The man in charge of London’s Metropolitan Police at the time of Princess Diana’s death was today accused of having deliberately concealed evidence relating to her death.
Representing Mohammed al-Fayed at the inquest into the Princess’s death, Michael Mansfield QC suggested that the former Metropolitan Police commissioner, deliberately covered up evidence because he knew Diana had been killed by the activities of “British state agencies”.
In response the former Metropolitan Police chief, Lord Condon said the accusation was “abhorrent” and “disgusting”.
The extraordinary exchange happened during cross-examination at Diana’s inquest about the so-called “Mishcon Note”.
The document records a meeting with Lord Mishcon, Diana’s lawyer, in 1995 at which she spoke of fears that somebody would arrange a car crash for her.
The lawyer, who has since died, handed the letter to Lord Condon 18 days after the 1997 crash in Paris in which Diana was killed together with Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.
The letter was not passed on to Michael Burgess, the Royal Coroner, until 2003 after a similar letter was made public by Paul Burrell, Diana’s former butler, the jury were told.
Mr Mansfield put it to Lord Condon that he had a legal duty as early as 1997 to pass on anything “germane” to the case to the relevant coroner.
He continued: “I’m going to make it plain to you, Lord Condon, that the reason why potentially relevant material was not handed to the coroner immediately and in fact not at all, until Paul Burrell put his letter in the public domain … was that you were sitting on it knowing that something had gone wrong in Paris linked to the work of British state agencies.”
The coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker interrupted asking: “You are suggesting, are you, that Lord Condon was part of a criminal conspiracy?” Mr Mansfield said: “Yes.”
Lord Condon replied: “That is about the most serious allegation that could ever be made of someone in my position and I totally refute it as a blatant lie.”
He continued: “I find the suggestion, though I respect your right to raise it, as totally abhorrent, offensive and would actually mean that I’m a murderer in essence, part of a murderous conspiracy.”
He went on: “I find that a disgusting suggestion, I know why you have to raise it, but I am on oath, my whole life has been conducted to telling the truth on this sort of issue and I can swear on oath to the jury that that is a blatant lie.
“There is not one iota of truth in what Mr Mansfield is suggesting.”
Nonetheless, it should be noted that Lord Condon was made a life peer in 2001, and that prior to this he had likely been a Freemason – membership of the Masons being a prerequisite for promotion in the higher ranks of the British police.
Which begs the question: did senior masons request that Lord Condon bury the evidence, as he did, and was he awarded the title and privileges of a life peer in reward?