Leading article: Laid to rest

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Unlike many newspapers, The Independent always believed it was right that a public inquest be held into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Now that the inquiry has found that Diana was unlawfully killed due to the "gross negligence" of her driver, Henri Paul, that evening in Paris 11 years ago, we continue to believe that it was right that the inquest was established. It is vital not only that justice is done, but that it is seen to be done. It is true that there was no compelling evidence that Diana was murdered, as Mohamed Al Fayed – whose son Dodi perished in the same crash – has long asserted.

But it is equally true that Diana had written, only months before her fatal journey, that she feared some people were plotting her assassination and that it would involve "brake failure". That is hardly typical behaviour of those who die in car accidents.

And whatever one's personal belief about that crash in the Pont d'Alma tunnel, the plain fact is that a considerable number of people in Britain believed, before this inquest began last year, that what happened to Diana was not an accident. Indeed, some will still have questions about how exactly Diana died – and not just Mr Al Fayed. That is their prerogative.

But for the rest of us, it is to be hoped that this verdict will, at the very least, bring an end to the unedifying soap opera that has accompanied this inquest.

After six months, 250 sworn testimonies, and considerable public expense, it is difficult not to breathe a sigh of relief that it is finally over.

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