Report on Diana's Death Stirs Surge in Conspiracy Theories

After working for three years, spending $8 million, hearing 1,500 witness statements, examining 20,000 official documents and reconstructing the crash scene, the former London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens has reportedly concluded that there was no murder, no coverup and no conspiracy.

More than nine years after Diana and her lover Dodi Al Fayed were killed in a high-speed car chase in Paris, a 400-page report will be published, which could finally lay to rest conspiracy theories that she was murdered.

Of course, it is unlikely that there will ever be an end to the theorizing. According to a BBC opinion poll, nearly a third of Brits still believe Diana's death was not an accident.

"Nobody wants to think that somebody so gorgeous, so troubled, so interesting could have died such an ordinary death," said Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty Magazine.

In August 1997, the world witnessed an unprecedented public outpouring of grief on the streets of London, but the British public now wants the constant media frenzy to stop.

"There has been so much inconsequential ripple that the public has become punch-drunk," said Max Clifford, Britain's best-known publicist.

The British people are completely bewildered by the inquiry, he said. The majority of Brits have grown apathetic, and they are now praying for peace for the "People's Princess."

Most Brits may hope that the result of the new inquiry will put an end to the many conspiracy theories that have circulated, but the report, which is expected to be released Thursday, seems to be doing quite the reverse. It has fanned more conjecture, and unconfirmed leaks seem to have flooded the media.

Driver Was Three Times Over the Limit

A two-year investigation in France blamed the driver, Henri Paul, for speeding and losing control because he was high on a cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs. It also criticized the paparazzi for pursuing the car.

Yet Mohammed Al Fayed, Dodi's father and owner of the exclusive store Harrods, has claimed the couple was murdered in a probable MI5 plot by the British establishment. He maintains that the chauffeur's blood samples had been switched to portray the driver as drunk in a coverup by the establishment to stop his son Dodi from marrying Diana, who he says was expecting a child.

According to "The Conspiracy Files," a BBC2 documentary, the French authorities carried out new DNA tests on Paul's blood samples after his family said he was sober. The DNA profile was then compared with samples taken from Paul's parents and the two matched, apparently ruling out the possibility of swapped samples.

Diana Was Bugged

It was reported that Lord Stevens would tell the world that U.S. secret agents had bugged Princess Diana's phone the night she died. London's Observer said: "The surveillance arm of the U.S. has admitted listening to her conversations as she stayed at the Ritz hotel, but failed to notify MI6," the U.K.'s security service.

Nobody in the United States is taking responsibility for these allegations.

When contacted by ABC, the U.S. Secret Service said: "We are certain it is not our agency" the British report is referring to.

A spokesman at the CIA said: "The notion that the CIA spied on Princess Diana is ludicrous."

The National Security Agency also released a statement denying any bugging of Diana, saying the agency "did not target Princess Diana's communications."

It is unclear why any of the U.S. agencies would have eavesdropped on Diana'a phone calls, though some in Britain said they don't think it would be out of the question.

"She actually had put herself in a very high-profile political position," Seward said. "I think it probably would be odd if she wasn't being monitored."

For example, Diana was a vocal campaigner for a ban on land mines.

"Perhaps it's that link that made her of interest to outside intelligence services," said Crispin Black, a former British government intelligence analyst. "That doesn't mean it was something sinister."

Driver in Pay of French Intelligence

According to reports, Lord Stevens will also confirm that Diana's driver that night was a French intelligence agent, with the DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire). London newspapers are saying that Stevens traced $200,000 that had amassed in 14 bank accounts, though no payments have been linked to Diana's death.

"If I were an FBI man or a DST man or a MI5 man, I would make sure I had drivers in all the big hotels in the big cities working for me," Black said.

Key Witnesses Not Questioned

The latest in conspiracy theory was reported today in the London Evening Standard, citing members of a French family who witnessed the crash.

They claim that one of the cars left the scene at high speed and a taxi stopped at the entrance to the Alma tunnel, where the crash occurred.

The family said British investigators have never asked them about their firsthand knowledge of what happened.

Inquiry Will Resume in New Year

The report will be carefully studied by royal coroner Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, who is due to reopen formal inquests into the deaths of Diana and Dodi in the new year. She reversed herself last week when she announced that hearings would be public.

Along with the many adoring Diana fans, Mohamed Al Fayed welcomed the decision, saying he "will not tolerate any further attempts being made to sweep dirt under the carpet and conceal the truth."

Meanwhile, Prince William and Prince Harry announced today that they would mark the 10th anniversary of their mother's death with a pop concert.

The princes said the concert, for 90,000 fans, would include Diana's favorite performers from Britain and the United States, including Sir Elton John, who sang a special version of "Candle in the Wind" at Diana's funeral.

Prince William said the main purpose is to celebrate and to have fun; he said he wants the event to "be full of energy, full of the sort of fun and happiness which I know she would have wanted. And on her birthday as well, it's got to be the best birthday present she ever had."