Princess Diana’s pal says she'd still be alive today if it wasn't for Martin Bashir interview

PRINCESS Diana would still be alive today if she had not been “conned” into speaking to Martin Bashir, her pal has sensationally claimed.

Simone Simmons says the 1995 BBC Panorama interview, with its “three of us in the marriage” comment, led to Diana’s divorce from Charles before her tragic car crash.

She claims Bashir poisoned the princess with lies — insisting her phones were bugged and staff were selling stories — to win her trust.

At 2pm today retired Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson, 77, will publish the findings of an independent inquiry into how Bashir, 58, obtained his scoop.

Spiritual healer Simone, 61, has given evidence to the inquiry which also looked at whether the journalist used forged bank statements to convince Diana’s brother Earl Spencer to persuade her to appear.

Simone told The Sun: “Diana was conned into doing the programme, and it wasn’t just forged bank documents.

“I was there the first time Martin Bashir was at Kensington Palace.

“She had a lot of information on the table about her charities because she was led to believe Martin Bashir was doing an interview about them.

“She came in very excited and said ‘Simone, he is going to do a programme about my charities, isn’t that wonderful’. I thought it was brilliant.

“But as time went on nothing transpired and we all know what happened. He lied to her. He said her home was bugged and phones were tapped.

“He was an out and out b*****d. He destroyed her psychologically and made her paranoid — saying the royals wanted to bump her off and distrust her loyal staff and friends.

“We nicknamed Martin Bashir the Poison Dwarf. The interview led to her divorce and losing her HRH titles.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Diana would still be alive today if she hadn’t spoken to Bashir.

“I hope they throw the book at him. Justice should be done.”

Simone claims the princess was so in thrall of Bashir she used him to help heal her relationship with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

She says Bashir’s remarks about bugged phones led Diana to contact British Telecom.

Simone also says she and Di were on their hands and knees looking for non- existent microphones in plug sockets.

And she claims Diana sacked her driver on false claims he was leaking information to the Press.

Prince Andrew’s then-wife Sarah Ferguson and comedienne Ruby Wax had also persuaded Diana to do the interview, Simone claims.

In the November 1995 programme, watched by 23million, Diana described her affair with former Army officer James Hewitt, saying she adored him.

She aired doubts about Charles becoming king and spoke about his infidelity with Camilla, saying: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

Diana’s eldest son Prince William, 13 at the time, has welcomed the six-month investigation which will establish whether Bashir breached BBC guidelines.

It is claimed Bashir asked graphic designer Matt Wiessler to mock up bank statements showing fake payments from a newspaper and from an offshore company going into a bank account of a firm owned by Earl Spencer’s former head of security.

Last night Mr Wiessler told ITV that Bashir asked him to create two statements in October 1995 — but did not tell him what the work was for.

He said: “I got a phone call from Martin Bashir and he wanted me to do a favour for him and it was really urgent and really important.

“Martin said that they really, really, really had to be done by the morning as he needed them at Heathrow Terminal Two.

“He said: ‘I need to show them to someone’. It’s almost like he was inventing it as he was going along.”

Mr Wiessler said he started to become suspicious because one of the names used on the documents had appeared in previous Panoramas.

He added: “All I want is for the BBC to come forward and honestly make an apology because it has had a huge impact.”

Lord Dyson has also been investigating whether BBC execs concealed wrongdoing.

His report was delivered to Corporation top brass last Friday.

A Panorama report into the Bashir interview was postponed until tonight and will be shown on BBC1.

In March, Scotland Yard said it would not conduct a criminal inquiry.

Bashir stepped down as the BBC’s religion editor last weekend.

The BBC has acknowledged that he admitted commissioning mocked-up bank documents. But Bashir has said they played no part in securing the Panorama interview.

The Corporation has backed Bashir, relying on a note from Diana in which it says she acknowledged the journalist did not coerce her.

Prince William did not comment last night.

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