More than 10 years and £10m in legal fees later, Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed has called off the lawyers from his bid to prove that there was a conspiracy to murder Princess Diana and his son Dodi.
In the dramatic conclusion to the 30-week inquest, the jury on 7 April returned a verdict of unlawful killing, holding that Diana and Dodi were killed due to the “gross negligence” of driver Henri Paul and the paparazzi.
On hearing the verdict, Al Fayed said he was “disappointed” and had his lawyers review other legal avenues. A day later, however, the hotelier said he had come to terms with the verdict, “but with reservations”.
“Enough is enough,” said Al Fayed. “After meeting with ;my ;lawyers ;this afternoon there are still a lot of options, but I’m tired.”
Diana and Dodi were killed during a car crash in Paris in 1997. Many believed there had been a conspiracy to murder, leading to both the French police and Scotland Yard launching inquiries, which concluded accidental death.
The inquest into Diana’s and Dodi’s deaths, which is compulsory under English law where there is an accident, ;was ;another chance for Al Fayed to prove his conspiracy theory, which involved the UK monarchy. He failed.
The past 10 years has left Al Fayed disheartened and has cost him millions in legal fees. As The Lawyer revealed (25 February), his legal costs are expected to amount to more than £3m for the inquest barristers alone. Michael Mansfield QC of Tooks Chambers and Ian Croxford of Wilberforce Chambers both command hourly rates of £575 and are each expected to pocket more than £630,000 for their roles on the 30-week inquest.