Ex-Butler to Royals to Stand Trial
LONDON (AP) _ Princess Diana’s former butler was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges of stealing hundreds of items belonging to the late princess and other members of the royal family.
The trial of Paul Burrell, 43, will begin on Jan. 10 at London’s Old Bailey court. He denies the charges.
He spoke only once at the hearing in Bow Street Magistrates Court, saying ``yes″ when asked if he understood the proceedings.
Burrell faces three counts of theft for allegedly taking 342 items, including letters, a bullwhip, records and CDs, from Diana, Prince Charles and Prince William on or before June 30, 1998, at Kensington Palace. Conviction on the charges carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Burrell, who is free on bail, was initially arrested on suspicion of theft in January. His home near Chester in northwestern England was searched by police who allegedly found dozens of Diana’s personal effects.
He maintains all were given to him by Diana for safekeeping and his lawyers have accused authorities of subjecting him to a ``show trial.″
Burrell, a truck driver’s son who worked for the royal family for 21 years, has written books on etiquette and given speeches about his life with Diana but has not worked as a butler since her death in a car crash in 1997. Earlier this month, he opened a flower shop in a Welsh village with his wife, Maria.