Police pursuing a 'trophy trial', says princess's butler

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The Independent Online

Paul Burrell, the former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales, accused the police of pursuing a "trophy trial" after he appeared in court yesterday to deny stealing £5m of property from Kensington Palace.

Mr Burrell, 43, was at Bow Street magistrates' court to face three counts of theft – items allegedly taken on or before 30 June 1998 from the Prince of Wales, the estate of the Princess of Wales, and Prince William.

The 414 items, including personal letters, photographs, and designer clothes, predominantly belonged to the princess.

Yesterday, Mr Burrell's solicitor, Andrew Shaw, said there were claims Mr Burrell may have "mummified" some of the items following her death but "he did not steal them". He also appeared to indicate that the Prince of Wales and Prince William could be called to give evidence in the trial.

"It is now suggested that the same man who declined vast sums to tell royal secrets decided to steal items including dresses and some clearly identified royal property and put them in unopened boxes in his loft," said Mr Shaw. "He did not steal them and those that know him believe him."

Mr Burrell spoke only to confirm his personal details and deny the charges before a packed central London court room. District judge Elery Rees ordered the case to be sent to Crown Court for trial. A committal is set for 12 October.

Mr Burrell was given bail on condition he did not contact two unnamed witnesses.