MI6 boss due at inquest

The former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency will testify at Princess Diana’s inquest later this month.

Sir Richard Dearlove – who was chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6 from 1999 to 2004 – will tell the jury at London’s High Court his organisation had nothing to do with the death of the princess and her lover Dodi in a Paris car crash in August 1997.

Dearlove – who was the agency’s operations director at the time of Diana’s death – said in a statement he welcomed the opportunity to “refute the allegations of SIS involvement in the accident which led to the deaths of the Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed”.

Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, has claimed British intelligence services, along with Diana’s former father-in-law Prince Philip, were involved in a plot to murder the couple.

He alleged the British establishment wanted them dead because they were about to announce their engagement and Diana was pregnant. French authorities have blamed the crash on driver Henri Paul, who was shown by blood tests to be over the legal drink-driving limit. Paul also died in the crash.

A British police inquiry concluded in 2006 the three deaths were a “tragic accident” and allegations of murder were unfounded.

Meanwhile, yesterday (11.02.08) the inquest heard Michael Jay, Britain’s former ambassador in Paris, deny Al Fayed’s claim he ordered Diana’s body to be embalmed to cover up a pregnancy.

Ian Burnett, a lawyer for the coroner hearing the case, asked him: “You are aware that it has been suggested that you personally ordered the embalming of the body of the Princess of Wales on the instructions of MI5 to conceal the fact that she was pregnant with Dodi’s child?”

Jay replied: “There is no truth in this allegation whatsoever.”