Andrew Neil claims Bashir started 'chain' that led to Diana's death

Andrew Neil claims Martin Bashir started ‘chain of events’ that led to Diana’s death after ‘paranoid’ princess got rid of her security following Panorama interview

  • Neil said Bashir ‘fed [Diana’s] paranoia’ which led to her getting rid of security 
  • Two years after infamous 1995 interview the princess died in a Paris car crash 
  • Said journalist ‘set in chain a series of events… which led to that night in Paris’

Veteran journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil has claimed Martin Bashir set off a ‘series of events’ that led to Princess Diana’s death by using ‘subterfuge, fraud and forgery’ to obtain his controversial 1995 Panorama interview.

The 71-year-old, who spent 25 years working for the BBC, said Bashir ‘fed [Diana’s] paranoia’ which led to her getting rid of her security teams, leaving Neil in ‘no doubt’ this led to her death.

Neil said he was surprised that Bashir – who ‘wasn’t a household name’ – had managed to secure the 1995 interview – two years before Diana’s death in Paris – but thought ‘good luck to him’. 

Andrew Neil, who spent 25 years working for the BBC, said Bashir ‘fed her paranoia’ during the build-up to his infamous interview with Diana (pictured) 

‘We now know he got that by subterfuge, by fraud and forgery,’ he told the How to Change the World podcast. 

‘By calling Diana and her brother, by telling huge lies about how the Palace establishment was out to get her, that her bodyguards were feeding information, some of them were being paid by the tabloids to send stories, and this all fed her paranoia.

‘She was already thinking that ‘all the Royal Family is out to get me’ and had become distanced.

‘And it was a consequence of all these things Martin Bashir told her – sometimes backed up with seemingly important documents which turned out to be forged – that made her in the end get rid of her security, get rid of any support she got from the Palace or the royal support system.’

Neil said he was concerned to see Diana shed her official security in the lead-up to her death. At the time he had just stopped editing the Sunday Times and was contributing to the Daily Mail, as well as appearing on the BBC. 

He said: ‘I saw her at lunch in 1996 I think it was. She had no security at all which really quite amazed me.

‘I had more security during the Wapping Dispute, she had none at all and she drove away on her own as well at the end of our lunch.

‘And then Dodi Fayed comes along. Dodi Fayed, son of Mohamed Al-Fayed the billionaire owner of Harrod’s.

‘I used to consult with Mohamed Al-Fayed. At one stage he had 80 security people on his payroll. We used to travel in a convoy that was bigger than the Prime Minister’s.

‘Suddenly, he’s able to offer all this to her, she’s now on her own and she gets all of this probably even bigger security than she had under the British security services.

‘That’s what led to the attraction with Dodi Fayed – though I don’t think it ever would have gone anywhere.’

Speaking on the ‘How To Change The World’ podcast, Neil (pictured) admitted he was surprised when Bashir landed the 1995 interview, two years before her death in Paris

Neil said the new set-up was partly responsible for her death, adding: ‘It ended up in that fateful night at the Ritz where, if she had still had been under the control of British security a number of things would never have happened.

‘She would probably never have been allowed to leave the Ritz hotel on her own, if she had she would not have been driven at 90mph through a tunnel and, even if she had, the driver would not have been drunk because it would have been British security and we know they’re among the best in the world.

‘I’m not saying that Martin Bashir caused it or anything like that, but I’m afraid he set in chain a series of events, that from what he told her to that night in Paris, led to her death. I’m in no doubt about that.

‘Patrick Jephson, her then private secretary, one of the people that he [Bashir] bad mouthed to her so that she eventually fired him, he thinks the same and he’s obviously a lot closer to it than I am.’

It comes after claims Bashir also ‘forged’ Government document to try to secure an interview with Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot dead a teenage burglar. 

Mr Martin, now 75, was jailed for life in 2000 after he killed Fred Barras, 16, and wounded his accomplice Brendan Fearon, then 29.

The case gripped Britain and sparked a national debate over homeowners’ rights.

During the interview, Diana (pictured) infamously said ‘there are three of us in this marriage’ 

Earlier this week Mr Martin’s solicitor Nick Makin revealed the methods he claims Mr Bashir used before securing an interview with his client.

According to the lawyer, Mr Bashir told him Government figures wanted to block an appeal against the farmer’s murder conviction.

Mr Bashir allegedly tried to prove the conspiracy by producing what he claimed was a secret memo between Government departments, which outlined a plan to ‘interfere with the judiciary’ and keep Mr Martin behind bars.

Mr Makin told how he believed at the time that the heavily redacted document was a forgery.

He said he thought Mr Bashir was trying to gain his confidence to get an interview with Mr Martin in prison.

The claim has a striking similarity to the way Mr Bashir showed forged bank statements to Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer so he could be introduced to her.

Earl Spencer said Mr Bashir peddled 32 lies about royals and courtiers supposedly betraying Diana to newspapers and MI5, to draw the princess into his confidence.

Mr Bashir was making special documentaries and features for ITV’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald when Mr Martin was jailed.

Mr Makin told the Mail: ‘Bashir telephoned me unsolicited and asked me if I was aware that there was Government interference in the case and that the Government was trying to persuade the judiciary not to allow the appeal.

‘I told him that I neither understood what he was saying and frankly didn’t believe it. I questioned him about it, but he was very insistent.

‘He then asked if we could have lunch in London so he could show me something.’

It comes after claims Bashir also ‘forged’ Government document to try to secure an interview with Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot dead a teenage burglar (they are seen together in 2003) 

Mr Makin, who is based in Leicestershire, said he agreed to meet Mr Bashir at the Quality Chop House restaurant in Farringdon, close to the ITV studios, when he was in London on business.

He said: ‘Over lunch he told me that he wanted to have an interview with Tony Martin.

‘He claimed that he was trusted by high up people in the Government as a result of his Diana interview, and tried to assure me that the Government wanted to interfere with the judiciary.

‘I thought it was bizarre and I could not see what his reliance on his Diana interview had to do with Tony Martin.

‘He produced a document which purported to be an interdepartmental Government document or memo containing words to the effect that the Government wanted to make an example of Tony Martin and keep him in jail.

‘The names on it were not names that I instantly recognised and the wording of it was not what you would expect. I took a look at the bit of paper and I frankly didn’t believe it, and he ended up taking it away. I thought the whole thing was incredible. I felt it was a lie and I perceived it as a lie…

‘He was basically trying to steal a leap on the other press and TV who were also trying to speak to Tony Martin. I thought Bashir was a nasty piece of work.’

Mr Makin, who stopped representing Mr Martin before his appeal, said he ‘was not at all surprised’ about the forgeries shown to Earl Spencer.

His agent did not respond to a request for comment. 

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