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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 01:41 GMT
'MI6 in Paris' when Diana killed
Lord Jay
Lord Jay was British ambassador in Paris at the time of the crash
An MI6 team was at the UK's embassy in Paris at the time of Princess Diana's death, the former ambassador has said.

Lord Jay told the inquest into Diana's death he did not think the intelligence service's presence had anything to do with the car crash which killed her.

Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi also died, believes MI6 was behind a plot to kill the princess.

Next week Mr Al Fayed and former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove will give evidence.

Intelligence service

Lord Jay - known at the time of the crash on 31 August 1997 as Sir Michael Jay - told the High Court he had not known Diana had been in Paris until he had been woken up with news of the crash.

He confirmed to Ian Burnett, counsel to the inquest, that the Secret Intelligence Service - better known as MI6 - and security service MI5 had been present at the embassy.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana died after a car crash in Paris in August 1997

"It's to liaise with the French authorities on issues such as counter-terrorism, anti-drugs work, security issues and to share intelligence on matters of foreign policy," he told the hearing.

Lord Jay said if MI6 had been involved in a major operation in Paris he would have expected to have been told.

He had not been aware of anything significant going on, he added.

Lord Jay said there was no truth in the allegation that he had ordered the princess's body to be embalmed because MI5 had wanted to cover up the fact that she had been pregnant by Dodi Al Fayed.

He also said the Queen's private secretary, Lord Fellowes, had not been in Paris at the time. It had been claimed Lord Fellowes had been at the embassy to organise the murder of the princess.

'Tone of voice'

Earlier, Mr Al Fayed's lawyer Stuart Benson told the jury he was "pretty sure" the couple had got engaged days before the crash.

Mr Benson said he had received a brief call from Dodi Al Fayed who had spoken of "very exciting news" to share later.

Mr Benson added the princess had not been named in the call as Dodi had feared his calls were being bugged.

But his "tone of voice" had indicated he had been referring to the princess in the call from onboard the Al Fayeds' luxury yacht, he said.

"It was singularly short and pretty much the exact words [were], 'Can't really talk over the phone, but my friend and I have very exciting news'.

"'Are you around on Monday to have lunch as it will mean lots of issues to talk about and discuss?'"

'Not a business discussion'

Mr Benson, a former legal advisor to Mohamed Al Fayed, said he had assumed this had referred to an engagement, because of the "tone of voice and voice used".

"It was clearly not a business discussion. It was something he felt he could not talk about on the phone - that was my reaction to what he said," he said.

Sir Richard Dearlove was director of operations at MI6 from 1994 until 1999, and chief of the organisation from 1999 to 2004.

In a statement issued through the Foreign Office, MI6 welcomed Sir Richard's planned appearance at the inquest.

It said: "SIS and Sir Richard welcome this opportunity for Sir Richard to refute the allegations of SIS involvement in the accident which led to the deaths of the Princess of Wales and Mr Al Fayed."

The inquest was adjourned until Tuesday. Sir Richard is expected to appear on Wednesday 20 February.



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