When the news broke in the summer that a former SAS soldier, known only as Soldier N, had claimed that Princess Diana was murdered by an elite special forces squad, the news understandably, flashed around the world.
Now, after a three month ‘scoping’ exercise involving seven police officers working full time on the case, few are surprised that the investigation will be going no further, with the police saying today there is no ‘evidential basis’ to believe the claims.
To most of us, it has been clear from the outset that there was nothing to the claims, and the only question is why on earth the police decided to investigate them in the first place.
Firstly, Soldier N’s allegations were not spoken by himself in court, but made by the parents of his ex-wife, in a letter which was sent to his superiors in 2011, the substance of which appears to have been how ill the man was. The letter said not just that he had claimed knowledge of a Diana murder plot, but also that he was suffering flashbacks and had taken to driving his children around in the boot of a Land Rover. His claims of a Diana murder plot were, for obvious reasons, not deemed worthy of investigation.
Also in 2011, police searched Soldier N’s home in Hereford, close to SAS headquarters, finding two 9mm guns, a silencer, ammunition, smoke grenades, and a high-explosive hand grenade. He was convicted of hiding the weapons and discharged after his release from military prison.
Furthermore, military sources confirmed to Nico Hines of the Daily Beast that the former soldier was one of a number of servicemen interviewed about the death of a civilian in Iraq at the height of the sectarian violence in 2004, although no charges were filed in this matter.
Senior defense officials told Hines that the claims allegedly made by the former member of the elite SAS squadron were not originally considered worthy of investigation.
And yet, for some inexplicable reason, the British police decided to investigate the claims.
"The Metropolitan Police Service is scoping information that has recently been received in relation to the deaths and assessing its relevance and credibility,” they said in a statement at the time.
This was despite the fact that in 2008, a jury at an inquest into the crash in the Pont de L’Alma Tunnel which claimed the lives of Diana, Dodi, and their chauffeur, Henri Paul, concluded that the crash was an accident, the principal cause of which was the intoxicated, speeding driver, Henri Paul.
The hearing into the deaths of Diana and Dodi lasted more than 90 days, with evidence from around 250 witnesses.
The inquests concluded on April 7th, 2008, with a jury returning a verdict that the ”people’s princess” and her boyfriend were unlawfully killed.
After the hearing, the Metropolitan Police said it had spent £8 million on services arising from the inquest and the ‘Operation Paget’ investigation from 2004 to 2006.
Scotland Yard said today that officers had conducted a “scoping exercise” to assess the “relevance and credibility” of the information provided, and to decide whether it was sufficient to warrant a reopening of the criminal investigation.
The force said: “This assessment included taking statements from a number of individuals and reviewing records. As part of the scoping officers were given unprecedented access to Special Forces Directorate records.
“Every reasonable line of inquiry was objectively pursued in order to fully evaluate any potential evidence...The final conclusion is that whilst there is a possibility the alleged comments in relation to the SAS’s involvement in the deaths may have been made, there is no credible evidence to support a theory that such claims had any basis in fact.
“Therefore the MPS are satisfied there is no evidential basis upon which to open any criminal investigation or to refer the matter back to HM Coroner.”