LONDON – Princess Diana and companion Dodi al-Fayed were “unlawfully killed” by the gross negligence of their chauffeur and the pack of reckless paparazzi who pursued them into a Paris tunnel 10 years ago, a London jury decided.
After deliberating for three and a half days, the jurors rendered a verdict that split the blame between driver Henri Paul and the paparazzi in the 1997 deaths of the former Princess of Wales and al-Fayed, who were killed when their Mercedes crashed into a pillar in the Alma Tunnel in Paris. Paul was also killed in the crash.
The jury cited the passengers’ lack of seatbelts, Paul’s intoxication, and the paparazzi’s speed and reckless driving as contributing factors in the deaths.
Lord Justice Baker directed the jury last week that there was “not a single shred of evidence” supporting the conspiracy theory, espoused by al-Fayed’s father, that the deaths were part of an elaborate murder plot hatched by the British establishment and the royal family.
Jurors heard six months of evidence and testimony from 250 witnesses, at a cost to British taxpayers of about $20 million.