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Coroner: Prince Philip not involved in Diana’s death

Dodi al Fayed’s father has been pursuing the conspiracy theory for a decade.

.LONDON (AP) – A coroner rejected a conspiracy theory in the death of Princess Diana Monday, ruling there is no proof that Prince Philip or British secret agents had anything to do with the car crash that also killed her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

In instructions to the jury, Lord Justice Scott Baker left open the possibility that the couple’s driver and the paparazzi who pursued them through Paris on Aug. 31, 1997 caused the crash through recklessness. The panel was also asked to consider whether the crash was an accident.

“There is no evidence that the Duke of Edinburgh ordered Diana’s execution and there is no evidence that the Secret Intelligence Service or any other government agency organized it,” Baker told the 11-member jury.

Dodi Fayed’s father, Mohamed al Fayed, who pursued the conspiracy theory for a decade, was indignant as he left the Royal Courts of Justice.

“It is terrible,” Al Fayed said. “It’s all biased.”

French and British police both concluded that the crash was an accident, and that driver Henri Paul was drunk and speeding as the car carrying Fayed and Diana was pursued by paparazzi.

Baker told jurors to consider Paul’s driving and the behavior of one or more of the paparazzi to decide “whether they were wholly indifferent to an obvious risk of death,” or saw the risk and did it anyway.

If so, he said, the jury should find that the couple were unlawfully killed through the grossly negligent driving of Paul, the paparazzi, or both.

Investigators concluded that Paul was driving in excess of 60 mph, double the speed limit, when the Mercedes slammed into a concrete pillar in the Alma underpass.

“Had it been traveling more slowly, the outcome might have been different,” Baker said.

Baker said the law obliged him to offer evidence for any possible verdict, and thus he was compelled to discard a possible finding that the couple were unlawfully killed in a staged accident – that is, that they were victims of a murder plot.

“Speculation, surmise and belief are one thing; evidence is another,” he said.

However, Baker said there was some evidence – “albeit limited and of doubtful quality” – that the crash was staged, which he left for the jury to consider in choosing among the five possible verdicts.

He did not explain why, having dismissed the possibility of an establishment murder plot, he considered such evidence to have any relevance.

Baker said the inquest, which began in October, had heard lies, half-truths, speculation and rumors. He identified Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, as one of the liars – either in court or elsewhere.

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