Operation Paget was the Metropolitan Police inquiry, led by Lord Stevens, that investigated the conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al-Fayed on 31 August 1997.
Its first report with the findings of the criminal investigation was published on 14 December 2006. The inquiry was wound-up following the conclusion of the British Inquest into the deaths in April 2008.
Background to Inquiry
The criminal investigation was initiated in January, 2004 when the Coroner of the Queen's Household, Michael Burgess, asked then Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Stevens to conduct enquiries into allegations of a cover-up and conspiracy: that MI6, under the orders of Royal Family (particularly Prince Philip and Diana's former husband Prince Charles), deliberately caused the fatal car crash in Paris, France that killed Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed in 1997.
The investigation was legally necessary; once the inquest into the deaths got under way in the United Kingdom, it became apparent to the Coroner that allegations were being made that a crime had taken place on UK soil: namely, conspiracy to murder. Coroners are legally obliged to refer to the police any information or evidence that comes before them concerning a suspected or actual crime.
The basis of the investigation was public statements made mainly by Dodi's father, Mohammed Al-Fayed. The investigation initially was confined to the general premise of the alleged conspiracy, but was eventually broadened to cover every associated allegation made through the media, in legal submissions, and in formal correspondence since the crash.
The level of detail of the investigation is reflected in the report's length at 832 pages which took a team of fourteen experienced police officers nearly three years to compile. Accident Investigation experts from TRL assisted the police enquiry. Because of public interest in Diana, the Metropolitan Police decided to publish the report on the internet, although it had been drafted as an internal police document.
The criminal investigation had a final cost of 3.69 million pounds (US$7.27 million).
Summary of Criminal Investigation Report
The criminal investigation report's chapter titles are:
- Chapter One- Relationship / Engagement / Pregnancy (Alleged motives for the conspiracy)
- Chapter Two- Perceived Threats to Diana, Princess Of Wales
- Chapter Three- Actions of the Paparazzi in Paris
- Chapter Four- Henri Paul - Hôtel Ritz Paris Security Officer and driver of the Mercedes
- Chapter Five- CCTV / (traffic cameras) in Paris
- Chapter Six- Mercedes Car
- Chapter Seven- Blocking Vehicles / Unidentified Vehicles / Bright Flashes (The Journey to the Alma Underpass)
- Chapter Eight- Post-Crash Medical Treatment of Diana
- Chapter Nine- The Embalming of the Body of the Princess of Wales at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital
- Chapter Ten- Actions of the French Authorities
- Chapter Eleven- Actions of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office / British Embassy, Paris
- Chapter Twelve- British Authorities Actions with regard to 'Suspicious Deaths'
- Chapter Thirteen- Bodyguards of Mohamed Al Fayed (Trevor Rees-Jones, Kieran Wingfield and Reuben Murrell)
- Chapter Fourteen- ‘James’ Andanson – French Photo-journalist and owner of a White Fiat Uno
- Chapter Fifteen- Central Intelligence Agency /National Security Agency, USA
- Chapter Sixteen- The Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Security Service (MI5)
Conclusion of Criminal Investigation Report
Each chapter of the report concluded that all allegations made since the crash of conspiracy were without foundation and all the evidence obtained point to the deaths being the result of a tragic accident.
The script for the 2007 television docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess borrowed heavily from testimony in the Paget report.
On 3 April 2007, the acting Coroner of the Queen's Household, Baroness Butler-Sloss decided to grant access to the evidence collected by the criminal investigation to lawyers for Mohammed Al-Fayed to assist them in putting together their case in support of the conspiracy allegation for the inquest to begin in October 2007. On 15 May 2007, it was revealed by Baroness Butler-Sloss that the underlying material collected by the criminal investigation team runs to more than 11,000 pages when printed out and also consists of more than 1400 photographs, several DVDs, large-sized plans and other data. The material has substantially been disclosed to the interested persons and legal teams.
The coroner's inquest opened on 2 October 2007, headed by Lord Justice Scott Baker. The opening statement was largely made up of evidence and findings in the criminal investigation report.
On 7 April 2008, the jury came to the verdict that both Diana and Dodi were unlawfully killed as a result of "gross negligence" of driver Henri Paul and the paparazzi. Contributing factors cited included "the impairment of the judgment of the driver of the Mercedes [Henri Paul] through alcohol" and that none of those who died were wearing seatbelts.
- ^ BBC News: Diana death a 'tragic accident'
- ^ BBC News: At-a-glance: Lord Stevens' report
- ^ BBC News: Diana police files 'to be shown'
- ^ Inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Mr Dodi Al Fayed: Opening statement for a Pre-Inquest Hearing, 15 May 2007
- ^ BBC: Princess Diana unlawfully killed
- ^ Coroner's Inquest, Hearing transcripts: Verdict of the jury
- Operation Paget Overview
- Operation Paget Report
- BBC News on criminal investigation report publication: includes video of press briefing by Lord Stevens in which he reads out Overview
- Coroner's Inquests into the Deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Mr Dodi Al Fayed
Charity FamilyCharles, Prince of Wales (husband) · Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (elder son) · Prince Harry of Wales (younger son) · John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer (father) · Frances Shand Kydd (mother) · Lady Sarah McCorquodale (sister) · Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes (sister) · Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer (brother) Marital events DeathPeople Memorials In fictionBooksFilmsThe Queen · Diana: Last Days of a Princess · The Murder of Princess Diana · Unlawful KillingOther
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