Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Thursday, 20 March 2008

Diana inquiries' cost nears 7m

Princess Diana
The inquest into Diana's death began last year

Investigations and hearings into the death of Princess Diana have cost nearly 7m, latest figures show.

The figures for the period up to the end of February showed the costs of the five-month coroner's inquest have reached nearly 3m.

Additionally, the Metropolitan Police investigation into the car crash that killed the princess cost almost 4m.

Diana, her companion Dodi Al Fayed and driver Henri Paul, died in the crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.

Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker sent the jury away earlier this week until 31 March, when they will return to hear his summary of evidence.

Total cost to date: 2,885,618. Includes:
Staffing: 207,697
External legal services: 1,328,195
IT services: 465,590
Video conferencing and special visits: 478,844
Consultancy fees: 96,562
Running costs: 308,728

Inquest officials said the figures - published on the coroner's website - were being released in "the interests of openness".

The inquest in the deaths of the princess and Mr Fayed has so far cost 2,885,618.66.

This is being paid for by the Ministry of Justice.

The bulk of the costs have gone on external legal services, IT, video conferencing and site visits.

The figures do not include 187,464 of costs incurred by the Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker and the previous Coroner, Lady Butler-Sloss, up to 30 June 2007.

This would have included lawyers' legal fees for setting up the inquest, plus payments for Lady Butler-Sloss's services.

The separate bill for lawyers representing the police, MI6 and the Al Fayeds have not yet been made public.

In December 2006, the official police inquiry into the crash - led by former Met Commissioner Lord Stevens - found no evidence that the couple were murdered.

The three-year inquiry was launched at the request of Michael Burgess, the Royal Coroner, who was then overseeing the expected Diana inquest.

Lord Stevens investigated allegations that Diana and Dodi were murdered, a theory endorsed by Dodi's father Mohamed al Fayed.

That inquiry, codenamed Operation Paget, cost just under 3.7m.

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