No verdict from Diana inquest after two days

Thu Apr 3, 2008 12:48pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - The jury at the British inquest into the death of Princess Diana more than ten years ago, ended their second day of deliberations on Thursday without reaching a decision.

Diana and her lover Dodi al-Fayed died in August 1997 when their Mercedes limousine, driven by chauffeur Henri Paul, crashed in a Paris road tunnel while being pursued by paparazzi.

The presiding judge, Lord Justice Scott Baker, told the 11-member jury when he sent them out on Wednesday that they could reach one of five possible verdicts.

They could decide her death was accidental or opt for unlawful killing through gross negligence either by Henri Paul, by "following vehicles" or by both.

The fifth option, which could give renewed life to the conspiracy theories that have surrounded Diana's death for the past decade, is an open verdict if the jury find there is insufficient evidence to support any substantive verdict.

Under British law, an inquest is needed to determine the cause of death when someone dies unnaturally.

Dodi's father, luxury storeowner Mohamed al-Fayed, says his son and Diana were killed by British security services on the orders of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband and Diana's former father-in-law.

Scott Baker specifically instructed the jury not to hand down a verdict that Diana and Dodi died in a staged accident, saying Fayed's conspiracy theory was "without substance."

They will resume their deliberations on Friday.

(Reporting by Paul Majendie, editing by Matthew Jones)