British police probe new Diana murder claim
LONDON – British police said Saturday they were examining new information about the 1997 death of Diana, princess of Wales, reportedly including an allegation that she was murdered by a British military figure.
Scotland Yard police headquarters said it was checking the credibility of recently received information about the deaths of the princess and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.
They were killed in a car crash in a Paris underpass in the early hours of August 31, 1997, along with their driver, Henri Paul.
Citing a military source, Britain’s domestic Press Association news agency said it understood the allegation was made by the former parents-in-law of an ex-soldier, based on information he had talked about in the past.
PA and Sky News television said the information had been passed to Scotland Yard by the Royal Military Police.
“The Metropolitan Police Service is scoping information that has recently been received in relation to the deaths and assessing its relevance and credibility,” Scotland Yard said in a statement.
“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.”
Sky News said the new information includes references to Diana’s diary, and to the SAS, the British military’s elite Special Air Service.
Scotland Yard said they were not prepared to discuss the matter further.
Operation Paget was the two-year police inquiry into the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the crash.
Led by John Stevens, formerly Britain’s top policeman, it concluded in 2006 that all the allegations it assessed were without foundation.
It rejected the murder claims voiced by some, including Fayed’s father, the Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed.
Dodi Fayed, 42, and driver Paul – the deputy head of security at Al-Fayed’s plush Hotel Ritz in Paris – were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
The Mercedes-Benz car had smashed into a pillar and spun around.
Diana, 36, the ex-wife of Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and the mother of Princes William and Harry, died later in hospital.
Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, a member of the Al-Fayed family’s protection team, survived. None of them had been wearing seatbelts.
Seeking to outrun chasing paparazzi photographers, Paul was found to have been speeding, while his blood alcohol level was found to have been more than three times over the French limit.
The longest-running and most expensive inquest in British history concluded in 2008 with a jury finding Diana and Fayed had been “unlawfully killed” by the grossly negligent driving of Paul and following vehicles.
Diana married Charles in 1981 but their already shaky marriage fell apart soon after Harry’s birth in 1984, with both sides admitting adultery. They separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
A royal spokeswoman said there would be no comment on the matter from William or Harry, or from Charles’s Clarence House office.
The Ministry of Defense also said it was not commenting.
A spokesman for Al-Fayed said he had no comment to make, but would be “interested in seeing the outcome,” adding that he trusts the police would investigate the information “with vigor.”
Diana’s first grandchild, Prince George of Cambridge, was born on July 22 to William’s wife Catherine, in the same London hospital where Diana herself gave birth to William and Harry.
The princess of Wales had been dating Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan for around two years before her brief relationship with Fayed in the weeks before her death.
The upcoming film “Diana”, due out in September with Naomi Watts in the title role, focuses on her time with Khan.