Diana unlawfully killed, inquest rules

Mon Apr 7, 2008 4:36pm EDT
 
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By Paul Majendie and Andrew Hough

LONDON (Reuters) - Princess Diana and her lover Dodi al-Fayed were unlawfully killed by the grossly negligent driving of their chauffeur and paparazzi photographers pursuing them into a Paris road tunnel 10 years ago, an inquest ruled.

The jury, which had spent almost six months listening to more than 250 witnesses from around the world, reached their decision on Monday after deliberating for four days in a case that had sparked worldwide media interest.

Diana's two sons, Princes William and Harry, thanked the jury for the "thorough way in which they have considered the evidence."

"We agree with their verdicts," a statement said.

A decade after the death of the world's most photographed woman at 36, Britain's former police chief John Stevens said he hoped this would bring closure to the tragedy and lay to rest conspiracy theories swirling around the case.

On the evening they died, Diana and Dodi fled from the back entrance of the Ritz Hotel in Paris in a futile effort to avoid swarms of paparazzi photographers.

They pursued the couple on high-powered motorbikes into the Alma tunnel and took pictures of the dying princess in the wrecked Mercedes after it smashed into pillar 13.

Dodi's father, luxury store owner Mohamed al-Fayed, had accused Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip, Diana's former father-in-law, of ordering British security services to kill her and stop her marrying a Muslim and having his baby.   Continued...

 
<p>Princess Diana arrives at the Royal Geographical Society for a speech on the dangers of landmines throughout the world in this June, 1997 file photo. The jury at an inquest into Princess Diana's death began considering their verdict on Wednesday after spending almost six months listening to more than 250 witnesses. REUTERS/Ian Waldie</p>