Paul Burrell named as ring thief

Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell removed an ‘engagement ring’ from her dead body, her inquest heard yesterday (17.03.08).

Burrell’s former bodyguard Michael Faux claims he was “disgusted” when the royal servant told him he took the ring from the princess’ finger while she lay on a hospital mortuary slab.

During the hearing at the High Court, the coroner’s lawyer Nicholas Hilliard asked Faux: “He told you the ring was taken off the finger.”

The former minder – who worked for Burrell for a year until 2003 – replied: “He said that he took it from the body in Paris. I said I was disgusted with him. It has been eating away at my mind.”

Hilliard then said: “Did he have any way of demonstrating this was hers?”

To which Faux replied: “Yes, there was still blood on the ring and he could prove it was her by the DNA.”

The jury has heard the princess – who was killed in a Paris car crash along with her lover Dodi Fayed on August 31, 1997 – received a gold Bulgari friendship ring from Dodi which she wore on her right hand.

However, Faux claims Burrell referred to the ring as an “engagement ring” and he was “virtually crying” when he asked him to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding the piece of jewellery.

Burrell – who has previously told the inquest he was given a brown envelope containing most of the princess’ jewellery she was wearing when she died – was said to have secretly stashed the ring away with other jewels and private papers belonging to the princess.

The SAS-trained minder says Burrell planned to take a cruise and toss Diana’s jewellery overboard. Faux also told the jury he saw Burrell burning “one or two” bin liners full of documents, some bearing the official letterhead for royal London
residence Buckingham Palace, in 2002.

Burrell – who has refused to return to London to give evidence – released a statement in response to the claims, saying: “There was no conversation about a ring. I have never referred to the Bulgari friendship ring as an engagement ring. I am not in possession of that ring and I have not burned palace documents.”