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Public gets hefty bill for Diana inquest

May 16, 2008 at 1:59 PM

LONDON, May 16 (UPI) -- The inquest into the death of Princess Diana cost British taxpayers $8.8 million, including $3.61 million for lawyers, officials say.

In April, a coroner's jury in London reached the same conclusion French investigators had years earlier. They split the blame for the 1997 car crash that killed Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, between their driver, Henri Paul, who also died, and the paparazzi pursuing them.

The total cost for the 90-day hearing came to 4.41 million British pounds ($8.8 million) plus 187,000 pounds ($273,000) in expenses for the coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, and his predecessor.

The London inquest, which involved testimony from 250 witnesses, was held to confront conspiracy theories about the crash in a tunnel near the Seine in Paris. Mohammed al-Fayed, owner of the Paris Ritz and Harrods department store, argues that the crash was engineered by British intelligence agents to prevent his son from marrying the princess.

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