Diana Jury Rules Deaths "Unlawful"

Diana, Princess of Wales, and her companion Dodi Fayed, walk on a pontoon in the French Riviera resort of St Tropez in this Aug. 22, 1997, photo taken days before their deaths. Britain opened its first inquest into the deaths on Tuesday Jan. 6, 2004, more than six years after they were killed in a Paris car crash.
AP
A coroner's jury has ruled that Princess Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed were unlawfully killed through the reckless actions of their driver and the paparazzi in 1997.

The jury had been told that a verdict of unlawful killing would mean that they believed the reckless behavior amounted to manslaughter. It was the most serious verdict available to them.

The couple died when their speeding car slammed into a concrete pillar in Paris while it was being chased by photographers in cars and on motorbikes.


Photos: Diana's Ill-Fated Journey
The coroner in the inquest into the deaths had earlier told the jury their verdict did not have to be unanimous.

Photos: Images From The Inquest
Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker told the 11 jurors on Monday that he would accept a verdict if nine of them agreed. The jury had been deliberating since April 2.

The British inquest into the Aug. 31, 1997, deaths began in October after a decade of British and French police investigations and French court proceedings. The jury's role was to determine how the victims died; it has no authority to blame any individual.


Photos: The Paparazzi Photos
The jury's first task, following six months of testimony, was to decide whether French investigators got it right within days of Diana's death when they concluded that her speeding driver, Henri Paul, was drunk.

Photos: Diana: 10 Years Later
The second issue for the six women and five men was whether the paparazzi who chased the princess around Paris bear a heavy responsibility for the deaths.

Baker previously had asked for unanimous verdicts on both deaths, but said a majority verdict could be accepted if the jury is deadlocked.

MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report