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LONDON - The father of Princess Diana's last boyfriend, Dodi al-Fayed, rejected a long-awaited British report into their death as a cover-up and "garbage".

Mohammed al-Fayed remained adamant there was a plot backed by British intelligence to murder them in August 1997, when they died in a high-speed car crash in a Paris underpass.

His reaction came after the report, by former London police chief Lord John Stevens, concluded that the crash was a "tragic accident" and dismissed the charges of a murder plot.

Diana's death triggered a string of conspiracy theories that British spies or even her ex-husband, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, had plotted the accident because her relationship with Dodi al Fayed was embarrassing the royal household.

Stevens said after his three-year investigation: "On the evidence available now, there was no conspiracy to murder any of the occupants of that car. This was a tragic accident.

"I'm satisfied that no attempt has been made to hold back information and we are confident that the allegations made are unfounded."

Echoing the findings of a French probe into the accident, Stevens said tests showed the limousine's chauffeur Henri Paul had been drinking before the high speed crash in a Paris road tunnel.

Diana's sons, Princes William and Harry, said in a statement that they "trust these conclusive findings will end speculation surrounding the death of their mother".

Stevens said Diana was not pregnant when she died and "was not engaged and was not about to get engaged".

The death of the "People's Princess", the world's most photographed woman, sparked an outpouring of grief in Britain. Queen Elizabeth and the royal family were harshly criticised for not openly sharing the national sense of loss.

The British investigation was ordered by former royal coroner Michael Burgess in January 2004 when he opened a British inquest into Diana's death.

Stevens, who headed London's police force, spent almost three years investigating what happened and interviewed Charles for several hours as part of his inquiry.

Duke

He also talked to Prince Charles' father, the Duke of Edinburgh. Stevens said there was no evidence to link the Duke to Britain's intelligence service MI6 as alleged by Mohamed al Fayed.

The Harrods department storeowner, who wants a public inquiry into the crash, believes his son and Diana were murdered by British secret services because their relationship was embarrassing the British royal family.

Stevens said investigators had used computer modelling to assemble a 3D reconstruction of the crash scene, to an accuracy of within one centimetre.

He said the car was travelling at excessive speed. It hit the 13th pillar in the underpass at 98 to 101km/h, about twice the speed limit.

Paul had a blood alcohol level around twice the British drink-drive limit at the time of the crash.

Stevens was satisfied, from DNA testing, the samples tested did indeed belong to Paul, contrary to suggestions they may have been switched.

Stevens said investigators did believe there had been "glancing contact" between the Mercedes limousine and a white Fiat Uno car, whose driver has never been traced.

He noted failure to assist a person in danger is an offence which can bring a jail term in France, and this may have deterred people from coming forward.

- REUTERS, AFP