Princess Diana's inquest has been halted at the last minute after an email from France containing potential new evidence was received by the coroner.

The mail is believed to refer to a sample from the body of Henri Paul, who was driving the Mercedes car carrying Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed which crashed in Paris.

Tests on blood and other samples from Paul, the Paris Ritz Hotel's acting head of security, showed his blood alcohol level was three times the French drink-driving limit.

But Dodi's father, Mohamed al Fayed, has always believed that the samples were faked or switched, pointing to question marks over the labeling of vials of blood.