Current Affairs

Driver and paparazzi blamed for death of Diana

PinkNews Staff Writer April 7, 2008
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An inquest that heard lurid rumours that Diana, Princess of Wales was pregnant and murdered at the behest of the British Royal Family has concluded that she was unlawfully killed.

However, the jury of five men and six women said the driver of the car that crashed in Paris on 31st August 1997, Henri Paul, and the paparazzi who chased the vehicle into a tunnel, were to blame for her death.

Diana died shortly after the crash, her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed and driver Paul also died in the collision.

The inquest jury today returned verdicts of unlawful killing through grossly negligent driving, or gross negligence manslaughter, after hearing from 278 witnesses.

During the 93-day inquest The Sun newspaper reported that they had a tape of the former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales, Paul Burrell, admitting that he had lied at the hearing as well as saying that he had thrown in “a few red herrings.”

The News Of The World then claimed that Burrell, who lives with Maria, 53, and their sons Alexander, 23, and Nicholas, 19, in Farndon, Cheshire, trawls gyms and saunas looking for sex with men.

The allegations of a secret gay life led to crisis meetings between the former butler and his advisers. He has amassed a sizable fortune in the United States, reported to be $25 million (£12.7m).

The coroner, Lord Justice Baker, said last week that testimony from Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed claiming that MI6 and Prince Phillip conspired to murder Diana was not based in any fact.

In January a former Royal police protection officer claimed that Diana confided in him that the Queen did not approve of her support for HIV and AIDS charities.

Giving evidence to the inquest Ken Wharfe told the jury that after a meeting with the Queen, Diana returned to the car distressed.

He claims she then told him that the Queen “doesn’t like me getting involved in AIDS” and would prefer she involved herself in “something more pleasant.”

Mr Wharfe, who guarded Diana from 1987 to 1993, added “I think Diana was very angry and annoyed the Queen could not see what she was doing.

“She felt a member of the Royal Family should be involved with campaigns to find a cure for AIDS.”

Last year the chief executive of the National AIDS paid tribute to the ground-breaking work the ‘people’s princess’ did for people living with HIV and AIDS.

In the early 1990s, when HIV and AIDS were surrounded by hysteria and prejudice, Diana become patron of the National AIDS Trust, the UK’s leading independent policy and campaigning voice on HIV and AIDS.

She was patron of the National AIDS Trust from 1991 until her death in 1997.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust, told

“Princess Diana’s tragic death was a catastrophic blow in the fight against HIV in the UK.

“Ten years on, the National AIDS Trust has not replaced Princess Diana as its patron, as no individual has come close in terms of raising the profile of HIV in the UK and tackling the stigma and discrimination that surrounds the virus.

“Just by holding the hand of a person living with AIDS Diana changed the opinions of millions and broke down stigma and misconceptions around the world.

“Although many public figures have done invaluable work to tackle the HIV epidemic in developing countries, no-one has championed the cause of HIV in the UK as Diana did.”

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