US spies 'were bugging Diana when she died'

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The Independent Online

A £2m police inquiry into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her lover, Dodi Fayed, looks certain to disappoint conspiracy theorists by concluding that the couple died because their chauffeur was drunk.

The report, to be published on Thursday, is expected to confirm that Henri Paul, the Frenchman driving the couple in Paris on 31 August 1997, was more than three times over the French drink-drive limit.

Lord Stevens, the former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who is heading the three-year inquiry, is expected to conclude that the chauffeur was driving too fast when he lost control of the Mercedes and crashed in the Pont d'Alma tunnel while being pursued by photographers.

Claims that the accident was an MI6 plot and that the Princess was pregnant, are expected to be dismissed.

The inquiry, codenamed Operation Paget, is likely to contain several surprises.

According to a newspaper report, the American Secret Service was bugging the Princess's telephone conversations without the approval of MI6 on the night she died. Lord Stevens, however, is reported to have been assured that the classified documents detailing the Princess's final conversations while staying at the Ritz hotel did not reveal anything that might help explain her death.

M. Paul is also reported to have been in the pay of the French security services, although there is no evidence to link that to the crash.

The overall findings will be a huge disappointment to Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi. Mr Fayed has repeatedly claimed that the deaths were part of an establishment plot to stop a pregnant Diana from marrying her lover.

Mr Fayed's spokesman has issued a statement criticising a reported new DNA analysis confirming that crucial blood samples were from M. Paul. The new evidence was based on "a false understanding" of the analysis of the driver's blood, the spokesman said.