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Diana death inquest jury mulls verdict

  • Story Highlights
  • Jury mulls verdict into deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed
  • Coroner said no evidence UK secret service involved with Diana's death
  • Jurors can decide if Diana, Dodi Fayed died due to accident or negligence
  • Fayed's father alleges couple targeted by conspiracy directed by Prince Philip
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A jury is considering its verdict into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed more than 10 years after the car crash in Paris that killed them.

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Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997.

Lord Justice Scott Baker told the jurors to take as long as they needed to weigh up the evidence from the six-month-long inquest. "There is no pressure of time," Baker told jurors as they retired Wednesday.

One of the last questions Baker told the jury to consider was whether Diana and Fayed would have lived if they were wearing seat belts and whether Diana would have survived had she been taken to the hospital faster.

Summing up in the inquest Monday, Baker said there was "no evidence" that the British secret service -- or any other government agency -- had anything to do with the crash, as Fayed's father has alleged. Photo See gallery of images related to Diana inquest. »

He told jurors they had the option of deciding that Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed died as the result of an accident, gross negligence by driver Henri Paul or the paparazzi following their car.

He said many allegations made by Fayed's father Mohamed Al Fayed were "so demonstrably without foundation" that even his lawyer was no longer pursuing them.

Fayed, who owns London's Harrods department store, alleges that the British government had a hand in the car crash that killed Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. Yet Baker said his assertions "are not being pursued because there is not a shred of evidence to support them."

"Foremost among them is the proposition that Diana was assassinated by the secret intelligence service (MI6) on the orders of the Duke of Edinburgh" -- Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Scott Baker said it was not open to the jury to find that Philip or anyone else had staged the crash.

Al Fayed rejected the coroner's statement. "It is terrible," he said as he emerged from the Royal Courts of Justice. "It's all biased."

The inquest is the official British inquiry into the deaths of the princess and Fayed in a Paris car crash August 31, 1997, while they were fleeing paparazzi photographers. It began October 2 and has already cost more than $6 million of taxpayers' money.

More than 240 witnesses have given evidence since last October, including Diana's close friends, Prince Philip's private secretary, a former head of the Secret Intelligence Service and Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell.

The inquest takes account of the findings of French and British police, which conducted separate investigations into the crash. Both police investigations found the crash was an accident.

Some witnesses reported seeing a white Fiat Uno shortly before the fatal crash, which also killed and driver Henri Paul. The car has never been traced.

Photographer James Andanson owned a white Fiat Uno, and there have long been questions about whether it was his car that hit the Mercedes.

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Adding to the mystery, Andanson was found dead in a burned-out car two years after the crash, leading conspiracy theorists to say he was part of the murder plot and was "assassinated" to cover up his role.

Mohamed Al Fayed testified at the inquest in February that he believed Andanson was paid by Britain's MI6 -- the Secret Intelligence Service -- to cause the crash with his Fiat. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Princess DianaDodi Al-FayedRoyaltyJames Bond

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