- Princess Diana's death was not an accident and she was
right to fear for her safety, a leading barrister claimed yesterday.
- The story appeared in the Daily Express but the link
is strangely not working today, 9-3-9. http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/124678
- Eminent QC Michael Mansfield insisted that Diana's belief
that she was under state surveillance was "entirely justified"
and that her fears for a loss of liberty came true as Britain sleepwalked
into a "Big Brother" reality.
- We Are All Living Princess Diana's Nightmare
- BA Hons. History/Philosophy, Keele University
- Hon. Fellow [University of Kent]
- Hon. LLB [Hertfordshire University, Keele University,
South Bank University, University of Westminster and the University of
Ulster, University of Kent]
- Visiting Professor of Law [University of Westminster]
- Professor of Law [City University]
- Bencher, Honourable Society of Gray's Inn
- The barrister said the princess had a "credible
and understandable basis" for her worry that she was being spied on
because of the threat she posed to the Royal Family and the Establishment,
particularly when she campaigned against landmines.
- He also claimed there remained many unanswered questions
over the events leading to her death.
- Mr Mansfield said: "It was utterly reasonable for
the Princess to suppose that Big Brother was looking over her shoulder,
that her telephone communications were being tapped and her movements were
- "Diana's fears for her safety and her preoccupation
with surveillance were thoroughly canvassed, and in my view were found
to be entirely justified."
- Mr Mansfield outlined his concerns about Diana's death
and the loss of civil liberties in his autobiography, extracts of which
were published yesterday.
- The 67-year-old lawyer, who represented Harrods tycoon
Mohamed Al Fayed at the inquest into the deaths of his son Dodi and the
princess, said there was now CCTV on every corner, cameras tracking cars,
satellites tracing mobile phones, credit and debit card records showing
people's movements and databases recording medical details and welfare
- In effect, he argued, we are all living Diana's nightmare.
- Diana often complained she was being monitored but the
authorities never took her seriously, even after the release of the "Squidgygate"
tapes of her talking to her friend James Gilbey.
- "Unfortunately, her predictions came to pass
and span the very period of our history that was the focus of George Orwell's
attentions," Mr Mansfield said, referring to the novel 1984.
- The liberal lawyer, who has worked on dozens of high
profile cases, condemned Government plans for a centralised database monitoring
every call and email.
- He said: "That these surreal proposals should even
be contemplated shows how far beyond Orwell's worst fears we have travelled."
- In his book, Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer, published on
Monday by Bloomsbury at £20, Mr Mansfield insisted that the inquest
into the 1997 deaths of Diana and Dodi Fayed in a Paris underpass, which
along with a police investigation cost £10million, had broken new
- He said: "I found it difficult simply to accept
that what happened in Paris was 'just one of those tragic things'.
- "Of course it might have been, but then that's what
'they' always hope we will think.
- "Judging whether a hidden hand is at work is always
difficult, but I prefer a healthy and inquisitive assessment of the authorised
version, and for me it was mere serendipity to be approached a year after
the crash and asked to represent Mohamed Al Fayed for the purposes of an
- "I have always believed that whatever had caused
the crash, it was not an accident. And, as it transpired, that belief was
shared by the jury at the inquest."
- He described how the jury blamed the crash on the drunk
driver of Diana and Dodi's Mercedes, Henri Paul, who also died, and also
on unidentified drivers in following vehicles but not the paparazzi.
He said: "On April 7 2008 the jury did not decide it was a tragic
accident but returned a verdict of unlawful killing by the drivers of both
the Mercedes and the following vehicles.
- "The 'following vehicles' element in the verdict
was an aspect that very few commentators picked up on, or bothered with,
and mostly its implications were not understood.
- "In so far as anyone took any notice, they thought
it was merely a reference to the chasing pack of paparazzi. It wasn't:
there were other vehicles clearly present but never traced and not driven
by members of the paparazzi."
- He told how witnesses described seeing a motorcyclist
directly behind the Mercedes just before it crashed, a dark car in front
of the Mercedes blocking it in and a white Fiat Uno which caught the car
a glancing blow but has never been traced.
- His book highlights other issues never "resolved
by evidence, or reflected in the verdict". They include the fate of
a box of missing personal papers belonging to Diana, the mystery driver
of the white Fiat, what Henri Paul was doing during an unaccounted-for
three hours before the crash and how he came to have large sums of money
paid into several of his bank accounts in the three months before the crash.
- Mr Mansfield also highlighted official sensitivity over
Diana's desire to work as an ambassador for Tony Blair's government, campaigning
against the international trade in landmines.