Driver Henri Paul and paparazzi share the blame for the manslaughter of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed, the jury at their inquest concluded today.
The panel returned joint verdicts of unlawful killing through grossly negligent driving – or gross negligence manslaughter – 10-and-a-half years after the Paris crash in which Diana, Mr Fayed and Mr Paul died.
After sitting through evidence from 278 witnesses from across the world, the jury of six women and five men took four days to reach the majority decisions.
The three were killed when Mr Paul crashed a hired Mercedes into a pillar in the Alma underpass in Paris in the early hours of August 31 1997.
The jury heard compelling evidence that he had been drinking that night and was driving at twice the speed limit for the road when he crashed.
They also concluded however that the photographers and their drivers were recklessly “racing” the Mercedes and drove so close to it that Mr Paul had no freedom to move.
The combined manslaughter verdict represents an emphatic rejection of conspiracy theories promoted by Mr Paul’s employer Mohamed al Fayed.
Mr al Fayed has long believed that the Duke of Edinburgh and MI6 murdered the couple through a staged crash, but even his own legal team abandoned that position.
Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker ruled out the possibility of concluding that the couple were murdered, because of insufficient evidence.
He did leave the jurors the option of an open verdict however, something which might have been taken as an indication they believed there was some merit the conspiracy claims.
The verdicts raise questions over the conclusions of earlier proceedings in France in which paparazzi were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Other than motorcyclist Stephane Darmon, all of the paparazzi and their drivers who were present that night refused to give evidence to the High Court inquest.
As they remained in France, the coroner had no power to compel them to testify even by video link and the French government actively refused to force them.
In the end, the coroner had a series of statements which were taken from the paparazzi during the earlier French investigation read to the jury.
He issued a warning that their evidence had not been tested in court, however.
The jury saw receipts from the Ritz Hotel showing that Mr Paul ordered two double shots of Ricard spirit shortly before taking to the wheel.
There was also first-hand evidence that he was seen in a nearby bar earlier that night and medical evidence that he was on Prozac and had a drink problem unknown to friends and family.
The jury was not swayed by question marks over blood samples showing that Mr Paul was three times the French drink-drive limit when he crashed.
The jury also specified that Mr Paul's drink-driving and the fact that neither Mr Fayed nor Diana were wearing seatbelts contributed to their deaths.
There was laughter in court as the coroner rose to leave before turning around to tell the jury that they would be excused jury service for the rest of their lives.
He thanked them for their “considerable devotion” to duty over the past six months and said it was “almost astonishing” that they had been present on every day without having any absences.
The inquest has been sitting for 93 days.
Mr al Fayed left court with a face of thunder and disappeared into a consultation room on the same floor with his entourage.
He was joined shortly later by Michael Mansfield QC.
Once of his entourage said he would not be making a statement immediately.
Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale left court at 4.50pm and got into a waiting black car without commenting to the waiting press.
She ignored members of the public who were clearly al Fayed supporters, shouting: “It is an MI5 cover-up.”