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A FORMER royal coroner last night denied Princess Diana's unborn baby was aborted as she lay dying.

Dr John Burton, who was at the postmortem examination of Diana's body, said: ``She was not pregnant. I have seen inside her womb.''

The coroner, who retired two years ago, said conspiracy theorists used the abortion story to explain the delay in taking Diana's body from the crash site in Paris to the hospital.

Dr Burton said: ``The abortion theory was a new one on me. A British coroner recently told me about it and neither of us could believe it.

``The truth is she was involved in a terrible crash and had major surgery. The French authorities did an excellentjob. This latest theory was the last straw, the story which loosened my tongue.''

Dr Burton's dramatic intervention came after his successor Michael Burgess, opening an inquest into Diana's death, ordered a British police inquiry.

It was revealed yesterday that Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Alan Brown will take charge of the probe.

The first choice named by Scotland Yard, Commander David Armond, will be away on a four-month training course.

Brown led the theft inquiry into royal butler Harold Brown, which was dropped after the collapse of a similar case against Diana's butler Paul Burrell.

Dr Burton said last night claims of a conspiracy to kill Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed were ``rubbish''.

Yesterday, it was revealed Diana had claimed in a note to Burrell that Charleswasplanningtostageacarcrash.

Dr Burton said: ``Dodi and his father had a conversation over which car to take. It was decided to swap drivers and cars. Charles could not have known anything about that.''

Meanwhile, Charles told well-wishers at a breast cancer centre in Hereford: ``It's a difficult time.''

He admitted his suffering after mum Beverley Terry shouted: ``Keep your chin up.''

Beverley said: ``I just can't imagine why he would want to plot to kill the mother of his two boys. It just seems ridiculous.

``Diana was a very troubled woman.''


RUMOURS: Conspiracy theories surround the deaths of Di and Dodi; STRAINED: Charles looked tense yesterday
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 8, 2004
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