Lady Diana as we like to remember her.
Twenty years have now elapsed since Diana Princess of Wales died as a result of injuries received in a car crash. It happened in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, Paris early in the morning of the 31st August, 1997.
Untold millions have died in the period but this does not lessen the significance of that one iconic death or the circumstances surrounding it which continue to echo to this day.
If other than a pure accident, it raises questions about the probity at the very core of the British establishment and government.
The central question is of course, was the princess - who was described as a "loose canon" - and despite judicial findings to the contrary, effectively murdered on the orders of individuals with the authority and motivation to do so?
If the answer to that question is yes, we would have to conclude that the British State, in order to protect the reputation and continuance of the institution of the British Monarchy, would entertain the assassination of a very public figure. Were this true, it would have serious consequences for the British constitution even now, when big changes are in process.
Although several formal investigations have come to the conclusion that this was an accident with no sinister overtones, (1) the eventual Coroner's inquest jury ten years after the event, did find that the death of Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed, resulted from an unlawful act, placed principally at the door of the driver, and deputy head of security at the Ritz, Henri Paul. The evidence suggested he was under the influence of both alcohol and other drugs. (2)
Richard Tomlinson, an ex-MI6 whistle-blower, later stated that he had seen Henri Paul's file that proved that at least from 1992 he had been in the pay of MI6. Incidentally the head of security at the Ritz was an ex-Metropolitan Police officer. (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dANWdysaoF0)
Blaming the paparazzi a ploy?
Also at the time and subsequently, the finger of blame has been pointed at the paparazzi, whose maniacal commitment to chasing the Princess everywhere, including on the night in question, prompted, it is claimed, Paul to drive at a dangerous speed and beyond his capabilities. First voiced by her brother, it became the prevailing motif of the tragedy and has recently been repeated by her two sons. (3) (4)
However, in such high profile events, quite as important as the stated causes and issues, are those unaddressed and by-passed. They often provide far more insight into the true circumstances of the case. The very fact that issues are ignored by establishment and media is reason to pursue them and an indication of their critical importance.
Although undoubtedly a factor, and despite the police arresting them en masse on the night, the evidence appears to point away from them being the immediate and direct cause of the accident. Some might even think it was concentrated and focused on quite intentionally to distract from true causes.
The paparazzi, already held in public contempt, despite the public appetite for its product, was a convenient scape-goat that obsessed the media, to the exclusion of many other more important issues. The question that remains hanging in the air is, were the paparazzi intentionally targeted in order to deflect attention from the true causes and players?
Among the group of photographers and motorcyclists at the scene of Diana's fatal accident: (Top L-R) Jerko Tomic, Laslo Veres, Laurent Sola, Marc Selle, Serge Benhamou, Darmon, (Bottom L-R) Fabrice Chassery, Alain Guizard, David Odekerken, Jacques Langevin
Unidentified Fiat Uno and Motor Bike involved
Subsequently it was revealed that at least two vehicles were involved with crashed Mercedes before the paparazzi arrived! Both a small car, a Fiat Uno and a powerful motor bike, were reported before and beside the car, in advance of the paparazzi mainly on lower powered scooters that arrived on scene minutes later.
It is a FACT that prior to the crash, the Mercedes collided with a Fiat Uno, leaving a trace of its white paint on the Mercedes' right front wing, and a portion of the Fiat's rear left hand reflector, left broken in the road.
Further, witnesses in front of the car reported seeing a motor bike on its left hand side, pulling in front of the Mercedes before a bright white light was observed. Both motor bike and Fiat left the scene and did not present themselves to police as witnesses.
Controversy surrounds the Fiat and although great efforts were devoted to tracing it, the most likely suspect has never been positively identified or prosecuted. This, to say the least, is rather strange.
The rider(s) of the high powered motor-cycle have never revealed themselves or been revealed.
These are crucial facts that may indicate features of either an unexplained mystery provoking an accident with the intention of seriously injuring or even killing the occupants of the car in question.
Other features of the accident, including suggestions that the Mercedes had been involved previously in a serious crash and was basically un-roadworthy and the seat belt that could have saved Diana's life was defective and unusable, tend to support a sinister explanation.
As does the revelation that the circumstances of the accident closely followed an earlier plan worked up by MI6 to kill Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in a tunnel using a strobe light. (19) This Express article reported as follows: He (the ex-MI6 Officer)
"revealed the existence of a shadowy unit within the SAS known as The Increment which comprises troops from the SAS and SBS for the purposes of carrying out lethal operations on behalf of MI6."
Time-line summarised and why the delay getting to hospital?
If as reported, the crash occurred at 12.23/4 a.m. and the first police arrived at 12.30 a.m., and two Fire Service ambulances arrive at 12.32 and a third at 12.40, we may conclude this particular image was captured between the arrival of the policeman and that of the first ambulance at 12.32 or immediately after. (Note only one emergency vehicle is visible behind the Mercedes) It should be noted that no qualified doctors arrived (other than Mailliez) until respectively 12.43, 12.44 and 12.50 a.m.
Paul and Fayad were fairly quickly certified dead at the scene. Rees-Jones was suffering from severe facial injuries, in great pain and conscious. He was apparently screaming loudly in contrast to Diana.
Lady Diana was sitting in the right hand rear seat and had been thrown into the footwell with her back to the door. She had at that point survived the ordeal and was semi-conscious, having issued several understandable words. One early witness stated she was at first wedged between the two front seats but the photograph shows her in the foot-well as stated. Of course if accurate, this would suggest someone moved her but this is never mentioned or admitted.
Rather surprisingly, given the subsequent description of the injury to her heart by the force of the impact, she was said to have a perceptible and regular pulse when it was taken.
She was removed from the car at 1.00 a.m that is 36 minutes after the collision and twenty eight minutes after the first ambulance had arrived. A further 25 minutes elapse before the ambulance sets off for hospital at 01.25. At 01.55: the ambulance stops for five minutes so medics can inject adrenaline into her body. Only at 02.06 does it arrive at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, where the best efforts of the emergency staff fail to revive her. At 03.45 the life support machine is turned off and at 04.00 a.m. it is announced to the British Ambassador (Sir Michael Jay) that the Princess had died. (03.00 BST.) (9)
It would be very informative if we could directly compare her treatment to that of Rees-Jones and particularly the time he was admitted to hospital. Despite a search, I have been unable to locate that specific information.
So to summarise, it took nearly half an hour to remove her from the car and a further twenty five minutes before the ambulance set off. It then takes forty one minutes to get her to hospital. To put it another way, it took no less than one hour thirty four minutes between the first ambulance arrived on scene and her being admitted to hospital for emergency surgery.
Given the fact that this was Paris at night and the distance only 6 Km, an emergency vehicle might be expected to take ten minutes at most. (5) It is reasonable to assume that had she been removed speedily, she should have been admitted at least a good hour before she was.
This protracted delay has of course been commented on by others and been offered explanations and excuses, but still remains an inexplicable feature of the operation.
Recently the Express newspaper has reported the following:
"Stanlee Culbreath, 69, from Columbus Ohio who was in Paris on August 31, 1997 and arrived at the scene in a taxi immediately after, recalled being unimpressed with the speed with which emergency services attended and removed Lady Diana. He is quoted as saying, “If that’s the Princess, why did it take 20 minutes or so to get to her and, when she was finally released [from the car], why did they pass one hospital and take her to another?” “After 15 or 20 minutes, there was still no paramedic on the scene and I said to my friends, ‘Damn, a junkie on Main Street would get waited on quicker than this." (10)
According to Mr Culbreath, although not realising who she was, Diana was still talking when she was removed from the car. He believes her chances of survival were significantly decreased because of the “delay” from paramedics." He says he submitted a statement to the inquest but did not attend it. Only now has his account been made public.
Early photographs examined.
So this anniversary review of what happened, begins with the images below. It is of the Mercedes after impact, facing in the opposite direction on the adjacent lane of the tunnel, where it had come to rest. The source of the image is shown. A limited number of people are in attendance, hopefully accurately labelled - although I am rather doubtful as to man 'Redjil', who looks more like an ambulance man to me but may not be.
My approach is to briefly refer to what is known about the individuals depicted and their actions on the night. Contrary to the story line heavily promoted by government and media, there is little evidence here of masses of paparazzi impeding in any way the first aiders and rescue operation. Indeed the evidence suggests that several of the photographers actually assisted at the early stages when they arrived on scene.
There is little doubt that they took photographs very aware of their commercial value, but this was only to be expected. More interesting and not a little suspicious, is the role and reaction of two particular individuals, Dr Frederic Mailliez and his accompanying American friend, Mark Butt. Not only so but the available photo images of these two raise very serious issues as to their identity.
Initial attenders captured on photograph
I thought it would be interesting to check out these initial attenders and a few others who were reported to be there but for some reason not shown or identified. There are no doubt those better placed than I to decide if the representation of identities is is fully accurate. As far as I am aware the images have not been challenged.
We must assume that the vehicle beyond the Mercedes is an official vehicle - either police or ambulance - as it appears to have light fixtures on top and one of each arrived less than ten minutes following the impact, plus more later.
We must also conclude the photographs were taken - by whom I do not know - within minutes of the collision, because Dr Mailliez is still present and we know, from his statement, that he left as soon as the Fire Service ambulances arrived. It is clear they either have not yet arrived or only just arrived because he is still there.
Second early image from opposite direction.
From bottom left clockwise: Benhamou. Chassery. Arnal. Masseron. Pennequin. Lifalandry. Interestingly in this image we see a figure in the centre in in casual jacket, white trousers and brown shoes, who we must assume is Dr. Frederic Mailliez who has a central role. Note also the figure standing with his back to the SOS San Medicins van in opposite carriageway in similar casual attire and trainers, who appears to be smoking and thus fits the description exactly of Mailliez's companion, Mark Butt.
The following image from outside the tunnel shows both the first emergency vehicle to arrive this side of the wrecked car, and the SOS Medicins vehicle occupied by Mailliez and Butt. As at this stage Mailliez had not departed it must reveal the situation only minutes after impact. White trousered Mailliez in short sleeves appears to be in the foreground. At some stage he must have removed the jacket indicated in the above photo.
Jacques Langevin another international photographer, (not indicated in above image) said he had been instructed by his agency to cover the story despite his reluctance, was also one of the first to reach the scene. He was interviewed in a controversial June 2007 Channel 4 programme. He was initially one of those arrested by police and had his photographs seized.
Philippe Boyer. Policeman. Put in charge of Diana until SAMU arrived. He took her pulse (normal), applied oxygen mask, wrapped in isothermal blanket, and fitted surgical collar. That's a lot of medical tasks for a policeman!
"Lino Gagliardone "French Policeman described arriving at the Alma tunnel and being immediately told that "Lady Diana" was in the wrecked Mercedes. "I approached the vehicle, it was very difficult to get to it because of the presence of a large number of journalists, they were in fact photographers, they were taking pictures from all angles, I think there must have been a good 20 or so," he said in a statement read to Diana's inquest."
(It is notable that this impression is NOT supported by the above image)
In the back of the car he saw the Princess, her legs on the rear seat and her back against the front passenger seat. As he went to radio for help, he said: "I became aware of something unusual, two people shouting at one another, they were standing between our car and the Mercedes.
He said he thought Romuald Rat, one of the first paparazzi to arrive at the scene, was making the accusation against Jacques Langevin, the man who photographed Diana through the windscreen of her Mercedes as it left the rear entrance of the Ritz Hotel. Both men are among the paparazzi who have refused to give evidence to the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice in London." (7)
Adelatif Redjil. Pedestrian eye witness. "Shortly after we arrived I saw a kind of SOS Medecins car arriving from the opposite direction. I went to see the driver and explained to him what was going on and told him that one of the casualties was the Princess of Wales. He replied that she was a casualty like any other and quickly parked and came to give assistance. He was accompanied by a slim young man who waited near their vehicle smoking a cigarette." STRANGE! (8) Note: the young man, Mark Butt is caught in the second image as described. Both he and Mailliez are in casual clothes including white slacks.
Belkacem Bouzid. "A statement by a passerby, Abdelatif Redjil, in which he said he held Diana's hand as she lay dying was read to the inquest later. Redjil and his friend Belkacem Bouzid were passing the tunnel when they heard the sounds of an accident and ran inside to help. The two said that the paparazzi stood around the car taking photographs rather than offering help. Redjil said they arrived before the emergency services to see the crashed car with smoke pouring from the front. He described seeing the driver, Henri Paul, dead at the wheel with his hand sticking out of the window. In the back he saw a man he learnt was Fayed, also apparently dead, his body thrown against the rear left hand window. He told how he opened the back door to see a blond woman curled inside the footwell, moving her hand. "She repeated words like 'My God, My God'. I tried to reassure her, telling her in English, 'Don't worry'," he told a French investigating magistrate. "She opened her eyes but she didn't answer me, she simply continued moving her hand. I think she was unconscious." (11)
"Sebastien Dorzee, a French policeman, arrived at the scene with a colleague around 12.30am. "Blood was coming out of her mouth and nose," he said. "You could see a deep wound to her forehead...At the same time, she was rubbing her stomach. She must have been in pain. "She turned her head towards the front of the car, and saw the driver. She became agitated. Then she put her head down again and closed her eyes." (12)Clifford Gooroovadoo. "Then a young man arrived with an oxygen mask. I think he was the man driving the SOS Medecins vehicle that had come from the opposite direction to the accident. The man placed a first aid oxygen mask over Lady Di's face, as she was the only one whose face could take such treatment." (13)
Masseron "Their friend Sebastien Masseron said the crash happened just before they arrived. "There were no other vehicles in that part of the tunnel. There was however people around the vehicle. I heard one photographer call over to a colleague, 'Come back, come back, she's alive'. " (21)
Damian Dalby "A volunteer fireman travelling to Paris with his brother and friends. Princess Diana was repeating the words "Oh my God, oh my God", as she lay in the smoking wreckage of the car, according to one of the first witnesses to reach the crash site in the Paris tunnel, the inquest into her death was told yesterday. The evidence which contradicts earlier suggestions that she was never conscious enough to speak after the crash came from Damian Dalby, Referring to a transcript of a statement he made to police hours after the crash, Mr Dalby told the inquest in the high court in London by video link that when he first saw the car in the Pont de l'Alma underpass, there were people around it taking photographs. He ran to the car, and found the rear right-hand door open and a photographer close by - though no attempt was made to block his efforts to help. (21)
Pennequin Sebastien Pennequin, brother of Dalby, said he had helped police push photographers back. "They continued taking photographs, it was then I spoke to them telling them to stop. 'The people must know that Princess Diana is alive', one said." (21)
It is claimed that the ONE person who did see the incident from behind and known to the the police, was the ONE person never referred to or called to give evidence. His name was Erik Petel
He speaks in French but the translation is follows: "I started to go down the curve. I saw headlights blinking. The car was going quite fast. And then I hear as the car's running an implosion. I thought my my exaust was the problem but I heard this implosion. As I had just bought my motor bike I thought it had made this noise. So what do I do? I slow down and check if my bike's gone funny. And then I heard a loud boom - the car crashing."
Having arrived at the scene of the crash he continues: "I get hold of the person in the back - she'd fallen against the back of the passenger seat in front and was bent over the seat in front - and I start to move her back. Then at that moment her head flops back. I see blood coming from her (points to right) ear and coming out of her nose. And I say to myself 'that's weird, I know this person.'
Petel then went to the nearest phone box and called the emergency services and followed this up by visiting a police station. He was badly shaken up. He continues: "I threw some files on the floor, so they got more police to try to calm me. The more they tried to calm me, the more upset I got. I said 'Do something!' And what they did was to put me in hand-cuffs. So they got another officer to deal with me."
With the paparazzi under arrest, the police took no notice of what Petel was saying. He had seen no paparazzi around him or around the Mercedes. But he was surprised to find himself bundled into a van in hand-cuffs and taken to Paris police head-quarters.
Petel continues: "And then a very senior police officer - I won't give his name - he simply said it would be best if I did not make myself known. It felt very much like a threat. I didn't know who it was then. They tell me the accident couldn't have happened like that. What they wanted exactly, they didn't say."
The interviewer asks: "When they said it wasn't possible, did they suggest how it did happen?"
Petel: "No it was like I wasn't there - like I'd seen nothing."
That night the police briefed the press that Petel was lying. By supressing Patel's evidence, the police could blame the photographers. The French Inquiry only agreed to hear Petel's evidence seven months later. It asked the police why Petel's original statement had been lost. It doesn't seem to exist and has never been produced.
Clifford Gooroovadoo , also a chauffeur, who was above the Alma Tunnel on the bridge, described the sound of a "racing engine not in gear" as the car approached!
(For above interviews and statements see: WHO KILLED DIANA? - Best Video On This Subject
The role of Dr Mailliez and Mr Butt.
Dr. Frederic Mailliez (36) The first medic to have any contact with Diana post-crash was Dr Mailliez. He is perhaps one of the most intriguing people on scene from the point of view of the circumstances, his statements and behaviour.
He applied oxygen mask but claimed he did not know who he was treating despite other witnesses have said they knew and told him when he arrived. He did know that the occupant only spoke English.
He apparently ignored a screaming Rees-Jones and treated only Diana "as a fireman was dealing with Rees-Jones". As we can see from the above photograph, no one is shown treating Rees-Jones and if he left on the arrival of the fire ambulance, how can this statement be correct? One might have expected him to have assessed Diana and then moved immediately to Rees Jones before the emergency services had arrived.
He said he worked for SAMU and then contradicted that.
He stated that on his arrival he assessed the situation with regard to "a beautiful woman with her head down" and went back to his vehicle to obtain an oxygen mask which he applied on his return. Note he appears not to have given the screaming Rees-Jones even cursory attention.
At some point, either before or after he went back to his SOS vehicle he called the emergency services. This is quite an extraordinary thing for a skilled emergency doctor to do, compounded by the fact he apparently gave incorrect information regarding the location to the operator who fortunately had already been notified of the correct one, despite knowing Paris well. He might even have had to walk towards the entrance to get a mobile signal. Why he did not request someone else to do this has never been explained.
Further rather incredibly as a trained doctor familiar with trauma, as soon as the firemen arrived, none of whom were doctors, he departed the scene. He also handed the direct attention of Diana over to an un-medically qualified policemen and firemen merely with the instruction to keep them awake!
The ambulance was reported to be on scene within 6 or 7 minutes of the collision, but Mailliez was there minutes before it arrived, which was to say the least providential if not a little suspicious. It was stated that he and his friend Mark Butt, an American, were returning from a private party in the opposite lane. What has never been explained is why, if this was so, they were travelling in an official SOS Medicins vehicle? Was this his normal conveyance to and from private functions?
Mark Butt appears much younger and why they were together on the night has not been revealed. However clearly his younger companion had no intention of getting involved and indeed is seen nonchalantly smoking a cigarette. As he left the scene after handing over to the fire brigade, he told his friend Mr Butt that he thought Diana would survive. (14) He claims he only learned the identity of Diana the next morning when informed by Butt. This is frankly incredible.
Very significantly one web site (15) draws attention to the fact that subterfuge may have been used subsequently - for whatever reason - by substituting a remarkably similar actor,for later interviews. This is established by comparison of the eyes, facial features, voice and expressions and there certainly seems to be substance to this. In seven years it is highly unlikely that his eyes would have changed from brown to blue I have to agree. Also check out his right ear (on the left side of the image) The right hand image is taken from “Who killed Diana? ” (2014): (16) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dANWdysaoF0
from 6:42 – 6:52 and 9:16 – 9:27.
Dr Mailliez in 1997
If correct, the question obviously has to be asked why this extraordinary step would be taken that undermines the credibility of the witness and adds sinister overtones. He is photographed below affording the Princess attention at the crash scene.
Even if you are unconvinced by the claim that the photographs above are of different people, there can be no such doubt regarding the following photograph. This claims to be of Dr Mailliez and Mr Butt together at the tunnel a year later. Not only is the figure on the left clearly not the person shown in either of the images above, the alleged Mr Butt shows absolutely no resemblance to the distant image of what is undoubtedly "Mr Mark Butt" in the second of the three crash site images above. Note in this image they are both again wearing white trousers but there the likeness stops. One or other CANNOT be the persons described. Given this fact, none may be! Clearly this is HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS and throws doubt on all their opinions, actions and real purpose at the scene.
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g? 14.8.1998 blogID=863336524369281662#editor/target=post;postID=998230742078023238;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=link
The Photographers stayed
clear and did not interfere
FIRST DOCTOR TO HELP DIANA
REVISITS SITE OF HER DEATH
AS FIRST ANNIVERSARY NEARS
Dr. Frederic Maillez, the first doctor to arrive on the accident scene
"'hen Princess Diana was killed nearly a year ago, and American-born
Mark Butt, the friend Who was with him that fatal n
His extraordinary claim that he (Dr. Mailliez) did not know it was Lady Diana who he was treating until being told by Mark Butt the next morning, having been specifically told at the time, plus all the other inexplicable features mentioned above, certainly raises a big question mark over his role and purpose at the scene.
- Would an emergency doctor have left the care of two seriously injured but surviving patients to relatively less qualified police and fire service personnel?
- Would he have used up valuable time ringing emergency services with, as it happens false location details, when others could and did do this?
- Why was he driving an official SOS vehicle from a private function and was his arrival at the precise moment of the accident, merely coincidental?
- What was the status of his friend Mark Butt and by whom was he employed if anyone? What was the true nature of their relationship?
- Why was he apparently totally unconcerned with the fate of Rees-Jones and why does his statement contradict itself on this point?
- What did he actually administer to the Princess and why do the details conflict on whether she resisted the 'oxygen mask' or not. (18)
- Why do the photo images of Dr Mailliez and his friend Mark Butt not correlate, suggesting actors or impostors were used?
- Why as a highly qualified emergency doctor did he get the diagnosis so wrong?
It has been suggested by some that Dr Mailliez was an operative of the secret services in this matter. I certainly could not say and have no opinion on such a controversial issue. I can only conclude that these fact raise serious issues that have never been adequately put or answered.
Mark Butt has been described as "an American friend" of Dr Mailliez. He may have in fact been something more. They was in the same vehicle travelling in the opposite direction, and were some of the first to come upon the scene of devastation. It is stated they were returning from a dinner with friends. Why, in those circumstances were they in what has been described by others as an SOS Medicins vehicle with a blue flashing light? This important point has never been explained.
In any event the behaviour of both is rather extraordinary. Specifically in the case of Mr Butt the fact that not only did he not accompany his medically qualified friend to the scene to offer any support or assistance, but he was reported by others to have remained at the vehicle on the other carriageway, smoking a cigarette!
He has been quoted as pointing the finger of blame at the paparazzi, recalling "long lenses that could have photographed a distant horse race being pointed inside the car."
In this Newsweek article he is quoted as saying that as they approached the tunnel from the west, they saw a motorcycle with a single rider emerge from the east travelling in the same direction as the Mercedes. Butt says it stopped, made a U-turn and drove against the direction of traffic back into the tunnel. (17) This is hard to explain and is not supported by any other witness.
So far, only one media report, "Diana’s Last Hours", produced by the BBC has mentioned and interviewed Dr. Mailliez’ American travelling companion, Mark Butt. In the television interview, Butt came across as articulate and well spoken, with a distinct recollection of the events of the Sunday morning tragedy. (22)
Houston we have a problem!
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g? 14.8.1998 blogID=863336524369281662#editor/target=post;postID=998230742078023238;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=link
The Photographers stayed
clear and did not interfere
FIRST DOCTOR TO HELP DIANA
REVISITS SITE OF HER DEATH
AS FIRST ANNIVERSARY NEARS
Dr. Frederic Maillez, the first doctor to arrive on the accident scene
"'hen Princess Diana was killed nearly a year ago, and American-born
Mark Butt, the friend Who was with him that fatal n
Anniversaries are strange things. They operate as mental and psychological links with past events and our own personal emotional response to them. Some are so famous and universal that they generate considerable interest and attention. Depending on the circumstances, they may be encouraged or discouraged by government and covered to a greater or lesser extent by the media.
The decision to do one or the other, is seldom value or politics-free.
Remembering the dead in war, as with today's Passchendaele ceremony in Ypres, is a case in point. I always wonder if such events are really to remember those who suffered and died, or instead intended to actually glorify war and conflict - "the Glorious Dead" after all. Do they in fact merely entrench the existing power and military structures, dedicated to facilitating more of the same?
The death of Lady Diana
However of course, anniversaries other than battles, are celebrated all the time. One such, remembers after twenty years, the death of Lady Diana, who had become something of a tragic icon even before her untimely and suspicious death. Few in the world can be unaware of the car accident that led to her death in Paris on that fateful day, the 31st August, 1997. (25)
Some might wonder why so much attention is afforded to just this one tragedy, when there have been so many before and since, with literally billions of deaths, often in similarly suspicious circumstances?
However we live in a status and celebrity orientated world, that both in life and death, determine the apparent importance afforded to different fatalities. Fame and its consequences is two edged sword, as Diana undoubtedly discovered. Neither was she averse to using it on occasions to further her her own agenda and humanitarian concerns.
We have to admit that in addition to celebrity, she was also genuinely loved by millions for her caring personality and charisma, which she devoted to her children and causes. These included such unpalatable things as AIDS and Land Mines, as a result of which she was considered by some to be a "loose cannon".
Many also had considerable sympathy for the way she had been treated by the Royal Family, her husband and the press, which has rather obscured her own questionable behaviour. Despite the intervening twenty years, Prince Charles and other members of the family, have not freed themselves from a continuing hint of opprobrium.
But in addition it was the manner of her death, unexpected and premature, and some would say under suspicious circumstances, that fuelled grief and speculation in equal measure.
Was this just another fatal car crash, as happens thousands of times each and every year around the world, or a planned killing by criminals or agents of an unnamed state?
For the few unaware of the circumstances leading up to the tragic event or subsequent to it a quick recapitulation may be helpful.
Charles, Prince of Wales and heir the the British Crown married Lady Diana Spencer was the fourth child and third daughter of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (later Earl Spencer) and Frances Roche. She grew up in Park House, situated on the Royal Sandringham estate.
In their different ways both Charles and Diana shared an emotionally charged childhood in which parental relationships were disrupted either by divorce or official duties. Diana's separated un-amicably when she was only three and her relationship with her step-mother by her own admission was fraught. Charles was brought up in a formal and distant relationship forced on him by royal duties, circumstance and prevailing convention, compounded by a schooling he hated.
There the similarities ended. They first met in 1977 when she was 16 and he was 29 and dating her sister. The relationship progressed and they were married almost three years later at St Paul's Cathedral on the 29th July, 1981 to a world-wide audience of billions. It was considered to be the epitome of the "fairy-tale wedding", yet even from the engagement, there were worrying signs, that on the part of the groom at least, this was an union more of duty and necessity, than of romantic love.
When asked if he was "in love" after the engagement, she replied, "Well of course" and he added, "Whatever love means." (26) It was a flippant but rather ominous remark - maybe even a 'Freudian slip'. The unrevealed problem was that he had probably given his heart to another, a woman clearly with many social graces and personal attractions, could not fit the royal marriage criteria.
As everyone now knows, in the words of Diana herself, "there were three people in the marriage, and it was very crowded." The third person was Camilla Parker Bowles (nee Shand), as of the 9th April, 2005, the second wife of Prince Charles. She had been divorced from her first husband in 1995, one year before Charles and Diana and two years prior to Diana's death. The suggestion is made that throughout this period, from their initial meeting in 1972 to the present, they have remained close friends and lovers.
Being unfaithful to marriage vows was not their exclusive territory however, and Diana desperate for the love and affection absent from her husband turned to other partners also, with tragic consequences. For example from the mid-80's she had a relationship with James Hewitt, to whom her second son Harry bears a remarkable facial likeness.
She also admitted to being passionately in love with her bodyguard Barry Mannakee from 1984 to 1986, who was transferred after an "inappropriate relation" and was killed in a motorcycle accident 1987, prompting Diana to claim he had been "bumped off"! She added that "I was only happy when he was around" and that his death was "the biggest blow of my life." Another was James Gilbey.
Other intimate and emotional relationships followed, perhaps most significantly between 1995 and 1997, with the British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who was called "the love of her life" by many of her closest friends after her death. There is disagreement over who actually ended the relationship. Some claim that her well publicised relationship, which she facilitated, shortly before her death, with Dodi Fayed, the son of Harrods owner, was merely an attempt to make Khan jealous and get him back.
It may also have been motivated by an element of spite, particularly directed at her erstwhile father-in-law, the Duke of Edinburgh, with whom both Mohamed Al-Fayed and Diana had had a stormy and at times vituperative relationship.
Close friends of Diana have reported that Prince Philip had said some "very hurtful" things about and to Diana. It has been said that Diana should have just accepted Charles' extra-marital relationships, and pretended nothing was amiss. Famously of course Al-Fayed accused the Duke of ordering the "hit" on Diana, that was never supported by any factual evidence. It surely cannot be coincidental, for good or ill, that the Duke has announced his retirement from public duties on the very anniversary of her death?
The incident has been thoroughly examined by separate French and British investigations and a lengthy Coroner's inquest, besides numerous newspaper and private inquiries, yet none have turned up other than circumstantial evidence pointing to intrigue or evil intent by agents of the state or states. However taken together, many are convinced the odds against such a conclusion are impossibly high.
The circumstantial evidence for an assassination.
It is no secret that despite being divorced from Charles and having her official protection removed, as ex-wife and mother of future kings, she remained of interest as a "lose cannon" to Government and Royal family. She was an unavoidable distraction to both, particularly if Charles was intent on marrying her claimed competitor for his affections and marriage nemesis, Camilla. Nor is it hard to see that her dalliance with two Muslim men held out the prospect of another child that would undoubtedly arouse incredible media speculation and interest that had the potential to overshadow the public persona of her first two children.
How could these factors be viewed with other than considerable apprehension by the Palace, compounded by the suspicion that Diana bore something of a grudge that she was prepared to pursue using her enormous fame and popularity? This could well be seen as providing motive to be rid of her one way or another, whether this was actually the case or not.
This hypothetical interpretation is somewhat strengthened by other factual indicators. First Diana expressed the fear, whether irrational or otherwise, that she was both directly and indirectly a target of official manipulation that could be life threatening.
In October, 1993 Lady Diana was already afraid she would be murdered in a car crash by Prince Charles. She sent a letter to her butler Paul Burrell in which she writes that she will be murdered by Charles, who is “planning “an accident” in my car (...) to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy” (Tiggy Legge-Bourke, former nanny of Princes William and Harry).
In 1995, Diana wrote a letter to her friend Simone Simmons:
“Dear Simone, as you know, the brakes of my car have been tampered with. If something does happen to me it will be MI5 or MI6 who will have done it. Lots of love, Diana”.
Simone Simmons, testified that former Defence Minister, Nicholas Soames, called Diana at Kensington Palace in February 1997 and threatened Diana. Diana asked her to listen in on the telephone conversation, when she heard Soames say:
"Don't meddle in things you know nothing about because you know accidents can happen".
Soames denied these allegations: (27)
In October 1995, Diana had a meeting with her lawyers Lord Mischon, Maggie Rae and Sandra Davies (of law firm Mischon De Reya), where she said that unnamed “reliable sources” had informed her that she could be killed or injured in a car accident.
Mischon advised Diana to increase “security measures … relating to her car”.Mischon wrote in a summary of this meeting that he didn’t believe her life was in danger. He was surprised that her private secretary Patrick Jephson "half believed" Diana was right that her safety was at risk:
"Efforts would be made if not to get rid of her (be it by some accident in her car, such as a pre-prepared brake failure or whatever) at least to see she was so injured as to be declared unbalanced. She was convinced that there was a conspiracy and that she and Camilla were to be ‘put aside’" (28)
Within 2 weeks after the car crash in the tunnel, Mischon took his note to Commissioner Lord Condon, who kept it “confidential”. Only after Paul Burrell in 2003 released a handwritten note that confirms Diana’s fears for a car “accident”, he released the Mischon Note to coroner Michael Burgess.
According to the Operation Paget Report, in November 1995 Diana had said:
“Prince Philip wants to see me dead”.
In August 1996, Diana said to her friend Roberto Devorik:
“I am a threat in their eyes. They only use me when they need me for official functions and then they drop me again in the darkness… they are not going to kill me by poisoning me or in a big plane where others will get hurt. They will either do it when I am on a small plane, in a car when I am driving or in a helicopter”.
According to Mohamed Al-Fayed (not the most reliable source for information):
“Diana told me personally, during a holiday in the South of France, that the person who is spearheading these threats is Prince Philip … She told me it would happen either in a helicopter or a car” (29) (30)
There was the death of her police bodyguard Barry Mannakee, already referred to, who she thought had been "bumped off" because of their intimate association.
There had been the discrete intervention with James Hewitt, recently the subject of a strange health scare, that effectively brought their relationship to an end.
There was the leaking of private conversations with close friends and the reputational damage that may have been facilitated by government agencies (Diana was convinced that her communications and relationships were being monitored by them) A question exists why her profound relationship with Kahn was terminated. Was it merely that her notoriety was interfering with his professional work, or had MI5 had a hand in it with a timely, and most polite, warning of consequences, were it to continue?
Diana may not have achieved "A" Levels or a degree, but she was not totally stupid and had developed an acute intuition and sense of her media and social power. Nor could she have been unaware of how dynasty and national politics worked, where duty was perceived as being paramount and desertion viewed as tantamount to treachery and treason.
The Monarch's power to incarcerate in the Tower may have lapsed, but royal disapproval still had its consequence, albeit demonstrated in subtle ways. Having made a number of what were regarded as grievous errors, for which it was made to apologise, the BBC lost its preeminent role as royal conduit, to ITV, a status it has still not regained. On the other hand as a Channel 5 programme (31) has claimed, despite the incident posing perhaps the greatest risk to the monachy since the abdication crisis of the 1930's, paradoxically Diana's death eventually strengthened the position of the Monarch and her descendants, particularly those in line to the throne.
Tragic Royal Precedents
Then again Diana would have been all too aware of royal precedents: King Edward VIII's ostracisation following his abdication over a woman, Wallis Simpson; the accidental death in an aircraft during the 2nd World War of the Duke of Kent; marital interference with his older brother the Duke of Gloucester; the treatment of Princess Margaret and the refusal to allow her to marry Group Captain Townsend; the death of Prince William of Gloucester in 1972 in a flying crash following an 'unacceptible' match. Royal divorces amidst controversy had become the norm (Princess Margaret/Lord Snowden 1978, Duke of York/Sarah Ferguson 1996)
Queen's Reaction to Death
The Queen's reaction to Diana's death was telling and attracted much criticism at the time. She declined to depart Balmoral for London and no symbolic flag was flown at half mast from Buckingham Palace. This was excused on the grounds of protocol and protecting the young princes from press intrusion at an emotionally turbulent time. This might have been partially true but it did not remove the hint of detachment, even callousness. It was certainly in stark contrast to emotion being shown by the general public that had witnessed a different Diana to that of the Court. Only at Charles' insistence apparently, was Diana's body flown back to the UK, draped in the Prince of Wales' standard.
This was perhaps one of the lowest and most fragile of times for the British monarchy, retrieved only partially by the walk-about the Queen made on her eventual return and the broadcast appreciation she made at the suggestion - some would say insistence - of the then recently elected new Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The royal response to Diana rather confirmed and reinforced her allegations of the distance and lack of empathy she had experienced, and gave credence to a hunch that her passing was almost considered a relief.
But suspicions have gone far beyond this to direct allegations. Al Fayad specifically accused the Duke of Edinburgh of ordering the killing. Both formal investigations refuted this allegation but the possibility is to some extent not contradicted by reports that no love was lost between the two and that the Duke had in fact been negatively abusive towards her. Even if not ordering the operation - if there was one - it is hardly conceivable that it would have gone ahead without at least a 'nod' from the Palace.
Then there was Diana's remarkable claim in a letter, that she thought Charles wanted to 'bump her off' and was likely to be by tampering with the brakes on a car she was in, causing a fatal accident. Although the tests on the Mercedes showed no defects to the car's mechanical features, the prediction in general terms, proved eerily accurate.
Nor were the circumstances of the accidents suspiciously far removed from an assassination plan that had previously been already worked up, namely a car accident in a tunnel, utilising a blinding light. As we shall see tunnels, small cars, motor-cycle outriders and bright lights all figure in Diana's crash. Some might think this is a coincidence too far.
It has been noted that the route chosen was not the most direct down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées that had been intended, or why indeed it was changed to that of the tunnel. It is known that the driver ..... Paul, not only worked for Al Fayad but may also have taken instructions from and fed information to, French intelligence. His bank balance certainly indicated sources of money beyond and above his normal and modest pay.
Who decided or instructed him to take the fateful route that he did? In such a position, situation and with such passengers it is highly unlikely that the route taken would have been left to his own discretion, although it is not beyond the realms of possibility that it could have been chosen specifically because it was the less obvious route to their flat near the Arche de Triumph.
There are a number of highly suspicious circumstances at the accident scene itself, compounded by subsequent actions and explanations by authorities, that fall a long way short of being convincing.
This claim was made to the police by the Royal Military Police, after surfacing during the trial of Sgt Danny Nightingale, the SAS sniper convicted of illegal weapons possession. The dossier was said to include a claim that the SAS “was behind Princess Diana’s death”.
The “scoping” was carried out by officers from the specialist crime and operations command, led by Det Ch Insp Phil Easton, a fluent French-speaker, who had worked on Operation Paget, the multi-million pound inquiry which investigated the various conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths. That operation’s findings were published in 2006.
Around 30 veteran soldiers, who were in the SAS in 1997 and are still with the regiment, are said to have been interviewed as part of the new inquiry.
Maj Gen Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the Special Forces, wrote to the Prince of Wales to express his regret over the impact that the investigation had caused the Royal family and, in particular, Princes William and Harry.
The allegations were first made two years ago in a letter from the mother-in-law of an SAS soldier, known only as Soldier N. It was sent to the head of the SAS and described a number of incidents of alleged domestic violence by the SAS sergeant. The domestic issues were investigated, but not the allegations of murder.
Soldier N, whose identity cannot be disclosed, joined the SAS four years after Diana and Fayed were killed in the crash in Paris. He allegedly told his wife several times how their Mercedes limousine smashed into a pillar in the Pont de L’Alma underpass on the banks of the River Seine when an intense beam of light blinded Paul and that members of his regiment were involved.
Soldier N was reportedly interviewed at his home by Det Ch Insp Easton. His former wife was quizzed in August by two Met detectives. She is said to have told them that she firmly believed he was telling the truth.
The letter from her mother to the head of the SAS came around the time of the break-up of her 13-year marriage to Soldier N. She told civilian police that he kept a live hand grenade in the garage of the house in Hereford that he shared with Nightingale. (32)
Quote: "In September 2011, the UK Police received a seven-page letter from the former mother-in-law of a SAS sniper, Soldier N, who boasted to his wife that his unit had "arranged Princess Diana’s death".
Quote: "In September 2011, the UK Police received a seven-page letter from the former mother-in-law of a SAS sniper, Soldier N, who boasted to his wife that his unit had "arranged Princess Diana’s death".
The letter was entered as evidence during the trial of the room mate of Soldier N – Danny Nightingale.
The letter says: “He also told her (his wife) that it was the XXX who arranged Princess Diana’s death and that has been covered up”. The wife of Soldier N remarked to him how sad it was that Prince William’s mother had been killed, to which he reportedly replied: “As a matter of fact, it was the Regiment that did it”.
Soldier N said the name of the shadowy unit within the SAS responsible for “lethal operations” is “The Increment for the purposes of carrying out lethal operations on behalf of MI6”."
Following Motor Bikes
The role of the 'Paparatzi' in causing the accident was immediately identified by official sources and those at the scene were immediately rounded up, arrested and incarcerated and photographed being taken away by others (not arrested obviously) that seared the image in the public mind. Prior to the funeral and at it, Diana's brother specifically blamed the press in general and photographers in particular, of hounding, as with the mythological Greek character, to death. In the most recent BBC programme on the subject both Prince William and Prince Harry specifically deprecate the action of the paparazzi and allot much of the blame for the accident to them.
No one doubts they did hound her - sometimes it has to be said at her own instigation - but whether they materially contributed to the accident and her death, is another matter. The evidence suggests that although they were attempted to follow the car, they arrived a significant gap after the car had come to rest and were not in immediate proximity when it crashed. However witnesses state there were high powered bikes near the car but these were not photographers. So who were they, what was their function and where did they go?
Some might consider that the paparazzi though unconnected with the cause of the accident, other perhaps than the high/excessive speed of the Mercedes (an essential element of any assassination attempt) provided a very useful distraction and 'fall guy' for what happened. Whilst all attention and blame was focused on them, those truly involved and responsible could more easily escape scrutiny. That this is almost classic procedure for such cases adds to the suspicion this was pre-planned as an integral and essential component of the operation.
Numerous witnesses point to at least one, may be more, high powered bikes, passing and moving in front of the car, associated with flashes of light. Clearly these individuals - whoever they were - were not arrested. But more significantly, neither were they highlighted or accused by any of the official police investigations, the only explanation for which must be that of conspiracy and cover-up.
I can do no better than reproduce the following lawfulpath.com (33)
WITNESSES – MOTORCYCLES BIKES, DARK CAR, LIGHT FLASH
According to the Paget report Thierry Hackett, Alain Remy, Christophe Lascaux, Lionel Ronssin, the three members of the Catheline family, David Le Ny, James Huth, Olivier Partouche, Clifford Gooroovadoo, Belkacem Bouzid, Abdelatif Redjil and Gary Dean saw flashes of light in the area of the Mercedes S280before it crashed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/news/nol/sha ... report.pdf
The Paget report is 871 pages, here are some of the interesting testimonies: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... qOkYUkUhrM
Francois Levistre entered the tunnel ahead of Brenda Wells:
"In my rearview mirror, I saw the car (Mercedes 280s) in the middle of the tunnel with a motorcycle on its left, pulling ahead and then swerving to the right directly in front of the car (the Mercedes). As the motorcycle swerved and before the car lost control, there was a flash of light. But then I was out of the tunnel and heard, but did not see, the impact.
I immediately pulled my car over to the curb, but my wife said: 'Let's get out of here. It's a terrorist attack.' There were two people on the motorcycle." .
Levy added that he saw a powerful bike with two men exit the tunnel immediately after the crash.
"Already at that point, as I was travelling at 120km/hr, I could see in the distance in my rear view mirror a vehicle surrounded on either side by motorbikes. I said to my wife : “That must be someone important”. I joined the embankment via a slip-road and the convoy drew closer. I accelerated on leaving the slip-road and went into the tunnel, the one at the Alma Bridge with pillars in the middle. I would add that there was a white car between me and the convoy. I realized that the motorbikes were not police motorbikes, as there were no flashing lights. There were more than two motorbikes, travelling in tandem on each side of the car. As I was about to start to climb out of the tunnel, I could distinctly see one motorbike cut across the front of the car. There was a large white flash. I did not notice a bang. I saw the car zigzagging. I carried on driving until I was outside the tunnel, where I stopped to collect my thoughts. I realised that something serious had happened, and that the car had had an accident. I thought it might have been an assassination attempt or a gangland hit. I left, as I did not want to get involved in any more trouble. Immediately afterwards, I saw a motorbike coming out of the tunnel. It was a powerful machine, with two people on board” - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... unnel.html
Roselyne Levistre, wife of François, didn’t see the bright flash but did see a motorcycle with two people on board.
London-born Brenda Wells:
“After a party with my friends, I was returning to my home. A motorbike with two men forced me off the road. It was following a big car. Afterwards in the tunnel there were very strong lights like flashes. After that, a black cararrived. The big car had come off the road. I stopped and five or six motorbikes arrived and started taking photographs. They were crying 'It's Diana'”.
American tourist Brian Anderson:
“As I noticed the back of the Mercedes going past, that's when I saw the first of three motorbikes. The space between our car and the Mercedes I would estimate at about 5 to 6 feet. Both our taxi and the Mercedes were travelling in the same direction in our designated lanes. I have numbered the motorbikes on the sketch plan as 1, 2 and 3.
It was motorbike 3 that my attention was first drawn to. It was to the left of our taxi and just to the rear of the Mercedes. It was at this point that the noise fell into place. This motorbike was driven by a single person. This motorbike was about 2 feet from the back of the Mercedes, and was accelerating past our taxi also. I thought that the rider was able to get a lot of response from his bike.
The Mercedes past us and I then became aware of a second bike, which I have marked number 1 on the sketch plan. This was a bike which had a passenger on the rear. I noticed this bike was accelerating on and off the throttle and was to the rear left hand side of the Mercedes as it travelled forward. It appeared that it was trying to get in between the Mercedes and the low kerb in the centre of the road, which separated our two lanes from traffic flow in the opposite direction.
I remember at this point saying to the taxi driver "The guys fucking crazy". I was referring to the driver of motorcycle number 1. The Mercedes got further ahead of us and I now had a very clear view of the back of the Mercedes through the front windscreen of the taxi. I then saw the 3rd motorcycle which I have marked as number 2 on my sketch plan.
At the point when I first saw it, it was behind the Mercedes to its centre. I would estimate that motorbike 1 when I first saw it was almost touching the back of the Mercedes. The left of the Mercedes was only about a foot and a half from the central low kerb I have described and there was no way in my opinion that the driver of this bike was going to be able to pass the Mercedes in between it and the low kerb. It was seeing this that prompted my reaction to the taxi driver.
I would estimate that motorbike 2 was about 3 to 4 feet from the rear of the Mercedes. The bikes were in a cluster, like a swarm around the Mercedes. At this point, I just thought nothing of it, as it would not be uncommon to see this type of aggressive behaviour in the US. I was watching what was going on through the front windscreen”
It was at this point that from greater intensity from my left eye, I saw a flash coming from what I thought was in front of us. This flash looked like out of place light. I could not give an estimation as to the distance of the source of the flash, but it was an intense flash. I liken it to be so bright like magnesium igniting”.
"There was an almighty bang and a great big flash of light[B/]. Immediately my wife and I realized there had been a crash. My first thought was that those inside the tunnel were connected with what had happened. This thought has never left me!”.
Olivier Partouche saw the Mercedes behind [B]a dark coloured car that he described as a Ford Mondeo and pursued by a motorcycle.
Olivier Partouche: “J'ai vu deux vehicules. Le premier roulait de facon a ralentir la Mercedes. C'etait une voiture de couleur sombre de type Ford Mondeo. La Mercedes collait cette voiture. Peut-etre a 150 kilometres a l'heure.
Deriere la Mercedes, il y avait une moto. J'ai compris que le chauffeur retrogradait pour reprendre de la puissance. Dans ce cas-la, en tant que professionel, je peux dire que la voiture reagit en faisant un bond en avant violent. C'est ce qui a du se produire car j'ai entendu le crissement des pneus et le choc. Il me semble avoir vu des flashs avant l'entree du tunnel".
According to Gaelle l’Hostis:
“As we entered the Alma tunnel, we heard a loud noise of screeching tires. At that moment, in the opposite lane, we saw a large car approaching at high speed. This car swerved to the left, then went back to the right and crashed into the wall with its horn blaring. I should note that in front of this car, there was another, smaller car. I think this vehicle was black, but I'm not sure. Behind the big car there was a large motorcycle. I can't be sure how many riders were on it".
Mark Butt, who arrived on the scene with Frederic Mailliez, said that as they approached the tunnel from the west, they saw a motorcycle with a single rider emerge from the east, it stopped, made a U-turn and drove against the direction of traffic back into the tunnel.
Gary Hunter, a London lawyer, witnessed 2 cars travelling with high speed from his the window of his third-floor hotel room, less than 100 yards from the Alma tunnel in the direction of the British Embassy:
"I was watching television when I heard the crash at exactly 12:25 a.m. There was an almighty crash followed by the sound of skidding, then another crash. My initial thought was that there had been a head-on collision. I went to the window and saw people running towards the tunnel”.
Seconds later, Hunter saw a car on the Rue Jean Goujon coming from the Alma tunnel:
“I heard a screeching of tires. I saw a small dark car turning the corner at the top of the road. I would say it was racing at 60-70 mph.
My own feeling is that these were people in a hurry not to be there. I am confident that car was getting off the scene. It was obvious they were getting away from something and that they were in a hurry. It looked quite sinister. I can't recall the type of car, but it was a small dark vehicle. It could have been a Fiat Uno or a Renault”.
Hunter said the car was being shadowed by a white Mercedes.
Defective Seat Belt?
It appears that no one in the car, including the body guard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was wearing a safety belt. (See images below) He of course was also the only one to survive when the car hit the 13th pillar in the tunnel, saved it would seem by the operation of his air bag. Given this and the fact that Diana was sitting on the same side in the back, and that she did in fact survive for some time, there is little doubt that had she been wearing her belt, she would have lived.
The non-wearing of seat-belts (by front seat passenfers at least) appears to be confirmed by the next image taken on the same night:
However whether Rees-Jones was wearing one at the point of impact is subject to dispute. In 1997, French authorities investigating the wreck later confirmed he reportedly did not fasten his safety belt when he first got in the car but Henri's reckless driving and the Mercedes' increasing speed, led him to put on his seatbelt right before the vehicle crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel.
Ten years later this view was contradicted by Scotland Yard at the Coroner's Inquest when it was stated he was NOT wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash but he may have been attempting to put one on. (34)
There is therefore considerable doubt over her habit to 'belt-up' inside motor vehicles, or whether she tried to on this occasion. A professional bodyguard might be expected to have advised it, but it appears he didn't belt himself. He cannot remember events so cannot throw light on the issue. However there are persistent rumours that the clasp was faulty, so had even tried she may have been frustrated.
The issue has only recently has been given further publicity by remarks by Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 62, in an article in the Daily Express. (35)
The article quotes her as saying in the new BBC documentary 'Diana, 7 Days': "She was religious in putting on her seatbelt. Why didn't she put it on that night? I'll never know." Her husband, Lord Robert Fellows, was the Queen's private secretary at the time! A 2008 inquest into the horrific crash found the failure to wear seatbelts contributed to the deaths.
In a 2013 Daily Telegraph article it is stated that Diana's safety belt clasp was defective in such a way as to make it difficult or impossible to do up. This clearly poses the question as to why this had not been spotted, given the high profile of the person who would be protected by it, or worse, if it had been intentionally tampered with?
An image that purports to be of Diana in the car after the accident and shortly before her demise.
DIANA SEATBELT SABOTAGE PROBE
Did she and Dodi die because crash car had been tampered with?
25 Apr 2006
From Peter Allen in Paris http://www.forum.princess-diana.com/viewtopic.php?t=213
CLAIMS that the seatbelt which would have saved Princess Diana’s life was sabotaged are being investigated by detectives.
In an extraordinary development they are examining evidence that fastening pins were filed down, making it impossible for the road safety conscious royal to click her belt buckle shut before her fatal journey.
“The safety belt issue is crucial,” said a lawyer close to the investigation. “We’ve all been in the back of a car and found a faulty buckle, but the fact that both Diana and Dodi’s belts appeared not to be working is extremely sinister. Without the belts they had no chance of surviving the crash.”
Diana wore a seatbelt every time, except that fatal night
Critics of those who claim the Princess was killed by shadowy intelligence officers have always insisted there could not have been a murder plot because the Princess could have saved her life by wearing her seatbelt.
But evidence that the locking mechanism may have been tampered with would shed startling new light on one of the enduring mysteries surrounding Diana’s death.
Officers have been looking for any clues that the safety belts, or other vital components including the brakes, were tampered with, and assessed whether the vehicle was generally roadworthy. As well as being stolen it is known that the Mercedes had been involved in a “shunt” about nine months before Diana’s death. Investigators want to find out whether this affected its performance.
Despite all the hard work by the British, detectives remain furious that it took almost eight years for the car to finally reach Britain.
Souad Moufakkir, who was travelling in a car just in front of the Mercedes in the tunnel, also told of seeing a flashing light. (37)
Trevor Rees-Jones, the sole survivor of the crash has told authorities that the Mercedes was being followed by another vehicle on the night of the tragedy. According to Rees-Jones two motorbikes and one car followed the Mercedes. Rees-Jones has told investigators "I do not remember the route. It seems to me that there was one white car with a boot which opened at the back", he added. (38)
White Fiat Uno
One of the most intriguing (and suspicious) aspects of the case is the involvement of a Fiat Uno and subsequent action - or inaction - in respect of it.
As previously stated, its direct contribution to the accident cannot be doubted although the actual circumstances are unclear. There was a collision because it left its white paint on the front right hand corner of the Mercedes and witnesses reported seeing it leaving the tunnel with damage to the rear left hand side that had broken the rear tail light. However in view of the very superficial damage, the collision must have been very slight. But was it enough to interfere with the stability of the car and send it careering into the pillar? It might have been if other factors were involved such as bright lights and unroadworthy car.
Crucially the driver never did report it to the police and strenuous efforts failed to positively identify it and him so the question remains unresolved as to the exact nature of the collision. Was it by accident or design? What is even more questionable is the fact that the most likely driver and car identified by police, never was questioned or forensically investigated. One gets the distinct impression that the French police did not really want to resolve the matter.
Strangely as we have seen, Rees-Jones has vague recollections of the car with its boot up! Was this to facilitate the shining of a bright light or for some other purpose or did just result from the bang? Was the car in front of the Mercedes all along or did it enter from the feeder lane to the right?
The Daily Mail had this on the subject:
WHITE FIAT UNO – LE VAN
It has been confirmed that a white Fiat Uno was seen at the scene of the car crash that was never found. Some people claim this was the car of James Andanson. This is very unlikely.
On the crashed Mercedes, paint of a white Fiat Uno (Bianco Corfu 224) build between 1983 and 1987 was found. James Andanson owned a white Fiat Uno from 1988.
Furthermore a paparazzo wouldn’t chase a fast heavy built Mercedes in a Fiat Uno.
James Andanson provided evidence (toll tickets) that confirmed that on the night Diana died he was at home with his wife in Lignieres 170 miles south from Paris. Andanson also said that his Fiat Uno couldn’t be driven because it was broken down.
According to the following article, Le Van Thanh was driving his white Fiat Uno in the Alma tunnel in Paris when the Mercedes with Diana and Dodi crashed. According to his father Francois, Le Van immediately asked his brother Dung to repaint his car after that faithful August night in 1997.
Le Van said that the crash had ruined his life.
Several witnesses have stated that they saw a large dark dog in the back seat of the white Fiat Uno, and Le Van has confirmed that this Rottweiler was in the rear of the car: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... crash.html
So we have not one Fiat Uno (as the name might suggest) but TWO! This requires further attention.
First the following facts need to be clearly stated:
- a white Fiat Uno was on scene at the precise time the accident occurred;
- it was not only present but it had direct contact with the Mercedes, proved by the partial loss of a left hand side rear reflector found at the scene; witness reports of the car with scrape damage to its rear left hand corner; white paint on the front RH corner of the Mercedes that wasn't there when it set off, could not have come from any other source and was proved by analysis to be only used on Fiat Unos produced between 1983 and 1987;
- after exhaustive enquiries two such cars were identified as fitting the description, although the first of the two got far more attention. This as we shall see may not have been accidental either;
- The owner of the former - a noted photo-journalist, not unconnected to Diana - was found in a burnt-out car (not a Uno) and claimed to have committed suicide although the first policeman on scene has stated he had suffered from two bullet holes in the head!
- The second more likely person - for many reasons - was never actively pursued or prosecuted by police;
- A recent investigative television programme by a retired Australian detective has suggested that the collision occurred on the entrance to the tunnel, and not in it as officially suggested and that the Mercedes actually left the road scraping a retaining wall before losing control. This explanation also may be suspect given its source.
There is enough evidence here to pose the question what happened with the Fiat Uno, why was it there at the crucial time, why did the driver not stop or report the collision particularly if s/he were innocent, why did the police not pursue, and treat so casually, the identified driver nor investigate the suspicious death of the individual first implicated?
All these features make the Fiat Uno a crucial and highly suspicious element of a generally suspicious event.
Rather akin to the attention given the paparazzi, the fact that attention was directed at a famous journalist who had followed Diana closely and owned a white Fiat Uno can hardly be coincidental. He was of course able to prove beyond doubt that his car and he, could not have been involved, but it certainly served to distract from the more likely car and person later revealed.
That Andanson was later discovered in his burnt out car with an almost plausible account of suicide through grief and guilt might have worked were it not for the evidence of Christophe Pelat the first fireman on scene who testified that Adanson had two bullet holes in the head.
This of course fits a classic assassin profile. First accuse the wrong person, then ensure they are "neutralised" as the French are fond of saying. If Adanson was murdered as part of a distraction cover-up of the real driver and car, it would conclusively indicate that the Mercedes crash itself was no accident but a premeditated operation.
The Express reported as follows:
Le Van Thanh, a Parisian taxi driver, owned a white Fiat Uno identical to the one that struck Diana's Mercedes seconds before it smashed into a concrete pillar. The coroner, Lord Justice Scott-Baker, believes he holds crucial information about what took place in the Alma tunnel ten years ago. (40)
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Earlier, two other witnesses identified a former security guard as the driver of a white Fiat Uno which was seen emerging from the tunnel where the crash happened.
Georges and Sabine Dauzonne both picked out Le Van Thanh as the man they saw "driving erratically" out of the Alma underpass and checking his rear-view mirrors as if "bothered" by something behind him.
The jury has already been told that the Mercedes clipped a white Fiat Uno as it entered the Alma underpass in Paris, then crashed into a pillar seconds later.
The Fiat and its driver have never been traced and it the car has become central to conspiracy theories surrounding the Princess's death. Mohamed Fayed, whose son Dodi also died in the crash, has suggested the couple were killed by MI6 on the orders of Prince Philip, with the Fiat helping to cause the crash.
Mr Dauzonne was trying to join an expressway next to the Alma underpass when he had to brake to avoid the Fiat.
Two pictures of Le Van Thanh were shown to the witnesses, together with pictures of other possible drivers. Nobody in the pictures was identified to the jury but images of Le Van Thanh have been widely circulated.
Mrs Dauzonne said: "It is very difficult but I would say the man in the first two photographs clearly rings a bell."
Shown the images separately, Mr Dauzonne also singled out the images of Mr Van Thanh.
Mr Dauzonne, who was driving a Rolls Royce, told the court that as he went on to the slip road, he thought the Fiat was driving erratically because its driver "was drunk".
"My first impression was it was Saturday night at half past midnight in Paris, I thought someone drunk was driving that car - then I realised he was doing something with a mirror," he said.
Le Van Thanh. Moments later Langevin slipped around to the rear of the hotel, and took the picture of Diana through the front of the car windscreen!