Princess Diana’s former butler lied to cash in on her memory, the coroner for the inquest into her death said yesterday (01.04.08).
Lord Justice Scott Baker blasted Paul Burrell’s “shabby” behaviour, saying he had abused his position as the princess’ “rock” for his own financial benefit.
Speaking about Burrell – who was caught on videotape in a New York hotel room boasting that he had lied during his testimony at London’s High Court – Justice Baker told the jury: “You have heard him in the witness box and even without what he said subsequently in the hotel room in New York, it was blindingly obvious, wasn’t it, that the evidence that he gave in this court was not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
“All in all, you may think that Mr. Burrell’s behaviour has been pretty shabby. But beyond the extent to which it reflects his honesty, on whether other matters are true you may think this – it has no impact on the means by which those came their death.”
Justice Baker said Burrell may have lied to the jury because “what he said might have an impact on his future enterprises”.
Since Diana’s death, Burrell has written two books about his 10 years working for the princess, appeared on several reality TV shows and developed a range of furniture, crockery and cutlery.
After the tape of him admitting perjury was revealed in The Sun, Justice Baker ordered him back from his new home in the US to London to explain himself. However, Burrell refused.
Justice Baker also reminded the jury of the moment when one barrister mocked Burrell’s claim to have been the Princess’ “rock”, accusing him of being “a porous rock” because of the number of secrets he had leaked.
Diana was killed in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997 along with lover Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.
After six months of evidence, the jury must decide how they died, although Dodi’s father Mohamed Al Fayed’s theory they were murdered by the British establishment have been ruled out by the coroner.