British tabloid names Diana 'killer'

A tabloid newspaper has named a senior member of Britain's royal family as the person the late Princess Diana suspected of plotting to kill her.

    Diana died in a car carsh in 1997

    In a front-page splash on the day Britain opened an

    inquest into Diana's death, The Mirror named the person

    she had claimed was "planning an accident" in a chilling

    prediction of her own death in a car crash in August 1997.

    She made the allegation in a letter she gave to her butler

    and confidant, Paul Burrell, before she died.

    The former wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles died

    at the age of 36, along with her lover Dodi al-Fayed and their

    chauffeur Henri Paul in a Paris road tunnel.

    Legal action 

    The Mirror appeared to be risking an aggressive legal

    response from Buckingham Palace to its story on Tuesday.

    The rest of the

    normally competitive British media omitted the name, apparently

    to avoid legal action under Britain's tough defamation laws.

     

    The tabloid printed a copy of the letter Diana wrote just 10

    months before her death on its inside pages. Although it

    identified the person in its own story, the name was blanked

    out in the reproduction of the handwritten letter.

    "This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous,"

    it quoted the letter as saying. "(...) is planning 'an

    accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury."

    "This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous...

    (...) is planning 'an

    accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury"

    Excerpt from Princess Diana's letter to her butler

     

    Sensational headlines

    Burrell, who gave The Mirror access to the letter as part

    of a serialisation of excerpts of his book which was published

    late last year, reacted angrily to news the name had been

    revealed.

    "I am not very happy about it... I only learnt about it late

    last night. And it was always my intention never to publish

    that name," he told reporters on

    Tuesday.

    Britain's tabloid newspapers have been engaged in an almost

    daily battle in the years since Diana's death to produce the

    most sensational headlines about Diana, Charles and other

    members of her family and former household.

    Tuesday's revelation came as Royal Coroner Michael Burgess

    was due to open and adjourn inquests into the deaths of Diana

    and Dodi.

    Adulterous affairs

    Hundreds of journalists from around the world gathered for

    the start of the inquests in central London - the first

    official public hearings into the crash to be held on British

    soil.

    An inquiry by French authorities in 1999 ruled the accident

    was caused by Diana's chauffeur being drunk and driving too fast.

    The Mirror said Burrell was prepared to hand over the Diana

    letter to the coroner as part of the inquest.

    It said that in doing so, he would be "honouring a

    long-standing promise to cooperate fully with the inquiries".

    After a 15-year marriage, Charles and Diana divorced in

    1996 after both had admitted to having adulterous affairs.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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