Scotland Yard has completed its 'scoping' inquiry into claims that Princess Diana was murdered by a member of the British Armed Forces
When Scotland Yard confirmed in August that it had begun an investigation into claims that Diana, Princess of Wales was murdered by a member of the British Armed Forces, no one was more surprised than members of the Royal family.
Now, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are to be told whether there was any truth in the sensational new allegations.
Specialist detectives have completed their extraordinary “scoping” exercise and will soon relay their findings to the Royal family and to Mohamed Fayed, whose son Dodi was killed in the 1997 car crash in which their driver, Henri Paul, also died.
“The Metropolitan Police Service has scoped the information and is in the process of drawing up conclusions, which will be communicated to the families and interested parties first, before any further comment can be made,” confirms a Scotland Yard spokesman.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met’s most senior officer, approved the decision to examine the new allegations and evidence that were passed to it over the summer.
The claims were given to the force by the Royal Military Police, after surfacing during the trial of Sgt Danny Nightingale, the SAS sniper convicted of illegal weapons possession. The dossier was said to include a claim that the SAS “was behind Princess Diana’s death”.
Officials at Buckingham Palace do not expect the police to open a new inquiry. “We have not heard anything to suggest that there is the evidence to justify a new investigation,” one courtier tells Mandrake.
The “scoping” was carried out by officers from the specialist crime and operations command, led by Det Ch Insp Phil Easton, a fluent French-speaker, who had worked on Operation Paget, the multi-million pound inquiry which investigated the various conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths. That operation’s findings were published in 2006.
Around 30 veteran soldiers, who were in the SAS in 1997 and are still with the regiment, are said to have been interviewed as part of the new inquiry.
Maj Gen Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the Special Forces, wrote to the Prince of Wales to express his regret over the impact that the investigation had caused the Royal family and, in particular, Princes William and Harry.
The allegations were first made two years ago in a letter from the mother-in-law of an SAS soldier, known only as Soldier N. It was sent to the head of the SAS and described a number of incidents of alleged domestic violence by the SAS sergeant. The domestic issues were investigated, but not the allegations of murder.
Soldier N, whose identity cannot be discosed, joined the SAS four years after Diana and Fayed were killed in the crash in Paris. He allegedly told his wife several times how their Mercedes limousine smashed into a pillar in the Pont de L’Alma underpass on the banks of the River Seine when an intense beam of light blinded Paul and that members of his regiment were involved.
Soldier N was reportedly interviewed at his home by Det Ch Insp Easton. His former wife was quizzed in August by two Met detectives. She is said to have told them that she firmly believed he was telling the truth.
The letter from her mother to the head of the SAS came around the time of the break-up of her 13-year marriage to Soldier N. She told civilian police that he kept a live hand grenade in the garage of the house in Hereford that he shared with Nightingale.
The semi-detached house was raided and officers seized two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the bedrooms. Both men were prosecuted and Soldier N was jailed for two years at a court-martial last year. Nightingale initially pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months.
That could have been the end of the matter, but for the quashing of Nightingale’s conviction, after a campaign led by The Sunday Telegraph.
The letter surfaced after he was found guilty by a military court in July, with Soldier N giving crucial evidence for the Crown. The Royal Military Police handed the letter to Scotland Yard and its contents were later made public.
The 2008 inquest into the deaths of the Princess and Dodi dismissed any claims of murder made by Mohamed Fayed and conspiracy theorists. Since then, murder claims have continued to be made, but had never been looked into by British police.
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An SAS soldier claimed Princess Diana was killed after a member of the elite unit shone a light in her driver's face causing him to crash, it has been claimed.
The man, known only as Soldier N, is said to have made the astonishing allegations to his wife after taking Prince William on an advanced driving course in 2008.
Scotland Yard reportedly decided to review the historic case 16 years after Diana's death in a Paris underpass, after interviewing the woman who insists her former husband was telling the truth.
And in a dramatic twist, the investigation could unearth recordings of the crash after security experts today revealed Diana's phone was bugged.
It is understood the recent development comes after Soldier N's ex-wife told police last month her husband revealed the secret when he was teaching William how to drive with SAS colleagues.
'We were talking about it...and I said it was sad that his mum wasn't there to see it.
'Then he said one of the guys was responsible for the accident, for the death of Diana. I was shocked. I believed what he said', the Sunday Mirror has reported.
When the woman quizzed her husband about his theory he reportedly told her the SAS had been following Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, who also died in the accident, and that a light was shone into the Paris tunnel before their car crashed.
When she asked him how anyone could do something like that he allegedly responded: 'It's an order, a job's a job.'
The wife reportedly claimed her husband had told her the 'hit' had been instructed by individuals in the royal inner circle because they disapproved of Diana's relationship with Fayed.
The forthcoming investigation will probe claims today from a key source in the UK security industry that GCHQ was remotely taping Diana and Dodi up until the moment of the crash.
The source told the Sunday Express the controversial couple had their phones tapped.
It follows news confirmed by a French inquiry that CCTV images of Diana's final hours, supposedly lost, have been held in secret.
The source, who worked in 'black ops', told the paper: 'There is no doubt that this technology was used on Diana and all around her, and for very human reasons she was regularly listened to live in the moment.'
He added, because she was a prime intelligence target, GCHQ operatives 'would have wanted and had the capacity to listen live to the conversations in the car as it sped away from the Ritz.'
Diana, 36, Fayed, 42, and their driver Henri Paul, 41, were killed in the crash in 1997. The Princess' bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was seriously injured.
Soldier N, a former sniper, told his former wife, who revealed the conversation to her own mother years later when asked who would possibly have carried out the murder.
Crash: Conspiracy theories have long surrounded Diana's death in Paris in 1997 despite the official finding that it was an accident caused by paparazzi photographers
She alleged a white car and motorbike were involved in the plot which enlisted the services of one of Soldier N's former SAS colleagues.
Al Fayed's father, Mohammed Al Fayed has always asserted the pair's deaths were the result of a planned murder at the hands of the British Establishment and MI6, and similarly claims a white Fiat was involved in the crash but has never been traced.
The woman and her mother reportedly met with detectives last month including a senior officer who worked on the original Operation Paget investigation into Diana's death.
The two women offered convincing accounts of what caused the crash.
The soldier's former wife insisted he had made the claims two years before the break up of their marriage at a time when he confided in her with full trust.
Couple: Diana and Dodi pictured on CCTV at the Ritz Hotel in Paris just hours before the fatal crash
When asked by officers why she hadn't reported her husband's theory earlier the woman said she had been sworn to secrecy.
The woman's mother first alerted authorities to the claims in September 2011 in a letter to Dyfed Powys Police after her daughter and son-in-law divorced.
She reportedly also wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron, Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond and army head General Sir Peter Wall about the Soldier N's aggressive behavior following the break down of his marriage.
It is believed these correspondences contained details of the plot.
Though the woman claims to have received acknowledgements from Downing Street and General Wall, neither made any mention of Diana or any suspicion surrounding her death.
In 2011 Dyfed Powys Polcie seized a gun and ammunition from Soldier N's marital home after his mother-in-law reported his tendencies for violent behavior.
Last journey: Diana leaves the Ritz Hotel shortly before her death in the Paris underpass
Diana is pictured moments before the crash which the woman claims was caused after an SAS soldier shone a light into the eyes of driver, Henri Paul (right). Diana's bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones (left) was the accident's only survivor
The man was jailed for two years by a military court last May after admitting illegal possession of a firearm, but was freed in July and later discharged from service.
Later that month the man appeared in the court martial for his former SAS housemate, Danny Nightingale, 38, for illegal possession of a pistol and ammunition.
It was during this time the allegations about Diana's death were revealed.
An inquest into the accident found Diana and Al Fayed died unlawfully as the result of gross negligence of driver, Henri Paul, who was said to have been drinking before the crash.
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