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World News

Diana's butler took ring off her body - court

LONDON (Reuters) - Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell took an engagement ring off her dead body, Burrell’s former bodyguard told the inquest into her death on Monday.

Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell poses for photographers at the High Court in London in this January 14, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty/Files

Michael Faux also said that the former royal butler kept documents with a Buckingham Palace letterhead and then burnt them in his back garden.

“I was disgusted with him,” Faux told the inquest investigating the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi al-Fayed in a high-speed Paris car crash in August 1997.

Faux, who worked for Burrell for a year in 2003, said the butler told him that he had removed the ring: “He took it off the body in Paris.”

Asked in court if Burrell had any way of demonstrating this was Diana’s ring, Faux replied: “Yes, there was still blood on the ring and he could prove it was her by the DNA.”

Faux said he thought it was not right that Burrell had taken it off her finger.

The former bodyguard also said of Burrell: “I saw him going to and from his house with bin bags full of paperwork that he was taking into his garden to burn and he was making sure that it was thoroughly burned.”

Faux said he noticed some of the documents carried a Buckingham Palace letterhead.

In a statement to the court, Burrell has denied ever having any conversation about a ring.

Burrell has admitted burning papers such as old bank statements but insisted he did not destroy anything significant.

Dodi’s father Mohamed, owner of Harrods department store, alleges his son and Diana were killed by British security forces on the orders of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband and Diana’s former father-in-law.

French and British police investigations have both concluded that Diana and Dodi died in an accident caused by their driver who was drunk and speeding. Both inquiries rejected al-Fayed’s conspiracy theories.

Under British law, an inquest is needed to determine the cause of death when someone dies unnaturally. The hearing is expected to end early next month.

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