British police rule out new probe into Diana interview

A report found Martin Bashir deceived Diana's brother into helping to arrange the interview

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama. (Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

London's police force on Wednesday said it would not launch a criminal investigation into a former BBC reporter's deception to secure a 1995 interview with Princess Diana.

An independent report in May concluded that Martin Bashir had deceived Diana's brother into helping to arrange the interview, in which she spoke candidly about her troubled marriage to Prince Charles.

But the Metropolitan Police said it had earlier deemed it "not appropriate" to investigate claims of illegal activity, and upheld that view after reviewing the latest report.

It said it had "not identified evidence that constituted a criminal offence and will therefore be taking no further action".

In the report, senior judge John Dyson concluded that Bashir commissioned fake bank statements falsely suggesting some of Diana's closest aides were being paid by the security services to keep tabs on her.

He showed them to Earl Spencer in a successful bid to earn their trust and land the sensational interview, in which Diana admitted adultery with a former army officer, James Hewitt, and detailed Charles's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

"There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," Diana told Bashir in the programme, which was watched by a UK audience of nearly 23 million people.

The couple formally divorced in 1996. Diana died in a high-speed car crash in Paris the following year, aged 36.

Charles, the heir to the throne, married Camilla in a civil ceremony in 2005.

Diana and Charles's sons, princes William and Harry, both severely criticised Bashir and the BBC for their conduct, saying it contributed to her death.

Bashir has apologised but maintained that Diana was eager to speak out and he should not be held responsible for subsequent events, including her death.

He stepped down from his role as BBC religion editor, claiming ill health, hours before Mr Dyson's report was published.

Tony Hall, who was the BBC's director of news at the time of the interview, also quit as chair of Britain's National Gallery.

Updated: September 16th 2021, 12:45 AM