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Diana Inquest Coroner Rules Out Conspiracy

Princess Diana smiles at the United Cerebral Palsy's annual dinner at the New York Hilton on Monday evening, Dec. 11, 1995. Diana is to be honored with United Cerebral Palsy's Humanitarian Award.
AP
The coroner leading the inquest into the death of Princess Diana says there is no evidence that Prince Philip, the Secret Intelligence Service or any other government agency had anything to do with her death in a 1997 car crash.

Lord Justice Scott Baker told jurors they had the option of deciding that Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed died as the result of an accident or as the result of gross negligence by the paparazzi following their car or by driver Henri Paul.

Nearly 11 years after the tragedy that shocked the world, Baker began his summation Monday on the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports that after 242 witnesses, thousands of pages of testimony, and at a cost of almost six million dollars, it's now the jury's turn to decide how Princess Diana and her boyfriend died.


Photos: Diana's Ill-Fated Journey
The key question for the jurors remains whether the car crash in a Paris road tunnel on August 31, 1997 was an accident. But with the coroner's statement Monday, the more sinister possible rulings have been preempted.

Mohamed Al Fayed, father of Diana's lover Dodi, has not budged from claiming that his son and the princess died at the hands of British security agents, acting at Prince Philip's behest.

MacVicar reports that separate investigations by both the French and British police have concluded it was an accident, caused in part by speeding and by the high alcohol level in driver Henri Paul's blood.

Paul also died, but Diana's body guard survived.


Photos: The Paparazzi Photos
For the first time, the jury was shown images of Paul leaving the Ritz Hotel, looking a little "startled," and heard testimony that hotel employees thought he was, in fact, drunk.

The strategy of al Fayeds lawyers, reports MacVicar, has been to try to plant little seeds of doubt in the minds of the jury; Could Paul's blood have been switched? Were senior spies in Paris to co-ordinate the crash? Monay, Baker said simply, no, there's no evidence that any of that happened.