The decade-long conspiracy theory that Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed were murdered by MI6 on the orders of the Duke of Edinburgh was finally and comprehensively dismissed yesterday.
In a landmark day in the six-month inquests, the coroner told the jury that there was no evidence to support claims by Mohamed Al Fayed that the couple were killed in an Establishment plot.
Summing up after hearing more than 250 witnesses, Lord Justice Scott Baker said that the Harrods owner’s claims were so manifestly without foundation that even his lawyer was no longer pursuing them. The hearings had heard not a shred of evidence to support them, he added.
The coroner ruled that it was not open to the jury to find that the deaths were the result of an unlawful killing by the Duke of Edinburgh or anyone else in a staged accident. Their options for verdicts were unlawful killing by the gross negligence of Henri Paul, the driver, the negligent driving of pursuing vehicles, a combination of both, accidental death, or an open verdict.
His ruling was aimed at drawing a line under 10 years of conspiracy theorising which have been the subject of two exhaustive inquiries and consumed at least £6 million of British public money. In his closing remarks the coroner branded several witnesses as probable liars. “One of the regrettable features of this case is the number of people who, it appears, have told lies in the witness box or elsewhere,” he said