SAS launches internal inquiry over sensational claim that elite regiment was behind deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 29, 2013
- Claim made by SAS sniper came to light in letter linked to Nightingale trial
- Regiment fears that outlandish allegation could harm its reputation
- Investigation launched into why vulnerable soldier was not dealt with
By HUGO GYE
The SAS has launched a probe into how claims that it was involved with Princess Diana’s death were made public, it emerged today.
Earlier this month an SAS sniper accused the service of assassinating Diana in 1997 and then covering up its actions, sparking a fresh round of conspiracy theories.
Military chiefs are now apparently investigating how the claim came to be made public amidst fears it could harm the reputation of the SAS.
The allegation that the service helped to kill Diana and her lover Dodi Al Fayed in a car crash in Paris surfaced in a letter linked to the trial of former sniper Danny Nightingale.
The document was written by the mother-in-law of ‘Soldier N’, Nightingale’s housemate, in September 2011 and sent to military prosecutors.
It came to the attention of the Metropolitan Police this month, and officers are now examining the information to see whether there is anything which merits investigation.
But Army bosses are said to be angry that the SAS has been dragged in to the controversy over Diana’s death, which has continued for more than a decade despite the official finding that the death was an accident.
A source close to General Sir Peter Wall, head of the Army, told the Daily Express that the incident was ‘the most embarrassing and potentially damaging event in the regiment’s 70-year history’.
The SAS is supposed to operate in secrecy, so any public discussion of the unit’s activities is likely to be poorly received by top brass.
In addition, officials are said to be investigating how Soldier N was handled around the time he made the allegation about Diana in a conversation with his wife.
‘This whole mess was all entirely preventable,’ a source told the Express. ‘All the warning signs were there but were ignored.
‘Instead of dealing with Soldier N’s family issues he was sent to Afghanistan for six months. This is a problem of the SAS’s own making.’
The letter containing the claim – which was censored to remove all explicit references to the SAS – was written by Soldier N’s mother-in-law, who claimed that he had threatened his wife during an acrimonious break-up.
‘He also told her that it was the XXX who arranged Princess Diana’s death and that has been covered up,’ it read.
Dodi’s father, Mohammed Al Fayed, has called for police to investigate the new evidence fully, while the family of driver Henri Paul, who also died in the accident, said it supported their theory that the couple were murdered.
Soldier N was jailed for illegally storing firearms at the house in Hereford which he shared with Nightingale.
Last month, Nightingale was convicted of illegally possessing a pistol which he allegedly took from Iraq as a ‘trophy’ and sentenced to two years in prison.
The SAS has suffered a number of public-relations setbacks this year, including the deaths last month of three Territorial Army volunteers training to join the service.