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British Judge Presiding Over Diana Inquest Announces Plans to Step Down


The retired British judge presiding over the long-delayed inquest into the 1997 death of Princess Diana says she is stepping down.

Judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss announced her resignation Tuesday, following a high court ruling earlier this year that the inquest should be viewed and its findings decided by a jury, rather than a single judge.

Butler-Sloss said she does not believe she has the experience necessary in jury proceedings to preside over the hearings, which are set to begin in October. Another judge is expected to take over the case in June.

The jury is expected to hear hours of testimony and review detailed evidence gathered by French and British authorities in the aftermath of Diana's death in a car crash in Paris. The evidence includes statements about Diana's alleged fears for her life.

Diana and companion Dodi Fayed were killed along with driver Henri Paul when their Mercedes crashed in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997. A French probe ruled that Paul was legally drunk and lost control of the car at high speed. A three-year British probe, triggered by accusations from Fayed's father, showed no evidence of any murder conspiracy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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