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article imageDiana And Dodi Unlawfully Killed Says Jury - Is This What We Wanted To Hear?

By Michelle Duffy     Apr 7, 2008 in World
The verdict on the inquest into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and her companion, Dodi al Fayed has resulted in "gross negligence" at the hands of Henri Paul and the paparazzi, yet Mr al Fayed is disappointed. Would he have preferred murder?
The six month slog at the Old Bailey in London for the grief-stricken father Mohamed al Fayed is now over. After campaigning for jury a of six ordinary women and five ordinary men as well as a complete public hearing into the deaths of his son and Princess Diana, the result has left Mr al Fayed lost for words. After stepping quietly out of court this afternoon, he did not stay to address the awaiting press, but went home to be with his family. The result - not what he had wished for, yet in his statement read by his team outside today, he expressed his bitterness and disappointment in the case, yet thanked the jury for doing their job.
The judge and jury decided on a verdict of "unlawful killing" at the hands of Henri Paul, their driver that night, and members of the paparazzi. They also found that the two passengers in the rear of the black Mercedes, Dodi and Diana, were not wearing their seat belts. Henri Paul was found to be over three times the legal drink driving limit. A collaboration of these events are said to have led to the deaths.
Bitter and defeated, Mohamed al Fayed has refused to accept the verdict, yet knows in his heart of hearts that he has no choice but to. Thoughts of the court and those involved have gone to Mr al Fayed and his loss. Included in the list of these people was former Met Police chief Lord Stevens, who expressed his wish for Mr al Fayed to accept the outcome and bring closure to the ten year battle.
According to the BBC News website, "The jury returned joint verdicts of unlawful killing through grossly negligent driving - or gross negligence manslaughter."
It is thought to be the most expensive investigation into a human death in criminal history. British taxpayers have obviously been hit with the "bill" to the tune of around £10m. Yet as Mr al Fayed approaches the 11th anniversary of the car crash which killed his son, Henri Paul his driver and Princess Diana, he will be thinking again about the events which surrounded their deaths in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris on the 31st of August, 1997.
As the former police chief, Lord Stevens said outside court today,
"I do hope everybody will take this verdict as being closure to this particular tragic incident and the people who've died will be allowed to rest in peace.."
Yet in Mr al Fayed's statement which was read out today for his millions of supporters around the world, he said,
"For 10 years I have endured two police investigations. The French and the Scotland Yard inquiries were wrong. These inquests prove it. They said it was an accident and their findings are now dismissed."
Yet it has far from brought closure on the subject for those of us around the world as since the verdict was announced today in court, dozens of radio stations and news channels have discussed it, analysed it and focused on it and will continue to do so for a very long time to come, and why? Because we are human and in a case where we think there has been an element of deceit, sensationalism, deception and passion, we will be there, talking about it.
Mr al fayed had said,
"The most important thing is it is murder."
So is that what we really would have wanted to hear? Would that have allowed us and Mr al Fayed peace and understanding? Would we have then been able to put closure on the matter and laid the Princess and her companion to rest? Probably not, we would not have stopped there and neither would have Mr al fayed.
So it actually might not end here. There is a possibility of this case coming back to court again. Would Mr al fayed be ready for a new challenge, or would he simply be seen as a man who cannot let something go? Such a challenge would consist of a High Court judicial review, and that would mean more press coverage and a possible country fed up with hearing Mr al Fayed gone one again. He has had a lot of support from the UK, but surely enough is a enough? The press agent, Michael Cole said,
"That is a very difficult route but we are keeping all our options open."
Yet there might be a stick in the clause for Mr al Fayed. A scrap of small print suggests that it is "not possible for the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute foreign nationals for deaths abroad, even if the victim is British. All of the paparazzi involved were foreign," according to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Even now thought, we can imagine Mr al Fayed sitting at home mumbling the words "murder plot" over his evening meal. Yet there are events of the case itself which leave a bad taste in the mouth - the fact that the butler, Paul Burrell refused to appear in court again after he was cross questioned over certain details, the mother, Mrs Shand Kydd who described her daughter, Princess Diana as nothing more that "a whore." The plot will continue to thicken and make head line news for ever.
Yet even the Princess's own family have kept quiet over the case. On leaving court, neither the Earl of Spencer, her brother or her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale said anything. Only her long time friend and occasional holiday companion, Rosa Monckton, spoke after the result, she said,
"The inquest had been incredibly intrusive. I think there's a lot of her life that has come into the public eye that should never have been there. That's been a very unfortunate side-effect of this inquest. One must never forget that he (Mohamed al Fayed) lost a son. I just hope now that he will find some sort of peace."
We do, as a nation and a world united, have to agree...
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