Secret service in Paris at time of fatal crash (+ video)

LONDON - MI6 agents were operating in Paris at the time of the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi al-Fayed, the jury at the inquest into their deaths was told.

The presence of the secret intelligence officers has been used by Mohamed al-Fayed to support his allegation that his son and Diana were murdered by MI6 as part of a conspiracy involving the royal family. Al-Fayed believes MI6 officers used stunguns in the Paris road tunnel on the night of August 31, 1997, to blind the driver of the car carrying the couple, causing him to crash into one of the pillars.

Britain's ambassador to Paris in 1997, Sir Michael Jay, is expected to attend the inquest to deny any links between MI6 and a conspiracy to murder the couple.

The coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, told the jury: "The UK has maintained from the outset that it was entirely unaware of Diana's presence in Paris."

He said Jay had said no officers working for the security or intelligence services were involved in a conspiracy to cause the death of Diana.

Al-Fayed also claims the driver of the Mercedes in which the couple were travelling was an agent working for MI6 and evidence was tampered with to portray him as a drunk driver.

Baker said CCTV footage of Henri Paul showed him to be acting soberly, although medical evidence later found him to be twice over the British legal drink-driving limit.

French police twice searched Paul's home but found more alcohol on the second visit than they claimed to have found on the first.

Baker told the jury: "You must consider whether there is any sinister implication ... you will have to decide if indeed samples analysed came from Henri Paul or whether they came from a completely different person."

CCTV film showed Paul bending down and tying his shoelaces. "There is no indication that his movements were affected by alcohol."

Al-Fayed alleges that the Princess was pregnant and this was covered up by the British Government to avoid causing embarrassment to the royal family.

In fact, the coroner said the jury would hear evidence later that showed Princess Diana was taking the contraceptive pill. He also pointed out that she did not tell any of her friends she was expecting, and She complained to a masseur on Fayed's yacht that newspapers were printing inaccurate stories which "have me pregnant".

- Independent

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