Diana inquest jury retires, to begin deliberations

April 2nd, 2008 - 6:56 pm ICT by admin  

London, Apr.2 (ANI): Jurors considering evidence in the Diana Princess of Wales inquest retired today to begin their deliberations.
The panel first began examining the circumstances around the 1997 car crash in which Diana, her lover Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul died six months ago.
The jury consisting of 11, six women and five men will consider evidence from 250 witnesses, who testified either in person or through statements, to determine whether the crash was manslaughter, an accident or unexplained, reports The Sun.
But, on the orders of the coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker, they cannot return a verdict which supports any of the murder conspiracy theories which have surfaced surrounding the tragedy for 10 years.
The coroner ruled this week that there was not a shred of evidence to back up such an idea.
Witnesses at the High Court hearing ranged from passers-by on the night of the tragedy to MI6 agents, royal courtiers, relatives and even a medium.
But the coroner was unable to call the paparazzi who pursued the couple that night, as they are abroad, and an attempt by the Fayed legal team to call the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh was rejected.
Diana and Dodi were killed when the Mercedes in which they were travelling crashed into a pillar in the Alma underpass in Paris in the early hours of August 31, 1997. They were followed by paparazzi after leaving the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel that night but accounts differ over whether the photographers were around them at the moment of collision.
The jury has also heard evidence that Mr Paul, then the hotels acting head of security, was three times the French drink-drive limit and speeding at the time.
Seconds before hitting the 13th pillar of the underpass the Mercedes had a glancing contact with a white Fiat Uno as it passed, the court heard.
The other car has never been conclusively traced.
After a decade in which conspiracy theories about the tragedy have thrived, the scope of the hearing extended far beyond the confines of a normal road traffic inquest.
Dodis father, the Harrods owner Mohamed al Fayed, accused the Duke of Edinburgh of orchestrating an assassination plan carried out by MI6, with Fayeds own employee Mr Paul implicated.
The alleged motive was to kill Diana because, he said, she was pregnant with Dodis Muslim child and was poised to announce her engagement to him - something he claimed the Duke could not tolerate. (ANI)

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