London, Apr 7 (UNI) After a six-month inquest and 11 years since her death, the paparazzi who pursued Diana, Princess of Wales across Paris, are to blame for her 'unlawful killing', the jury found.
The jury also found Henri Paul, the man who was at the wheel of the Mercedes in which she was fatally injured in August 1997, was culpable for the Princess's death due to his 'gross negligence' in driving the car whilst three times over the drink-drive limit.
The jury also decided that contributory factors in the crash included the speed and manner in which the Mercedes was being driven - crash investigators found the impact happened at 65mph, well above the speed limit - and the impairment of Mr Paul's judgement because of the amount of alcohol he had consumed in the hours before the tragedy.
Other factors also include the fact that none of the occupants were wearing seat belts and the fact that the car smashed into a pillar in the tunnel's central reservation, maximising the damage from the impact.
The verdicts - described by the coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, as the equivalent of manslaughter in a criminal court - were reached by a 9-2 majority of the 11-member jury panel following an unprecedented six month hearing.
A statement on behalf of Mohamed Al Fayed said the verdicts would come as a blow to 'millions' of his supporters around the world .
''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.'' As he emerged from the court, he said, ''The most important thing is, it is a murder.'' Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens welcomed the verdicts as a 'justification' of the inquiry he led into the deaths.
''I just hope that this can bring closure to what has been a traumatic event for many people. Mr Al Fayed said that he will accept the verdict of the jury. The verdict has been clear. They have said they are absolutely sure that there is no conspiracy in relation to this matter,'' Lord Stevens said.
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, he added.
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