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Diana inquiry costs exceed 12m

15 April 08 17:04 GMT

The cost of the investigation into the death of Princess Diana has topped £12.5m, new figures show.

The coroner's inquest reached £4.5m, with a further £8m spent on the Metropolitan Police investigation.

The inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, who died in a 1997 Paris car crash, lasted more than three months and heard from 250 witnesses.

The jury returned verdicts of unlawful killing. A BBC poll found 78% of people thought the inquest a waste of money.

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The jury found that Diana and Mr Al Fayed were the victims of "gross negligence" by driver Henri Paul and the paparazzi.

Figures collected by the inquest's press office showed the bill for the investigation included £1.85m for lawyers' fees, running costs of £768,000 with video conferencing and special visits totalled £703,000.

The £8m bill incurred by the Metropolitan Police included legal representation for the force's commissioner at the inquest and police protection for the jury.

Also included in the £8m was the cost of the Operation Paget investigation from 2004 to 2006, which was estimated to have racked up expenses of about £3.6m.

In one set of expenses, public money was used for an official to be flown to Los Angeles to collect a tape of a telephone conversation involving Dodi and his ex-girlfriend, Kelly Fisher.

The final figure will rise higher than £12.5m as the hearing's last few days have not yet been included in the total and neither have legal bills for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and MI6.

Last week's survey for BBC Two's Newsnight found only 19% of those questioned thought the truth was worth the money it cost to uncover it.

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