London, Jan 18 : Britain's former top police officer has been accused of being a part of a conspiracy to murder Princess Diana.
Diana's lover Dodi Al fayed's father Mohamed Al Fayed's barrister Michael Mansfield QC accused ex-Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Condon of deliberately covering up evidence, because he knew the princess' death in Paris was linked to 'British state agencies'.
However, Lord Condon described the allegations, made at Diana's ongoing death inquest in London, as 'abhorrent' and 'disgusting'.
The astonishing exchange came during cross-examination about a note from the princess to her lawyer Lord Mishcon in 1995, in which she revealed she feared she would be killed in a car crash.
Lord Mishcon, who has since died, handed the letter to Lord Condon 18 days after the deaths of Diana, Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul in 1997.
However, the crucial note was not passed on to Coroner Michael Burgess until 2003, when a similar letter was made public by Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell.
Mansfield told the jury that it was Lord Condon's legal duty to reveal the letter in 1997.
"I'm going to make it plain to you, Lord Condon, that the reason why potentially relevant material was not handed to the coroner immediately and in fact, not at all until Paul Burrell put his letter in the public domain, was that you were sitting on it knowing that something had gone wrong in Paris linked to the work of British state agencies," The Sun quoted Mansfield, as saying.
A stunned Lord Condon replied: "That is about the most serious allegation that could ever be made of someone in my position and I totally refute it as a blatant lie."
"I find the suggestion, though I respect your right to raise it, as totally abhorrent, offensive and would actually mean that I'm a murderer in essence, part of a murderous conspiracy. There is not one iota of truth in what Mr Mansfield is suggesting," he added.
Lord Condon had earlier told the High Court inquest he believed Diana would still be alive if she had not given up her protection by the Met.
He said he begged her to change her mind, adding: "Her problem with protection was, sadly, that she did not have police protection. I wish she had."