(By express.co.uk) Two of Britain’s leading former police officers are wanted for questioning over allegations that they withheld crucial evidence about the car crash which killed Princess Diana.
A French judge wants to ask ex-Yard chief Lord Condon and Sir David Veness why they failed to disclose the existence of a note in which she predicted her assassination.
They could face international arrest warrants as suspects should they refuse to attend interviews in Paris, sources close to the investigation indicated last night.
The note, taken by Diana’s lawyer Lord Mishcon, was handed to the officers a few months after the 1997 Paris tunnel crash which also claimed the lives of Diana’s boyfriend Dodi Fayed, son of tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, and the pair’s chauffeur Henri Paul.
The highly-respected lawyer’s document records the line: “Efforts would be made if not to get rid of her (be it by some accident in her car, such as a pre-prepared brake failure or whatever)…at least to see that she was so injured or damaged as to be declared unbalanced.”
Everyone assumed that with the end of the British inquest, the investigation into Diana and Dodi’s deaths was closed
It was more than three years later before it emerged that the officers had locked the note in Lord Condon’s safe at Scotland Yard. When Lord Condon stood down as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner his successor as Met Commissioner, Lord Stevens, continued to keep its existence a secret.
Under French law, “removing or concealing” evidence, which could “facilitate the discovery of a crime”, is punishable by three to five years in jail or a fine.
Now Paris-based Judge Gerard Caddeo is locked in a protracted battle with British authorities over his demand for interviews with Lord Condon and Sir David, a former assistant commissioner.
The explosive development means that the issue of whether the fatal crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris was an accident or murder is likely to be once more the subject of a controversial court case.
A source close to the Paris inquiry said: “Everyone assumed that with the end of the British inquest, the investigation into Diana and Dodi’s deaths was closed.
“But this has blown it wide open again. Judge Caddeo is determined to get to the bottom of what happened with the Mishcon note.
“The French courts will not allow this matter to rest and it is understood that if Lord Condon and Sir David refuse to attend Paris for an interview then Judge Caddeo will not hesitate to issue international warrants of arrest.”
At his home in Kent yesterday, Lord Condon refused to comment in detail on the Diana letter.
“I have not been asked to go to Paris,” he said. “There was discussion of all these things at the inquest and if there is anything else, you will have to speak to the legal affairs department at Scotland Yard. This is not the time or place for this.”
A Yard spokesman said: “We are not prepared to comment – we would have to refer you to the French authorities.”
The Daily Express understands that Judge Caddeo has been engaged in lengthy exchanges with Sylvie Petit-Leclair, a judge attached jointly to the French Embassy in London and the Home Office who assists in cross-Channel legal issues.
He has also written to a Home Office official, whose name is known to this paper, demanding she assist his bid to interview the officers. The Daily Express also understands that he has twice sent the same Home Office official ‘International Letters Rogatory’ – formal requests from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance – in which he names Lord Condon and Sir David as suspects.
He also names Lord Stevens as a person he wishes to question. Judge Caddeo’s papers summarise the crucial accusation – that Scotland Yard and the British Embassy in Paris concealed the note made by Lord Mishcon from the French authorities investigating the crash.
The note would have made it more likely that the French would have opened a murder inquiry.
He states that the note reported that the Princess had been “informed by sources worthy of her trust” that an attempt was being made to “eliminate her in an orchestrated automobile accident.” Diana died on August 31, 1997, after the Mercedes she and Dodi Fayed were travelling in crashed following a high-speed chase as they tried to evade photographers.
A French investigation concluded that the crash was caused by driver Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Paris Ritz, losing control of the car at high speed while intoxicated. But the investigating authorities were unaware British police had the late Lord Mishcon’s note.