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Princes William, Harry agree with Diana verdict

April 08, 2008 17:10 IST

Princes William and Harry, sons of Princess Diana, on Tuesday concurred with the conclusion of the inquest into their mother's death and hoped it would put an end to speculation that she was murdered.

"We agree with their verdicts, and are both hugely grateful to each and every one of them for the forbearance they have shown in accepting such significant disruption to their lives over the past six months," the young royals said in a statement.

Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed died when their speeding car slammed into a concrete pillar while being chased through Paris by photographers in cars and on motorbikes in a tunnel on August 31, 1997.

With a nine to two majority, the jury ruled that the couple died "because of gross negligence by both her driver Henri Paul and pursuing paparazzi photographers."

"We should like to thank the members of the jury at the inquests into the deaths of our mother and Dodi Al Fayed for the thorough way in which they have considered the evidence," the brothers said.

They said they were indebted to the Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker, for his "unfailing courtesy and for all the consideration shown by him and his staff not only to us but to all those involved in this hearing."

In a statement issued moments after the jury's decision, Al Fayed, Dodi's father and owner of Harrod's departmental store, described the verdicts as both a vindication of his conspiracy theories and a "blow to the many millions of people around the world who have supported my struggle."

He had accused Prince Philip, Prince Charles, the MI6 British intelligence agency and the then prime minister Tony Blair of being involved in a plot to kill Diana.

Al Fayed insisted the hearing, held largely at his behest, was not a waste of time or money.

During his summing up, Coroner Lord Justice Scott had said there was "not a shred of evidence" to back up Al Fayed's claims. Although he ruled out the possibility of a verdict which would have pointed to a murder plot, the jury went further by pinning the blame partly on one of Al Fayed's employees.

Former Metropolitan police commissioner Lord Stevens, whose earlier inquiry investigated the conspiracy theories, said he hoped Diana and her lover Dodi would be allowed to rest in peace.

Meanwhile, Diana's former butler Paul Burrell is waiting to learn whether he will face a police perjury investigation after allegedly lying to the inquest.

Scotland Yard refused to confirm whether it planned to launch an inquiry, but the Crown Prosecution Service said it would examine any police file on the matter presented to it.

H S Rao in London
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