Princess Diana Inquest - Key Events - BBC

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Princess Diana Inquest - Key Events - BBC

Postby bjr » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:05 pm

Diana inquest: Key events

Princess Diana died after the crash in the Pont de l'Alma Tunnel
A decade after her fatal accident, an inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales is taking place at London's High Court.
The eagerly-anticipated inquest began on 2 October 2007.

A jury of six women and five men were selected by ballot for the inquest, which was overseen by coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker.

The following are some of the key points from the inquest, which is expected to last for six months.

15 JANUARY 2008

Princess Diana's former lawyer Maggie Rae said Diana told her legal team in October 1995 that the Queen would stand aside for Prince Charles in April 1996.
Ms Rae also told the hearing that the princess spoke of plans to sideline her through an accident where she would be seriously injured.

Diana's ex-butler Paul Burrell returned to the inquest for a second day after having being previously sent home to retrieve documents, which he claimed contained secrets about Diana.

However, coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker said the information - that Diana was considering moving abroad - was already in the public domain.

14 JANUARY 2008

It is "impossible" that Princess Diana was murdered on the orders of the Royal Family, her former butler says.
"I could not possibly see the father of her children murdering her," said Paul Burrell when asked if Prince Charles could have planned Diana's death.

Mr Burrell, her butler of 10 years, also told the court Diana had considered marrying heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

He revealed the princess's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, had disapproved of her relationships and called Diana a "whore".

10 JANUARY 2008

Prince Philip wrote "cruel and disparaging" letters to Princess Diana, a witness tells the inquest.

Alternative therapist Simone Simmons said the princess had shown her two letters dating from 1994 or 1995, in which Prince Philip made observations about the propriety of Diana's behaviour.

Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed were engaged, Mohamed Al Fayed's press spokesman insists.

Michael Cole said Dodi had given him "the strongest indication that he was going to marry Diana".

9 JANUARY 2008

The intelligence services were recording Princess Diana's conversations, a former bodyguard says.
Ken Wharfe, who served Diana for six years, said the "Squidgygate" tapes of her speaking intimately to a friend in 1989 were probably made by GCHQ.

7 JANUARY 2008

A suspected bugging device may have been found in the home of Princess Diana, a security expert says.
Grahame Harding, who said Diana talked of "dark forces", told the inquest he had searched her palace rooms four times in four months in 1994, and on one occasion a signal had been found.

But he added, under cross-examination, the signal could have come from a number of things, including a mobile phone or a radio.

20 DECEMBER 2007

Driver Henri Paul was drunk just hours before the fatal crash, a barman says.
Alain Willaumez, who worked at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, said Mr Paul was "walking like a clown".

19 DECEMBER 2007

Diana had contraceptive pills in her possession while she was with Dodi Al Fayed, a witness says.
Deborah Gribble, who worked on the yacht owned by the Al Fayed family, said she saw the tablets during a cruise the couple took together.

Mr Al Fayed's father maintains that the princess was pregnant with Dodi's baby at the time of her death.

18 DECEMBER 2007

A holistic healer says driver Henri Paul was a "maniac" behind the wheel.
Myriah Daniels said she was convinced she would die from his "reckless" driving on a journey through Paris in August 1997.

17 DECEMBER 2007

A retired Scotland Yard detective says French police never suggested Diana's death was anything other than a tragic accident.
Former Chief Superintendent Jeff Rees said he repeatedly asked about the possibility of foul play, but "the answer was always an unequivocal 'No'".

Earlier, Diana's friend Lady Annabel Goldsmith said the princess told her she needed marriage to Dodi Al Fayed "like a rash on my face".

14 DECEMBER 2007

Details of letters written from Princess Diana to Dodi Al Fayed are revealed.
In one of them she wrote: "This comes with all the love in the world and as always a million heart-felt thanks at bringing such joy into this particular chick's life."

In another, she describes a gift to Mr Al Fayed - cufflinks which belonged to her father.

13 DECEMBER 2007

Letters between Princess Diana and the Duke of Edinburgh are shown to the jury.
In one, Prince Philip said he would do his best to help Prince Charles and Diana but admitted he had "no talents" as a marriage counsellor.

The princess replied that she disagreed and wrote that Philip was "very modest" about his marriage guidance skills.

12 DECEMBER 2007

Diana's stepmother says the princess was "deeply and blissfully" in love with Dodi Al Fayed.
Their relationship was so "profound" that they were likely to get married, Raine, Countess Spencer said, but she dismissed claims Diana was pregnant.

Diana was raised in an "old-fashioned way" and it would have been "out of the question for her" to let herself become pregnant outside of marriage, she said.

11 DECEMBER 2007

Princess Diana's driver Henri Paul did not appear to be drunk just hours before the fatal car crash, a barman said.
Sebastien Trotte, a former barman at the Ritz in Paris where Diana and Dodi Al Fayed were staying, said he served Mr Paul in the hotel's Bar Vendome.

He said Mr Paul drank two 4cl measures of Ricard - aniseed spirit - but did not appear to be "in any sense drunk".


Claims that Dodi Al Fayed had bought an engagement ring hours before he and Princess Diana died were denied.
Claude Roulet, a former employee of the Al Fayed family, said he had helped Mr Fayed select a ring from Alberto Repossi's shop in the French capital.

But he disputed Mr Repossi's claims that the couple chose the ring together, and that it was an engagement ring.


Henri Paul should not have been driving on the night of their fatal crash, the inquest hears.
He was acting head of security at the Ritz Hotel, Paris when he drove the couple and Mr Al Fayed's usual driver, Philippe Dorneau, remained at the front of the building acting as a decoy.

Night security manager, Francois Tendil, said the ill-fated plan was devised to evade the paparazzi.

15 NOVEMBER 2007

Suggestions that medics should have carried out a pregnancy test on the princess are dismissed by the doctor who fought to save her.
Professor Bruno Riou said checking for signs of pregnancy would have amounted to a "disastrous loss of time".

He also told the inquest her chances of survival after her car crash were "almost nil".

14 NOVEMBER 2007

Doctors recounted the decision to give up on the fight to save the life of Princess Diana.
Anaesthetist Daniel Eyraud said medics agreed "by common consent" to abandon attempts to restart her heart after surgery to stem internal xxxxxxxx.

He said staff at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital had treated her for "a few hours" when the decision was taken.

12 NOVEMBER 2007

The inquest hears that a passer-by held the princess' hand as she lay dying in the back of her black Mercedes.
A statement from Abdelatif Redjil, read in court, said he opened a back door and comforted the princess, who he said looked unconscious. "She repeated words like 'my God, my God'," Mr Redjil said.


An accident expert says the crash was probably caused by her driver's "over-reaction" in avoiding a mystery white car.
Tony Read said driver Henri Paul swerved left, then right, then left again before crashing at 60-70 miles per hour in a Paris tunnel.

Speed, presence of the paparazzi, and Mr Paul's intake of alcohol and drugs would also have contributed, he said.


French authorities refused to force the paparazzi who pursued Princess Diana to give evidence.
Lord Justice Scott Baker said he was "disappointed" after previously vowing to leave "no stone unturned" in his bid to have the photographers appear.

31 OCTOBER 2007
Michael Mansfield QC called on Justice Secretary Jack Straw to intervene over the French court's decision not to force the paparazzi to give evidence.

30 OCTOBER 2007

Paparazzo Romuald Rat rang UK newspaper the Sun from the Paris tunnel to offer exclusive pictures of the injured princess for £300,000, the inquest heard.
The coroner obtained a transcript of one of the newspaper's staff Kenneth Lennox saying he received the "slightly panicked" call.

Lord Justice Scott Baker said that a decision had been taken not to force paparazzi to give evidence.

29 OCTOBER 2007

Paparazzi photographer Stephane Darmon told the jury that Princess Diana's driver, Henri Paul, taunted photographers on the night she died.
Mr Darmon said Mr Paul looked as if he wanted to be "centre stage" by the way he acted outside the Ritz Hotel in Paris. He said Mr Paul had the telltale signs of being an alcoholic.

Witness Georges Dauzonne, who saw a white Fiat Uno coming out of the Paris tunnel thought its driver was drunk, the inquest heard. Mr Dauzonne said the driver swerved as he adjusted his mirror and appeared to be bothered by something behind him.

Mr Dauzonne and his wife, Sabine, both picked out Le Van Thanh as the driver of the Fiat from a line-up of photographs of possible drivers, the inquest heard.

25 OCTOBER 2007
Witness Damian Dalby, a volunteer firefighter, told the jury Princess Diana repeated the words "Oh my God" as she lay hurt in the wreckage of the car while photographers took pictures.

24 OCTOBER 2007

Witness Olivier Partouche told the jury that a dark vehicle attempted to slow down Princess Diana's Mercedes just before it crashed.
Mr Partouche, who was working as a chauffeur at the time, said the vehicle was trying to help the paparazzi get pictures.

18 OCTOBER 2007

The jewellery store footage had never been shown before

The jury was shown a copy of a receipt for an £11,600 ring, which his family says may have been an engagement ring, bought by Dodi Al Fayed hours before he and Princess Diana died.

The jury was shown new CCTV footage of Dodi Al Fayed picking up the ring. Hours before the crash Mr Al Fayed paid a visit to the Paris branch of jewellery store Alberto Repossi.

17 OCTOBER 2007

A photographer said in a statement that on the night the princess and Mr Al Fayed died, paparazzi outside the Ritz Hotel in Paris were told to expect an imminent announcement, possibly regarding an engagement or pregnancy.

Witnesses told of seeing a second car in the tunnel, as well as a motorcycle accelerating away from the crashed car.

16 OCTOBER 2007
One of the first people on the scene, James Huth, told the jury he was unable to see the princess because she was trapped so low in the car's footwell and was obscured by Dodi Al Fayed's body. Mr Huth said he tried to calm the princess's bodyguard, Trevor Rees, who was injured in the car and "panicking".

15 OCTOBER 2007

The jury listens to a motorist and pedestrians who heard and saw the princess' car and another car in the tunnel.
Francois Levistre, who was driving in front of the princess's car, described how the princess's car was overtaken by a motorbike inside the underpass. Other witnesses have said the Mercedes may have suffered a "bump" with another large, dark car.

11 OCTOBER 2007

The jury is shown pictures of the dying Diana taken by paparazzi in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The coroner says the pictures, in which the princess' face was digitally obscured, will not be released to the public.

Witnesses told the inquest that photographers began taking shots of the princess seconds after the crash and made no move to assist the injured.

10 OCTOBER 2007

The inquest resumed in London with testimony from two eyewitnesses to the fatal crash who said they thought they had stumbled upon a terrorist attack or a film set just moments after the collision.

Speaking via videolink from Paris, Antonio Lopes-Borges and his passenger Ana Simao said they saw two photographers in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel taking pictures of the crash. Ms Simao said they were physically on the car.

9 OCTOBER 2007

At the beginning of the second day of their two-day trip to Paris to retrace the final movements of Princess Diana and Mr Al Fayed, jurors were taken on a tour of the rooms of the Ritz Hotel where the couple spent their final evening together.

They saw the rooms where the couple and their body guards were caught by the hotel's CCTV, and visited the hotel bar where driver Henri Paul bought two alcoholic drinks.

They were then driven along a number of alternative routes to Mr Al Fayed's apartment, the destination the couple were driving towards at the time of the crash.

8 OCTOBER 2007

The jurors were flown to Paris to retrace the final movements of Diana and Mr Al Fayed. They were driven by coach along the route the couple took from the Ritz Hotel, and through the Pont de l'Alma tunnel where their car crashed.

French police stopped traffic through the tunnel and the jurors walked down into the underpass to see the site of the car crash. Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker pointed out details relevant to the inquest, such as the slope of the road and the flow of traffic.

After the jurors were taken on the route a second time at night, to show them how the journey would have appeared on the evening of the crash, they were taken to the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital where Princess Diana died.

4 OCTOBER 2007

New CCTV footage, showing the final moments of the princess and Mr Al Fayed before they left the Ritz Hotel, is shown to the inquest jury. The couple are seen cuddling at the rear exit as they attempt to escape the paparazzi camped outside the front of the hotel.

An Australian tourist's seven-minute home video was also revealed in court. It captured the "dummy run" of a decoy plan, hatched to allow Princess Diana and Dodi to leave by the back door.

The court was also shown footage of driver Henri Paul visiting the hotel bar about two hours before the fatal crash.

3 OCTOBER 2007

Dramatic new footage compiled from 20 security cameras inside the Ritz hotel in Paris reveals the final comings and goings of the princess and Dodi, including a smiling Princess Diana inside a hotel lift.

Lord Justice Baker said scientific evidence might not be able to demonstrate either way whether or not Princess Diana was pregnant.

The inquest also heard how members of MI6 were in Paris during the summer Diana and Dodi Al Fayed both died, but Lord Justice Baker said they had "bigger fish to fry" than tracking Diana.

2 OCTOBER 2007

Diana smiles in the Paris Ritz lift along with Dodi Al Fayed

On the opening day of the inquest, coroner Lord Justice Baker says the process would result in a "vigorous and searching inquiry".

The jury was shown a picture of the princess in a leopard-print swimsuit taken in the summer of 1997, often cited as evidence that she was pregnant with Dodi's child. But Lord Justice Baker pointed out that the photograph had been taken shortly before Princess Diana met Dodi.

Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed told reporters before the hearing began that he hoped the inquest would "reach the decision, which I believe, that my son and Princess Diana have been murdered by the Royal Family".
To my critics
When I'm in a sober mood, I worry, work and think,
When I'm in a drunken mood, I gamble, play and drink,
But when my moods are over and my time has come to pass,
I hope I'm buried upside down, so the world may kiss my ar*e
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