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Was Princess Diana MURDERED by British soldier? Metropolitan Police ‘assessing credibility’ of new claim made in court martial of SAS sniper Danny Nightingale

7 min read

  • Police  ‘scoping information’ and ‘assessing its relevance and  credibility’
  • The force  has said it ‘is not a re-investigation’ into their deaths
  • Diana, Dodi  Al Fayed and chauffeur Henri Paul died in Paris crash in 1997
  • Inquest  concluded in 2008 when jury returned verdict of unlawful  killing

By  James Rush and Francesca Infante

PUBLISHED: 11:24 EST, 17  August 2013 |  UPDATED: 19:32 EST, 17 August 2013

Scotland Yard last night said they were  assessing the credibility of new information relating to the deaths of  Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed including  an allegation that they were murdered by a member of the British  military.

It said it was ‘scoping’ the information,  which surfaced in the second court martial of Sergeant Danny Nightingale, the  SAS sniper convicted of illegally stashing a pistol and 338 bullets in his  bedroom.

The allegation was contained in a  letter  from the parents-in-law of Soldier N, Sgt Nightingale’s former  housemate, which  was sent to the SAS’s commanding officer in September 2011.

Police have said they are 'assessing' information it has recently received in relation to the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed 

Police have said they are ‘assessing’ information it has  recently received in relation to the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al  Fayed

It is understood the information was passed  to the Metropolitan Police through the Royal Military Police.

The letter says Soldier N claimed the SAS  ‘was behind Princess Diana’s death’ and it had been ‘covered up’, the Sunday  People has  reported.

A statement issued by Scotland Yard said:  ‘The Metropolitan Police Service is scoping information that has recently been  received in relation to the deaths and assessing its relevance and  credibility.

 

‘The assessment will be carried out by  officers from the specialist crime and operations command.

‘This is not a re-investigation and does not  come under Operation Paget.’

Police said they are not prepared to  discuss  the matter further, while a royal spokeswoman said there will be no comment on  the matter from Prince William or Prince Harry, or from  Clarence  House.

Police said the deaths of Diana and Mr Al Fayed were 'thoroughly investigated' and examined by an inquest led by Lord Justice Scott Baker at the Royal Court of Justice in 2007 to 2008 

Police said the deaths of Diana and Mr Al Fayed were  ‘thoroughly investigated’ and examined by an inquest led by Lord Justice Scott  Baker at the Royal Court of Justice in 2007 to 2008

Diana,  Dodi and chauffeur Henri Paul died  after their Mercedes crashed in the  tunnel, which left the Ritz Hotel on the  morning of August 31 1997.

The hearing into the deaths of Diana and Dodi  lasted more than 90 days with evidence from around 250 witnesses.

The inquests concluded on April 7,  2008,  with a jury returning a verdict that the ‘People’s Princess’ and  her boyfriend  were unlawfully killed.

After the hearing, Metropolitan Police said  they had spent £8 million on  services arising from the inquest and the  Operation Paget investigation  from 2004 to 2006.

Diana, Mr Al Fayed (pictured) and chauffeur Henri Paul died after their Mercedes crashed in a tunnel in Paris on the morning of August 31, 1997 

Diana, Mr Al Fayed (pictured) and chauffeur Henri Paul  died after their Mercedes crashed in a tunnel in Paris on the morning of August  31, 1997

That money includes the cost of the legal  team which represented the force’s commissioner at the inquest, police  protection for the inquest jury and paying for the Paget inquiry, reported to  have cost £3.6 million.

Former Met Police Commissioner Lord Stevens’s  Paget investigation was launched in 2004 at the request of Michael Burgess, the  Royal Coroner, who was then overseeing the future Diana inquest.

The former top policeman published his report  in December 2006, rejecting the murder claims voiced by some, including Dodi’s  father Mohamed al Fayed.

Lord Stevens’s investigation found that Diana  was not murdered by British spies nor by the Duke of Edinburgh and she was not  pregnant nor engaged to boyfriend Dodi.

Operation Paget concluded, just like the  French investigation in 1999, that driver Henri Paul was drunk and driving at  excessive speed.

The investigation dismissed the endless  conspiracy theories sparked by the fatal accident.

Mr Paul had an alcohol level of around 1.74  grams per litre at the time of the crash – about twice the British drink-drive  limit.

The black type S280 Mercedes was being driven  through the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris at around 61 to 63mph – twice the  speed limit for that section of road.

Lord Stevens said allegations that Diana was  murdered were ‘unfounded’ and that he found nothing to justify further inquiries  with members of the Royal Family.

A spokesman for Mr al Fayed yesterday said he  had  no comment to make, but said he will be ‘interested in seeing the  outcome’, adding that he trusts the Met will investigate the information ‘with  vigour’.

The Ministry of Defence said tonight it was  not commenting on the matter.

The jury in the 2008 inquest concluded its verdict as 'unlawful killing, grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles and of the Mercedes', the Met said

 

The jury in the 2008 inquest concluded its verdict as  ‘unlawful killing, grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles and of  the Mercedes’, the Met said

Timeline of events leading to the Diana  report

 

Princess Diana and Dodi al Fayed wait at the rear service exit of the Ritz Hotel in Paris on August 31, 1997 

Princess Diana and Dodi al Fayed wait at the rear  service exit of the Ritz Hotel in Paris on August 31, 1997

 

August 31, 1997 –  Diana, Dodi  and their chauffeur Henri Paul die when their S280 Mercedes crashes in the Pont  de l’Alma tunnel in Paris after leaving the Ritz Hotel. Bodyguard Trevor  Rees-Jones is badly injured but survives. A number of photographers and a press  motorcyclist are held for questioning.

September 1, 1997 – Analysis of blood  samples indicate Paul was drunk.

September 2, 1997 – French prosecutors  open an official inquiry headed by Judge Herve Stephan. And Dodi’s father  Mohamed al Fayed files a civil action in Paris and asks for a widening of the  inquiry to include possible charges of violation of privacy against Dodi and  Diana.

September 6, 1997 – Diana’s funeral is  held at Westminster Abbey, watched by millions around the world. Her son Princes  William and Harry walk through the streets behind her coffin.

September 17, 1997 – Examination of  debris found at the scene of the crash suggests the involvement of a white Fiat  Uno. Identity checks are carried out on 40,000 Fiat Uno owners, but it is never  found.

March 1998 – Mr al Fayed tells  investigators he believes the crash was part of a plot to kill Diana by  MI6

July 1999 – A French appeals court  rejects a request by Mr al Fayed for further official inquiries into the  crash.

September 1999 – Judge Herve Stephan’s  reports finds that that Diana and Dodi were killed because their chauffeur,  Henri Paul, was driving at high speed under the influence of drink and  anti-depressant drugs. The photographers and press motorcyclist are formally  cleared of manslaughter charges. Mr al Fayed announces he will  appeal.

July 2000 – Mr al Fayed loses his High  Court battle for joint, or concurrent, inquests into the deaths of Diana and  Dodi.

In July 1999 a French appeals court rejected a request by Mohammed al Fayed for further inquiries into the crash 

In July 1999 a French appeals court rejected a request  by Mohammed al Fayed for further inquiries into the crash

 

November 2001 – Mr al Fayed loses a  £100,000 claim for damages over what he had called a ‘flawed’ part of the  inquiry into Diana’s death.

October 2003 – Three photographers who  snapped pictures of Diana and Dodi at the crash scene go on trial in Paris  accused of invading the couple’s privacy. They are cleared a month later.

November 2003 – A privacy violation  civil case, brought by Mr Fayed against three of the photographers who were  following the Princess’s car on the night she died,

Lord Stevens released his report after three years of investigation - it concludes the couple and their chauffeur died in a traffic accident in a Paris underpass in August 1997 

Lord Stevens released his report after three years of  investigation – it concludes the couple and their chauffeur died in a traffic  accident in a Paris underpass in August 1997

 

January 6, 2004 – Separate inquests  into Diana and Dodi’s deaths are finally opened and adjourned. On the same day,  the Daily Mirror publishes a letter from Diana to her butler Paul Burrell 10  months before her death in which she claimed her former husband, the Prince of  Wales, was plotting to kill her in a crash.

January 7, 2004 – Former royal coroner  John Burton, who was present at the princess’s autopsy, says she was not  pregnant when she died. The Scotland Yard inquiry – codenamed Operation Paget –  is stepped up.

July 6, 2004 – The Diana memorial  fountain opens in Hyde Park.

August 2004 – A French court orders a  new investigation into the alleged falsification of alcohol and drug tests on  Henri Paul, his parents have always rejected the original post-mortem  examination’s findings.

May 2005 – Detectives are said to have  quizzed Britain’s two most senior spy chiefs John Scarlett, the head of MI6, and  Eliza Manningham-Buller, the MI5 director general.

July 2005 – The wrecked Mercedes is  brought to Britain for forensic examination..

December 2005 – The Prince of Wales is  finally questioned by Lord Stevens, signalling that the investigation is drawing  to a close. He is said to have been asked if he ever plotted to assassinate the  Princess.

July 2006 – Royal coroner Michael  Burgess quits the inquests, blaming a ‘heavy and constant’ workload. He is later  replaced by Britain’s top female judge Lady Butler- Sloss

December 2006 – Lord Stevens finally  releases his report after three years of investigation – it finds that there was  no conspiracy to murder the Princess lover and no cover-up afterwards. Instead  it concludes that the couple and their chauffeur Henri Paul died in a simple  traffic accident in a Paris underpass in August 1997. Lord Stevens stressed that  if the Princess had been wearing a seatbelt she might have survived the  crash.

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