BBC pays 'substantial sum' in damages to Princess Diana aide over Martin Bashir interview

17 March 2022, 12:42 | Updated: 17 March 2022, 14:32

The BBC paid out a substantial sum over the 1995 interview
The BBC paid out a substantial sum over the 1995 interview. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The BBC said it has paid a "substantial sum" in damages to Princess Diana's private secretary over its 1995 Martin Bashir interview.

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The corporation also apologised "unreservedly" to Patrick Jephson over the way Martin Bashir obtained his 1995 Panorama interview.

It follows a review of the circumstances that led up to the infamous interview by Lord Dyson, who has held senior judicial positions.

Diana said in the interview there were "three of us in this marriage" with Prince Charles, "so it was a bit crowded".

Earl Spencer, Diana's brother, had alleged that Bashir used false documents to secure the interview, which prompted the probe.

Lord Dyson's report found a "serious breach" of the BBC producer guidelines after faked bank statements were shown to Earl Spencer in order to get access to Diana.

Bashir scandal: BBC 'let Royal Family down', says ex-Ofcom chief

It said in a statement on Thursday: "The BBC and Commander Patrick Jephson have reached a settlement following publication of the Dyson Report.

"Commander Jephson was the Private Secretary to Diana, Princess of Wales. The BBC accepts and acknowledges that serious harm was caused to Commander Jephson as a result of the circumstances in which the 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales was obtained, which have become apparent as a result of the Dyson Report.

"The BBC apologises unreservedly to Commander Jephson for the harm caused to him and has paid his legal costs.

"The BBC has also paid Commander Jephson a substantial sum in damages, which he intends to donate in full to British charities nominated by him."

Mr Jephson said: "After more than twenty-five years, it is a relief finally to reach a conclusion to this painful episode.

"I am grateful to Lord Dyson and the journalists whose tenacity has brought the truth to light, and I now look forward to donating the damages I have been awarded to Ty Hafan, the hospice for children in Wales, in memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales."

Earl Spencer said in a tweet: "The right result - appalling what Patrick Jephson had to go through as a result of grotesque 'journalism'.

"Also terrible that it was covered up for so long by senior people at the ?@BBCNews - there will be more to come out on all this, before long."

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