The SAS soldier who made astonishing claims Princess Diana was murdered by special forces has apparently fled Britain just days before he is set to be questioned by police.
The former sniper, known only as soldier N, is said to have left the country as Scotland Yard launches a new investigation into the Princess' death.
He allegedly told his wife that a member of an elite unit shone a light in her chauffeur's face causing him to crash in August 1997.
The wife claimed her husband had told her the 'hit' had been instructed by someone in the royal inner circle because they did not approve of Diana's relationship with Fayed.
Soldier N was due to meet Scotland Yard's DCI Philip Easton but is understood to have left the country on Monday or Tuesday.
A source close to the investigation told The Sunday People: 'Soldier N is key to this inquiry as he is the person who made the claims about Diana's murder.
'Pressure on him has been mounting since the original story broke last month. He was aware police wanted to interview him.'
It is thought Soldier N may be have travelled to the United Arab Emirates while his partner and her children are still at their home in Hereford.
Scotland Yard reportedly decided to review the case, 16 years after Diana's death in a Paris underpass, after interviewing the woman who insists her former husband's claims were true.
She alleged a white car and motorbike were involved in the plot which enlisted the services of one of Soldier N's former SAS colleagues.
When asked by officers why she hadn't reported her husband's theory earlier the woman said she had been sworn to secrecy.
In a dramatic twist, the investigation could also unearth recordings of the crash after security experts revealed Diana's phone was bugged.
Soldier N is also alleged to have stolen money while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Claims: Soldier N allegedly told his wife about the 'hit' after he had taken Prince William on an advanced driving course in 2008
His wife reportedly told officers that when he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, she was asked to pay 13,000 Iraqi dinars (around £7,000) into his personal bank account.
The conversation took place in 2011 but the couple have since separated. When the woman quizzed her husband about his theory he reportedly told her the SAS had been following Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, who was also killed in the accident.
The forthcoming investigation, which was prompted by the claims, will look into allegations from a source in the UK security industry that GCHQ was remotely taping Diana and Dodi up until the moment of the crash.
A source told a national newspaper said Diana was a prime intelligence target, GCHQ operatives 'would have wanted and had the capacity to listen live to the conversations in the car as it sped away from the Ritz.'.
At the time IRA terrorists were driving vehicles packed with explosives around the UK in plots to blow up city centres - and senior military commanders had to find a way to thwart them.
One source said: 'The SAS had to develop a series of tactics for every eventuality. In the 1980s the IRA were driving bombs to targets around Britain.'
Diana, 36, Fayed, 42, and their driver Henri Paul, 41, were killed in the crash in 1997. The Princess' bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was seriously injured.
Al Fayed's father, Mohammed Al Fayed has always asserted the pair's deaths were the result of a planned murder at the hands of the British Establishment and MI6, and similarly claims a white Fiat was involved in the crash but has never been traced.