Joined: 13 Feb 2006
|Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:36 am Post subject: Now Met high-flier joins Diana probe that keeps growing
|Now Met high-flier joins Diana probe that keeps growing
Daily Express Weekend
15 September 2006
By John Twomey
‘He’s an extremely capable officer’ ‘This is a key appointment’
ONE of Britain’s most senior detectives – known as Scotland Yard’s top troubleshooter – is being drafted into the Princess Diana inquiry.
John Yates, who will soon interview Tony Blair over the cash-for-peerages scandal, is expected to be appointed within the next few days.
Mr Yates will become the highest-ranking serving Metropolitan Police officer in the Diana investigation, which is headed by former Commissioner Lord Stevens.
TOP TEAM: Troubleshooter John Yates, left, and Lord Stevens cal time in the investigation following the resignation of royal coroner Michael Burgess in July.
He has been brought in to cast his expert eye over what has become a mounting pile of evidence and witness statements in an increasingly complex inquiry to find the truth about the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed.
Mr Yates, who joined the Met in 1981, takes over the supervisory role carried out by Assistant Commissioner Alan Brown.
Mr Brown will leave the force next week after 32 years to take up a £250,000-a-year job as head of security at Tesco.
The operational head of the Diana inquiry, Detective Chief Superintendent David Douglas, will report to Mr Yates when the mammoth, £4million inquiry is completed. Mr Yates’s appointment comes at a critiband
The long-awaited inquest into Diana’s death is now in the hands of former High Court judge Dame Elizabeth ButlerSloss.
She will read the report compiled by Lord Stevens and the 12- strong squad of officers engaged on Operation Paget.
Dame Elizabeth will have to sift through an estimated 20,000 documents and 1,500 witness statements to get to grips with the complexities of the case.
The appointments of Dame Elizabeth and Mr Yates are seen as steadying influences.
A senior source said: “John Yates is a highly respected and extremely capable officer who will be an asset to the Diana investigation.
“His role will be a supervisory one as the operational end of the inquiry is in the hands of David Douglas. But this is an important appointment and needed someone of the calibre of John Yates to succeed Alan Brown.”
There is growing speculation that Mr Yates will be recommended for promotion to Assistant Commissioner after he is formally appointed.
He has huge experience of complicated cases.
His most famous case involved Diana’s turncoat butler Paul Burrell, who went back on his public vow never to cash in on her memory by writing two volumes of memoirs.
Burrell was cleared at the Old Bailey in 2002 of plundering 310 personal items from Diana, Prince Charles and Prince William.
FEARS: Diana thought she might die in a crash
His acquittal came after the Queen suddenly recalled a brief conversation with Burrell which fundamentally undermined the prosecution case against him. Following the acquittal of the butler a rigorous review was carried out into the way the Met handled the Burrell inquiry, and this ended with Scotland Yard being exonerated.
Mr Yates also headed a police team reviewing the mistaken shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in south London in July last year.
He examined how the Met could minimise the risks of a similar tragedy happening in the future.
As part of the Diana investigation, Lord Stevens interviewed Prince Charles over a letter Diana is said to have written to Burrell 10 months before her death.
Burrell claimed the Princess expressed fears that her huswanted to see her dead in a car crash.
Operation Paget officers have questioned senior officers of the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) about the activities of British agents in Paris.
Dodi’s father, Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed, is convinced the British Establishment was responsible for the deaths of Diana, his son and driver Henri Paul.
An investigation by French officials concluded that Mr Paul was high on drink and prescription drugs when he crashed the black Mercedes in the Pont de L’Alma underpass on August 31, 1997.
Diana, Princess of Wales is and always will be The People's Princess.