Martin Bashir disguised himself as a tradesman to interview Princess Diana at Kensington Palace, Panorama reveals
MARTIN Bashir and his film crew disguised themselves as tradesmen to sneak into a royal palace to interview Princess Diana, it's been revealed.
The startling disclosure was made in a Panorama special aired on the BBC tonight after a report found the TV journalist faked bank statements to deceive Diana ahead of her infamous interview with him.
The documentary stated Bashir and his team "slipped into Kensington Palace" dressed as workmen after identifying her brother as a "gateway to the Princess."
Earl Spencer blamed Bashir over her tragic death on tonight's programme saying his "vulnerable" sister was left with no protection when she was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Just two years before, Diana was tricked into sitting down for her explosive interview with "deceitful" Bashir.
Earl Spencer suggested his sister lost faith in those around her after being duped into taking part the BBC scoop after her marriage collapsed.
What the report found:
- Bashir fabricated information to 'deceive' Princess Diana into giving 1995 interview
- He commissioned fake bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer
- Lord Dyson rules Bashir 'acted inappropriately' in serious breach of code
- BBC has admitted 'unacceptable failures' and apologised for 'clear failings'
- The broadcaster 'fell short of what audiences expect' and failed with its 1996 inquiry
- Bashir apologised saying the faking of bank statements was a “an action I deeply regret” but said it had "no bearing" on Diana's decision to do the interview
- Lord Birt, director-general of the BBC at the time, says the BBC "harboured a rogue report" who "fabricated an elaborate, detailed but wholly false account"
- The corporation will be stripped of awards for 1995 Panorama interview
Speaking to the BBC for the Panorama special, he said: "The irony is I met Martin Bashir on the 31st August 1995 because exactly two years later she died and I do draw a line between the two events.
"It's quite clear from the introduction I sat in on on the 19th September 1995 everybody was going to be made untrustworthy and I think Diana did lose trust in really key people.
"This is a young girl in her mid 30s who has lived this extraordinarily difficult and turbulent time in the public eye – she didn't know who to trust – and in the end when she died two years later, she was without any form of real protection."
A damning report today found "rogue reporter" Bashir faked bank statements and used "deceitful behaviour" to trick Diana into giving the infamous interview.
And it revealed the BBC "without justification" had "covered up" Bashir's sensational lies.
Earl Spencer told previously how Bashir used the forged bank statements to convince Diana to do the interview.
He said the papers wrongly showed two senior courtiers were being paid by the security services for information on his sister.
The false documents also gave the impression associates of the royal family were selling stories to newspapers.
Diana's brother said if he hadn't seen the bank statements he would not have made the introduction and the scoop wouldn't have happened.
Bashir's lies are blamed for fuelling Diana’s fears about her safety and privacy.
The journalist was accused of ordering a graphic artist to fake two bank statements to obtain the interview after Diana and Prince Charles' divorce.
An ex-employee of Princess Diana’s brother complained to police he was named in fake documents allegedly used to gain access to her.
Alan Waller, who worked for Earl Spencer in security, said the papers falsely suggested he got money from newspapers and the security forces for snooping on Diana.
The tragic princess sat down with the then-unknown journalist in 1995, famously revealing: "There were three of us in this marriage".
She also admitted to her infidelity with Army captain James Hewitt, and questioned Charles’s suitability as king.
Responding to the report, Bashir said today: "This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago.
"I apologised then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret.
"But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently."
Former BBC director-general Lord Hall investigated Mr Bashir in 1996 after questions were first raised over how he secured the bombshell interview with Diana.
He said today he accepts the original inquiry into the interview "fell well short of what was required" and he was "wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt".
Lord Hall added: "I have read Lord Dyson's report, and I accept that our investigation 25 years ago into how Panorama secured the interview with Princess Diana fell well short of what was required. In hindsight, there were further steps we could and should have taken following complaints about Martin Bashir's conduct.
"I was wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt, basing that judgement as I did on what appeared to be deep remorse on his part. Throughout my 35-year career at the BBC, I have always acted in ways I believe were fair, impartial and with the public interest front and centre.
"While Lord Dyson does not criticise my integrity, I am sorry that our investigation failed to meet the standards that were required."
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