Martin Bashir has been accused of using illicit methods to secure his history-changing interview with Princess Diana (Image: PA)
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Calls grew last night for a police investigation into the sorry saga surrounding Panorama’s Princess Diana interview.
Matt Wiessler, the graphic designer who says he was asked to produce fake bank documents by Martin Bashir, said he would support an investigation.
And a former top cop backed moves for a full police probe.
Wiessler, 58, says he had no idea what the alleged NatWest fakes were for – or that Bashir, 57, would show them to Di’s brother Earl Spencer.
When asked if he would be supportive of a police investigation, Wiessler said: “Yeah. If Martin went off and used it as a document to dupe people.
“I copied documents Martin said existed. He couldn’t show them to me on the night. That responsibility is his.
“That should all be put to him.”
Wiessler was axed by the BBC, while Bashir was given just a ticking off.
Matt Wiessler backs a formal police probe in to how Martin Bashir secured his interview with Princess Diana
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The reporter – who has had coronavirus – has yet to respond to allegations that he tricked Spencer into introducing him to Diana.
The TV interview – in which Di spoke of her affair with James Hewitt, bulimia and self harm – was seen by 23 million people and changed the Royal Family forever.
She also spoke about Prince Charles’s affair with his future wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, uttering the now infamous line: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
The Queen then ordered Charles and Diana to divorce, meaning the princess lost her royal security squad. Some say that without the programme she wouldn’t have gone on to date Dodi Al-Fayed, or been left at the mercy of drunk driver Henri Paul on the night she died in a crash in Paris in 1997.
Martin Bashir interviewed Princess Diana in Kensington Palace
(Image: Corbis via Getty Images)
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The BBC made a six-figure sum from selling the interview and Bashir had a lucrative career in the US on the back of it.
The bank forgeries are alleged to have showed transactions which suggested Spencer’s head of security was leaking stories for money. The earl says it convinced him Bashir should see Di.
The affair has reared its head again on the 25th anniversary of the interview.
In a letter to BBC director general Tim Davie on October 23, Spencer wrote: “If it were not for me seeing these statements, I would not have introduced Bashir to my sister.
"In turn, he would have remained just one of thousands of journalists hoping that he/she had a tiny chance of getting her to speak to them, with no realistic prospect of doing so.’
Wiessler says he used an Apple Mac to produce the documents.
In an account in 1996 he said: “At no time did Mr Bashir explain to me what the documents were for.”
The BBC has agreed to an independent inquiry but one former cop says there could be grounds for a criminal probe.
Peter Bleksley, a founder member of Scotland Yard’s undercover unit, said: “The police will have to interview the graphic designer and anyone at the BBC who had knowledge of this and what these documents were being produced for. They have to establish criminal intent. Was there an intention to trick someone or persuade someone to do something because of these documents.”
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“Earl Spencer is absolutely crucial to any criminal inquiry because he may be the person who was coerced into doing something. There would have to be some kind of financial advantage proven. They would ask, ‘Did you ask this graphic designer to mock up these documents and what did you intend to use them for’?”
Bashir and the BBC won a number of gongs for the scoop, but Wiessler was frozen out, left feeling like a criminal. An inquiry at the time was branded a “whitewash” by Spencer. He wants the BBC to hand back the awards, donate to Diana’s charities and issue a posthumous apology.
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Wiessler said: “It’s changed my life a lot. For me, the worst thing is your entire family knowing you’ve been called a forger for 25 years.
“Forgers are criminal. The impact is that everybody you know, it’s sort of somewhere in their mind.
“Little impacts can have a very long term, damaging effect. It could be your confidence, how you parent – all sorts of things. All I’m asking for at the moment is an apology from the BBC.”
The corporation says it has now recovered a handwritten note from Di confirming she was happy with how the interview was obtained.
But former head of royal protection Dai Davis said: “This is no way to hold an inquiry, with key participants just coming up with useful evidence.
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“This should all be being handled by the police, not the BBC press office. If this was any other organisation, they would be getting a knock on the door from police.”
Spencer also claims Bashir fabricated a dossier suggesting aides and confidantes conspired against Di.
Her former private secretary Patrick Jephson claims the reporter told Diana that he was being paid by the security services to spy on her.
BBC chief Mr Davie said: “The BBC is taking this very seriously and we want to get to the truth. We are in the process of commissioning a robust, independent investigation.”