for Turkish steel on Iran's construction market down
Azerbaijan extends COVID-19-related quarantine in some cities, districts
Azerbaijan confirms 4,323 new COVID-19 cases, 2,180 recoveries
Largest volume of metallurgical products falls on Uzbekistan’s Navoi region
Death toll from COVID-19 pandemic in Iran exceeds 50,000
Value of Iranian mining companies increases
Iran talks expenses on construction in Kohgiluyeh & Boyer-Ahmad Province
Preacher appointed to Khudavang monastery in Azerbaijan's Kalbajar
Azerbaijan presents first locally manufactured high-tech prostheses (PHOTO)
Azerenergy issues time framing to restore power plants in liberated Sugovushan (VIDEO)
Georgia reports new record-high 5,450 coronavirus cases
Russia, Kazakhstan reach agreements on anti-COVID vaccine production
Volume of trade turnover in Turkmenistan increases
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for December 5
Armenians destroyed all historical, religious items in churches of Azerbaijan - Albano-Udi Orthodox community
Albanian-Udi Christian Community returns to Khudavang monastery in Kalbajar (VIDEO)
Oil market still to see some bumpy months
Indicators of Turkmenistan’s construction, industrial sector increase
Azerbaijani oil prices continue to rise
Azerbaijan reduces imports of Turkish-made carpets
Iran announces date for launch of Ardabil-Mianeh railway
Azerbaijan gives martyr status to civilians killed due to Armenia's attacks on peaceful cities
Azerbaijani Bar Association appeals to int'l organizations regarding Armenian aggression
UK Maritime Trade Operations says aware of attack on vessel off Yemen coast
Number of enterprises put into operation in Iran's Kermanshah Province soars
Special offer for volunteers!
Iran discloses details of exports from Fars Province
Baku - leading capital of CIS in terms of economic activity index - Gazprombank
Data of Turkmen transport, communication sector revealed
Azerbaijani banking sector's overall profit drops
Turkmenistan exceeds plan for oil and gas condensate production
Iranian currency rates for December 5
Loan portfolio of trade, services sector in Azerbaijan grows
Кazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company opens tender for vehicle maintenance
Foreign investment in Iran increases
GDP growth observed in Turkmenistan
LNG share in Turkey’s natural gas imports reaches 43% in H1 this year
U.S. not extending TikTok divestiture deadline, but talks will continue
ADB allocates $2.5 mln to support Georgia amid pandemic
Italy's retail sales climb higher in October, pushed by demand for electronic equipment
4 regions in coronavirus red zone in Kazakhstan
Iran's UNESCO envoy urges condemnation of assassination of Iranian scientist
France's daily COVID-19 infections continue to fall
Embassy of Japan in Georgia reveals volume of trade turnover between two countries
Arab League welcomes Kuwait's efforts to "heal Arab rifts"
World Bank grants Morocco 400-mln-USD loan
Azerbaijan slows down imports of Turkish-made leather goods
Additional costs could add up to 2.8 billion dollars, Tokyo 2020 says
Trump to withdraw most troops from Somalia as part of global pullback
UK, EU call in leaders to save trade talks
Palestinian teen killed by Israeli forces in protest
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities in banking sector
Heydar Aliyev Center, Flame Towers and Baku Olympic Stadium illuminated with Azerbaijani flag (PHOTO)
NY Times publishes article on the fate of Ciraqli village during Karabakh conflict
South Africa's second largest crude refinery shutdown after blast
1st China-bound freight train departs on 12-day journey from Istanbul
Chip shortages could slow automotive production, VW and suppliers say
Russia, India kick off joint naval drills in Indian Ocean
NCDC to study COVID-19 reinfection cases
Turkey reports over 32,736 new COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijan unveils funds value received by Armed Forces Relief Fund as of December 1
Kazakhstan, Russia agree on measure to restore ecosystem of transboundary rivers
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 4
Kazakhstan's coal extracting venture to buy spares via tender
French activists protest against Amazon's expansion
Azerbaijani, Bulgarian FMs discuss bilateral cooperation
Azerbaijani public reveres memory of martyrs of Karabakh conflict (PHOTO)
Electricity Market Concept Design defines gradual retail market opening in Georgia
Import of rice by Azerbaijan up
Baku Metro opens tender to buy tire connections
French parliament loses ability to be serious partner – Turkish Grand National Assembly
Investments in Georgian Poti Free Industrial Zone diversified by regional countries
Iran's next years budget unlikely to improve economy - Head of Parliament Plan and Budget Commission
Azerbaijan raises value of imports from Lithuania in 10M2020
Big foreign IT companies entering Georgia's market
Azerbaijan's Compulsory Insurance Bureau compensating bankrupted insurer's creditors
Georgia sees increase in tangerines export
Azerbaijan shows video footage from Yanshag village of Kalbajar district (VIDEO)
EDB, KazakhExport to jointly insure exports of insulated cars from Kazakhstan
Georgian Chamber of Commerce working on several projects to help SMEs
Azerbaijan's irrigation company to finance power supply of crop areas
Turkmenistan builts new mosque in Afghanistan's Akina town (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani, Latvian FMs exchange views on current situation in region
International organizations aim to finance road construction and repair in Georgia
Georgia sees increase in imports of dairy products
Azerbaijan unveils 10M2020 railway export operations
EDB to fund investment projects in priority sectors of Kazakhstan Development Bank
Azerbaijani FM receives Belarusian ambassador amid completion of his diplomatic mission (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry delivers diplomatic note to French ambassador
Global debt to hit $200 trillion - S&P Global
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of general equipment
Ankara honors memory of Azerbaijan's martyrs (PHOTO)
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva: We will never forget Patriotic War martyrs (PHOTO)
All news