Princess Diana’s former butler could be arrested the next time he steps foot in the UK, after refusing to return to the inquest into her death.

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Paul Burrell – who worked for the princess for 10 years before her death in 1997 – had been asked to return to London from his Florida home to explain his boasts about not telling the whole truth when he gave his testament at the High Court last month.

A police source said: “If Paul Burrell were to enter the country at the moment, we would certainly detain him to ask him if he would volunteer to answer questions.

“If he refused to do that voluntarily, he would be arrested on suspicion of perjury and questioned under question.”

However, the coroner into the inquest Lord Justice Scott Baker said he can’t compel Burrell to give evidence because he is outside the court’s jurisdiction in the US.

He said in a statement: “The coroner asked him to give further evidence either in person or via videolink from abroad. Mr. Burrell has refused to do this and, as he is outside the court jurisdiction, the coroner has no power to compel him to give evidence.”

Burrell was secretly videotaped by The Sun saying he had introduced “red herrings” during his evidence and held back facts. The conversation took place with a friend in a New York hotel. But he has now retracted his claims saying he had never lied while under oath.

In a statement read to the jury, Burrell said: “I did not conceal anything remotely relevant to the inquiry. I accept that whilst I was under cross-examination my evidence may at times have strayed from the strictly relevant, but at no time did I tell any untruths.”

He said when the conversation took place he was “tired and depressed and had been drinking all evening”.

He added: “I was showing off. I am not proud of this. I was trying to impress him. The comments I made to him were not correct.”