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Diana Death Inquest Resumes in London

Diana Death Inquest Resumes in London

The British inquest into Princess Diana's death in a 1997 car crash in Paris resumed Monday with a plea from her sons that conclusions be reached quickly reports AP.

"It is their desire that the inquest should not only be open, fair and transparent but that it should move swiftly to a conclusion," according to a letter from Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, private secretary to the princes, which was read at the opening session.

Diana, 36, and Dodi Fayed , 42, were killed along with chauffeur Henri Paul when their Mercedes crashed in the Pont d'Alma tunnel in on Aug. 31, 1997. The only survivor, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was badly hurt.

Fayed's father, Mohamed al Fayed has accused the queen's husband, Prince Philip, of orchestrating a plot to murder Diana and Fayed. A police inquiry published last year concluded that there was no murder conspiracy, and that the deaths were accidental.

A two-year French investigation had already come to that conclusion, but under British law an inquest is needed formally to determine the cause of death when someone dies unnaturally.

Al Fayed rejected Stevens' report, calling it a cover-up.

"For nine years I have fought against overwhelming odds and monstrous official obstructions. I will not stop now in my quest for the truth," he said in a statement.

In the decade since the accident, a host of conspiracy theories has flourished suggesting the couple were murdered because their relationship embarrassed the royal family.

Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, a retired senior judge and member of the House of Lords, presided at the preliminary hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice, which concentrated on procedural issues. She ruled that all sessions would be open to the public, and that the deaths of Diana and her friend Dodi Fayed would be examined together.

Queen Elizabeth II sided with Fayed's father, Mohamed al Fayed, in urging that a jury- if called- should be made up of members of the general public. Because Diana was buried as a royal, normally an inquest jury would be made up of royal household members.

In a letter to the court, the queen's lawyer, Sir John Nutting, said a royal jury should be avoided "to avoid any appearance of bias in consideration of the issues which such an inquest would be bound to consider." Butler-Sloss concurred.

Diana's former private secretary, Patrick Jephson, said Monday that he hoped the inquest would put an end to conspiracy theories.

"At its best the inquest will show us that this sad matter is now settled and that we can concentrate on remembering the princess in an entirely positive light as Princes William and Harry obviously want us to," Jephson told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.













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