Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Condon appears before Diana inquiry

A French inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales is being held

A former Met Police chief has given evidence at a French inquiry into allegations that he suppressed evidence in the investigation into Princess Diana's death.

Lord Condon, who was commissioner from 1993 to 2000, and former assistant commissioner Sir David Veness said they had voluntarily offered to provide witness evidence to the French Juge d'Instruction.

Former Harrods boss Mohammed al Fayed, the father of Dodi, who also died in the August 2007 Paris car crash, has long accused the pair of deliberately withholding evidence from the French investigation into their deaths.

Lord Condon said: "Sir David and I volunteered to go to Paris as witnesses to help the French authorities explore and then bring to a conclusion these repeated complaints made by Mr al Fayed. We trust that our evidence was helpful, and we both sincerely hope that for all concerned, including Mr al Fayed, some closure can be finally brought to this tragic case."

In 2009 a French inquiry into the investigation into Diana's death heavily criticised the French authorities and the French state was ordered to pay almost £5,000 in compensation to Mr al Fayed.

Judges found there were problems in establishing that Henri Paul, the couple's chauffeur who also died, was drunk at the time of the accident and a mix-up with his post-mortem examination and blood tests created unnecessary delays.

The new French inquiry is being led by Judge Gerard Caddeo, Mr al Fayed said.

Mr al Fayed's claims that evidence was withheld centre around a letter - dubbed the Mishcon note - which was written by Diana's divorce lawyer Lord Mishcon after an October 1995 meeting outlining her fears that there was a plot to kill her in a car crash.

In his statement issued on Wednesday Mr al Fayed said: "His (Judge Caddeo's) interviews of Lord Condon and Mr Veness are the beginning of a thorough investigation by the French authorities into why Lord Mishcon's letter was not provided to the initial French inquiry. As the father of Dodi and a good friend of the princess, I trust that the outcome of these French investigations will be that those who are guilty will be properly punished."

Mr al Fayed has always said he believed there had been a cover up. At the UK inquest into the deaths, Mr al Fayed implicated many establishment figures in the plot to kill or cover up the murder of the couple. Everyone from the security services, including MI6 and the CIA, the French authorities, former Metropolitan Police chiefs Lord Condon and Lord Stevens and even Diana's own sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale came under his veil of suspicion.

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