Princess Diana's death 'wasn't an accident,' top lawyer claims

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Michael Mansfield, a reknowned barrister, insisted the inquest into Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed’s deaths could still be reopened if new ­information came to light. The 80-year-old, who represented Dodi’s dad Mohammed Al-Fayed at the hearing, gave the Mirror an insight into the jury’s unlawful killing verdict, which he said has been lost over the years.

The barrister, born and raised in north London, said he believed the truth would out eventually. He added: “The idea that it’s purely and simply a road accident is not right. So I want to dispel that. The truth does come to the surface in the end, but somebody’s got to be looking for it in order for that to happen.

“I do think that this is not a ‘case closed’ by any means.

“There’s much more to come out of this case in the long run, and it will surface somewhere.”

Speaking about the result of the inquest in April 2008, Mr Mansfield said: “When you ask people what was the jury’s verdict, they either don’t know or they say it was an accident. But accident was not the verdict. That is what the police and others would like to be remembered.

“The coroner drafted five options for the jury… the first was unlawful killing originally related to the grossly negligent driving of the paparazzi. We submitted that this did not arise on the evidence because the British police had traced and excluded all the paparazzi photographers from being proximate to the Mercedes when it approached and entered the tunnel.

“Through photographs one diligent officer traced every single member of the paparazzi there outside the Ritz, and who may have followed the Mercedes towards the tunnel and he was able to establish at the inquests that none of them were within reach.

“That is a very ­important point. The coroner accepted these submissions and the paparazzi were removed from this option. This was replaced with the words ‘following ­vehicles’. The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing, not accident, based on two components… the grossly negligent driving of the driver of the Mercedes and that of the ‘following ­vehicles’.

“Questions still remain about whether this was a staged accident as the ­Princess herself had predicted. I’m anxious that it’s put straight. There were other vehicles inside the tunnel.

“Most importantly a black saloon in front was slowing/blocking the Mercedes’ progress and a motorcycle behind was tailgating the Mercedes.

“Two witnesses were in the tunnel. I called it a ‘ringside seat’, they were driving in the opposite direction.

“They saw what I call a ‘sandwich’. Neither the British police nor French police have established who was in the saloon in front of the Mercedes nor who was on the motorcycle.

“How is it that those vehicles haven’t been traced or the people driving them?

“A new inquest could be called if new information came to light.

“There has been an example of this one is Hillsborough.”

Mr Mansfield has been involved in cases including the Bloody Sunday massacre, Hillsborough, Stephen Lawrence and the Birmingham Six during his long, illustrious career.

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