United Kingdom

Fury as Scotland Yard refuses to take action on Martin Bashir about TV chat with Princess Diana

Scotland Yard faced fury yesterday after refusing to investigate claims of criminality over Martin Bashir's Diana interview.

The BBC religious affairs editor allegedly faked bank statements to trick the princess into taking part in the infamous 1995 Panorama broadcast.

A lawyer for her brother Earl Spencer's ex-head of security, Alan Waller, made an official complaint to Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick in January alleging potential fraud by Mr Bashir.

He accused the former Panorama journalist of 'dishonest conduct' and said the BBC had 'benefited' while aware his actions were 'unlawful'. But yesterday, after spending three months assessing the claims, police announced no further action.

The decision was described as a 'farce' by a former head of royal protection, who said many unanswered questions remain.

Scotland Yard faced fury yesterday after refusing to investigate claims of criminality over Martin Bashir's Diana interview in 1995

The BBC religious affairs editor allegedly faked bank statements to trick the princess into taking part in the infamous 1995 Panorama broadcast

Unanswered questions 

1) How extensive was the police assessment? 

2) Did officers speak to Mr Bashir? If so, what was the outcome? 

3) Did they obtain witness statements from the complainant – and from those wrongly accused of treachery? 

4) Did they speak to Lord Hall and other senior BBC individuals as to their roles in the affair? 

5) Did they treat Matt Wiessler (who forged bank statements) as a witness or a suspect?

6) Have they taken Earl Spencer’s original notes on Mr Bashir?

7) What if any liaison has there been with Lord Dyson and his team? Has he found any evidence of criminality?

It can now be revealed the same senior officer involved in the decision announced yesterday also ruled out another controversial investigation relating to a royal.

Commander Alex Murray came under fire in 2019 for not pursuing Virginia Roberts' claims she was trafficked to Britain by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew. The prince has denied Miss Roberts' claims. 

Yesterday the commander said legal advice was sought from the Crown Prosecution Service and independent lawyers before it was decided not to launch an official probe.

Mr Bashir has previously admitted ordering Matt Wiessler, a freelance graphic artist paid by the BBC, to mock up bank statements ahead of a meeting with Earl Spencer. 

The statements purported to show that Mr Waller was in the pay of tabloid journalists and a shadowy company linked to the security services.

Earl Spencer has said the documents were key in persuading him to provide an introduction between Mr Bashir and his sister, leading to the exclusive interview which caused shock waves around the world when Diana spoke about her husband's infidelity. 

In the letter of complaint, Mr Waller's barrister, Anton van Dellen, said: 'I write in relation to the actions of two BBC employees or agents for whom the BBC were vicariously liable, with very serious concerns that they have committed a criminal act, namely conspiracy to create an instrument of fraud.'

A lawyer for her brother Earl Spencer's ex-head of security, Alan Waller, made an official complaint to Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick in January alleging potential fraud by Mr Bashir

Yesterday ex-royal protection head Dai Davies said: 'I'm absolutely flabbergasted there was not enough basic evidence of forgery and fraud here. It beggars belief.'

The BBC has appointed retired judge Lord Dyson to lead an inquiry to discover what steps the BBC and Mr Bashir took to land the interview. 

Last night it was unclear what impact the Met's decision will have on his probe and whether he has separately considered any evidence of criminality.

Yesterday Commander Murray said that following a detailed assessment 'we have determined it is not appropriate to begin a criminal investigation'. 

Mr Bashir is off sick having had heart bypass surgery following a coronavirus diagnosis. His agent did not reply to a request for comment.

Football news:

Werner pro 1-0 with City: The best teams in England played. If Chelsea win the trophy, the season is a success
Tuchel on Guardiola and City: Chelsea deserved to win over the best coach and one of the best teams
Guardiola on de Bruyne's injury: It doesn't look good. He is in pain
Thomas Mueller: Flick didn't explain his decision, but neither should he. He spent a lot of energy for 1.5 years
Guardiola on 0:1 with Chelsea: It is not easy to beat a team that defends itself in the third
Tuchel on the victory over Man City: A very strong Chelsea game. Proud
Four Monaco players were infected with the coronavirus before the match with Bordeaux. Golovin - in the application for the game