The jury at the inquest into the death of Princess Diana retired to consider their verdict yesterday (02.04.08).

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The panel of six women and five men must decide whether the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed – who were killed in a Paris car crash in August, 1997, along with driver Henri Paul – were manslaughter, an accident or unexplained.

Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker gave the jury five possible verdicts to consider before excusing them to deliberate the six months of evidence they have heard from 250 witnesses.

Speaking at London’s High Court before letting the jury go, he said: “You have listened to a vast amount of evidence with, if I may say so, obvious care and great commitment.

“I am grateful to counsel for sticking to the timescale we agreed and to you for sitting at inconvenient hours that you’ve cheerfully accepted.”

The coroner has ruled out any suggestion Diana’s father-in-law Prince Philip engineered a murder plot with the British secret service MI6.

Dodi’s father Mohammed Al Fayed has always maintained the couple were murdered because they were about to announce their engagement and Diana was pregnant.

After four hours of deliberation, the jury were sent home last night under strict instructions to remain silent about the case.

The jury can return one of five verdicts: unlawful killing through grossly negligent driving by the pursuing paparazzi; unlawful killing through grossly negligent driving by chauffeur Henri Paul; unlawful killing as a combination of the driving of the paparazzi and Mr Paul; accidental death or an open verdict.