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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Diana butler denies theft
Paul Burrell outside Bow Street magistrates court
Mr Burrell was jostled as he left the courtroom
The former butler to Princess Diana has appeared in court charged with stealing hundreds of possessions belonging to her, Prince William and the Prince of Wales.

Paul Burrell, 42, of Farndon, Cheshire, denied three charges of theft at Bow Street magistrates court in London. He maintains the items were given to him by the princess.


It's now suggested that the same man who declined vast sums to tell royal secrets, decided to steal items

Andrew Shaw
Paul Burrell's solicitor
Outside the court his solicitor Andrew Shaw said the late princess had placed items with him because she trusted him more than professional advisers, and described the proceedings as a "trophy trial".

The charges relate to a total of 342 items, reportedly worth 5m, which are said to have been stolen on or before 30 June 1998 at Kensington Palace, Diana's former London home.

Mr Burrell was released on bail and ordered to appear again in court on 12 October.

Mr Shaw said the police had decided to charge Mr Burrell before he had had a chance to provide any explanation for the items in question.

"Princess Diana trusted Paul Burrell - she called him her rock," he said.

Diana, Princess of Wales, and Paul Burrell, meeting Bosnian Serbs and Muslims affected by landmines
The Princess described Mr Burrell as her rock
"It's now suggested that the same man who declined vast sums to tell royal secrets, decided to steal items including dresses and some clearly identified royal property and put them in unopened boxes in his loft.

"He will fight this case."

As Mr Burrell left the courtroom amid a scrum of media and other parties, a man was arrested after apparently attempting to attack him.

A scuffle broke out in the foyer when the shaven-headed man became angry and started pushing a security guard.

Mr Burrell and his team looked on as the guard and the man struggled across the room and spilled out onto the street.

Models

The former butler appeared shaken by the incident and was ushered away from the fracas by his lawyer.

It took three police officers to pin the man down and arrest him.

Police said later that a man suspected of trying to attack Mr Burrell in the foyer of the court building was arrested and taken to Charing Cross police station.

Mr Burrell was arrested on suspicion of theft in January.

A police officer tackles a man outside the court
A man was arrested after a scuffle at the court
He was charged after answering bail at West End Central police station in London on Thursday.

The hundreds of items allegedly stolen from the estate of the Princess of Wales include ornaments, letters, hats, handbags, and photographs.

Several CDs and vinyl records were also on the list issued by the Metropolitan Police, including ones by Abba, Tina Turner, Chris de Burgh and Leo Sayer.

Some 21 items are alleged to have been stolen from Prince William, including photographs and cards - many from his mother and one from Baywatch star David Hasselhoff.

Three of the photographs were of the prince with models Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer.

Items allegedly stolen from Diana include:
Photographs, framed and unframed
Box of nightwear
Hats
Shoes
Handbags
CDs, tapes and records
Boxes of crockery, jewellery and commemorative coins
Mr Burrell, who is married with two children, joined the Wales's staff in 1986 and he stayed with the princess after the couples' divorce in 1996.

When she was killed in a car crash in August 1997 he flew to France to help prepare her body before Prince Charles and her sisters arrived.

In September 1997 he was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal by the Queen in recognition of his service to the Royal Family and the Princess of Wales.

He became fund-raising manager for the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund but was made redundant in 1998.

He gave his occupation to police as a writer.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Royal Correspondent Peter Hunt
"Paul Burrell was one Princess of Wales' most trusted servants"
See also:

19 Jan 01 | UK
Diana's 'rock'
16 Aug 01 | UK
Full list of alleged thefts
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