The counsel for the Metropolitan police described in a London court on Monday the extent of the international conspiracy to kill Diana, Princess of Wales, and her companion Dodi Fayed, as outlined by Dodi's father Mohamed Al Fayed.
After former British prime minister Tony Blair and former British foreign secretary Robin Cook had been added to Fayed's list of conspirators, Richard Horwell, a note of incredulity rising in his voice, said: "So that's MI5, MI6, the CIA, the DGSE -- the French intelligence service -- Judge Stephan ... the French ambulance service ... Lord Condon, Lord Stevens ... Mr Burgess, the Surrey coroner and Lady Sarah McCorquodale?"
He could have added more: two bodyguards; the French pathologists; a photographer called James Andanson, who was allegedly driving the white Fiat Uno that brushed against the Mercedes shortly before it crashed in the Alma tunnel in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997; Henri Paul, the chauffeur; a reception clerk at the Ritz hotel; Michael Jay, the then British ambassador; Robert Fellowes, the Queen's private secretary, who was Diana's brother-in-law; Lord Mishcon, her solicitor; and -- of course -- Prince Philip and Prince Charles.
Time and time again, Fayed answered: "Definitely."
"You don't care what you say about anyone, do you Mr Al Fayed?" Horwell said. "You truly do not care about the interests of other people, do you Mr Al Fayed? You don't care about the evidence, do you?"
Day 71 of the inquest and -- after more than 170 witnesses -- it was Fayed's day in court. It proved to be six hours on Planet Fayed as the Harrods department store owner repeatedly outlined his allegations against virtually anyone, it appears, who has ever crossed him.
There was the Duke of Edinburgh, masterminding the murder of his former daughter-in-law from Balmoral: "It is well known he is Nazi, a racist. Fine. It's time to send him back to Germany from where he comes. You want to know his original name? It ends in Frankenstein."
And the Prince of Wales: "He participated [in] it. Definitely and I am sure he knows what is going to happen because he would like to get on and marry his Camilla. And this is what happened. They cleared the decks. They finished her. They murdered her. And now he is happy."
THE LIST GOES ON
And Lord Condon and Lord Stevens, the two former Met commissioners, for concealing the note they were given by Mishcon three weeks after the crash in which Diana had disclosed two years earlier that she feared she was going to be killed. And Mishcon himself, for asking them to keep it confidential. Stevens had produced "a completely false report" when, after a three-year investigation, he decided the crash was an accident.
The French ambulance service was implicated for driving slowly to make sure Diana died. And the French intelligence service and the French magistrate investigating the crash, who determined it was an accident: They also conspired.
"The French are not renowned for doing the bidding of the British, Mr Al Fayed, are they?" Horwell said drily.
As for Andanson's car, Horwell asked: "Why with the might and power of the royal family, the British government, would MI6 choose a Fiat Uno, one of the world's lightest and least powerful cars?"
LordScott Baker, the coroner, chipped in: "A clapped-out Fiat Uno," mindful that others claim the car could no longer be driven and was only used to store rubbish.
Horwell: "Can you tell us why James Andanson took his dog on this criminal enterprise?"
Fayed: "Well, it's his own car and he chose to use his own car."
As for the motive, the British establishment did not want Diana to marry a Muslim and had discovered she was pregnant.
The fact that she had just ended a two-year relationship with the Pakistani surgeon Hasnat Khan and had emerged unscathed: "All this baloney. It was just a casual relation with this guy, a friend but nothing serious. You cannot say marry someone like that, lives in a council flat and has no money. How do you think a guy like that can support her?"
Horwell: "She could not possibly marry a man on the income of a surgeon?"
Fayed: "Why you ask such silly questions? What you are saying is just bullshit."
The conspiracy was all the more remarkable, counsel suggested, because the news that Diana and Dodi were going to get engaged and that she was pregnant was only disclosed in a single phone call to Fayed an hour before the crash.
Horwell: "Do you ever pay any attention to the evidence? The answer to my question is no. All you are interested in is your assumptions. This inquest is being held in part for your benefit."
Fayed: "What you want to prove? You are talking absolute rubbish."
Horwell: "This elaborate conspiracy has minutes to be formed and put into operation."
"No. They knew what they had been discussing," Fayed said.
"It's proved, there are dark forces. My version is the right version because [I] don't take any garbage from anybody who can pretend they are important ... It's just a great tragedy that they don't let her to be happy and enjoy her life," he said.
Horwell did extract one admission: Fayed said he would accept the jury's verdict, expected in April.
The coroner said: "Do you think there is any possibility, however remote, that your beliefs about conspiracies may be wrong and that the deaths of Dodi and Diana were in truth no more than a tragic accident?"
Fayed: "No way. I am 100 percent certain."
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