Ten years ago the whole world was grieving for Princess Diana, the legendary lady, who tragically died in one of the most terrible car accidents of the 20th century.
On August 31, 1997 at 0:27 a.m. a car with Princess Diana, her boyfriend Dodi al-Fayed, driver Henrie Paul and Diana’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones ran into the 13th bridge pillar of the Place d'Alma underpass . Dodi and the driver died immediately, whereas the Princess died at about 4:00 a.m. at a hospital.
According to the first version of the accident reported by investigators, several paparazzi photographers that were following Diana’s Mercedes on scooters were to blame for the tragedy. It was said that one of the scooters was probably an obstacle for the Mercedes driver, and with the view of avoiding a clash the driver accidentally hit the bridge pillar. However, witnesses of the tragedy stated that the paparazzi scooters got into the tunnel several seconds after Diana’s Mercedes which meant they on no occasion could provoke the car accident. What is more, there is no official evidence that could prove that the paparazzi were actually guilty of the tragedy.
Investigators of Diana’s tragic death say that the car accident probably occurred because of some other auto that was staying in the tunnel when the princess’s car drove in it. The police found debris of a Fiat Uno car right at the site where Diana’s Mercedes crashed. The discovered debris allowed the police figure out all the characteristics of the car. The police managed to determine even the year of manufacture and the color, but the exact information and witnesses’ evidence about the driver’s looks did not help find the car. Witnesses said they saw a white Fiat Uno zigzagging out of the tunnel several seconds after the tragedy; it seemed that the driver was looking into the rear-view mirror as if there was something terrible behind the car. Later, the witnesses sounded confusing as concerning the white car at the accident site so that it was not clear if the Fiat Uno actually existed or not.
Some details of the tragedy that have never been published before are coming to light now. It turns out that as soon as Diana’s Mercedes went into the tunnel the twilight was dispelled with a bright flash of light that blinded everyone inside the car and around it. In an instant, the break chatter broke the night silence. The version was spread at the suggestion of former MI-6 officer Richard Tomlinson who said that the way the Princess died resembled the plan to assassinate Slobodan Milosevic plotted by British special services. He said that it was planned to blind the Yugoslav president in a tunnel. The police were reluctant to mention the flash of light in official protocols of the investigation. Several months later, British and French newspapers published a sensational report by Richard Tomlinson saying that someone probably used modern laser weapons adopted by special services to provoke the car accident in the tunnel.
How did the Fiat debris get into the tunnel? Why was it so problematic to find the auto when the police knew its technical characteristics? The press insists that British special services were prepared for the tragedy: they placed the Fiat debris in the tunnel stealthily beforehand as they wanted to make the premeditated crash look as a mere car accident. The special services knew that one of the most successful and famous paparazzi of Paris James Andanson who was known as driving a white Fiat Uno would certainly be very close to Diana trying to make pictures of the celebrity.
Mass media reported that the special services could not prove that the paparazzo was guilty of the car tragedy as many witnesses had seen James Andanson without his white Fiat Uno in the evening when the tragedy occurred. At the same time, the paparazzo was seen in the tunnel few minutes after the car accident occurred. Some witnesses also saw an auto resembling his Fiat Uno but with some other number, may be a false one. This is strange that the paparazzo spent hours in front of the Ritz Hotel waiting for a moment to make a sensational picture of Diana and Dodi but suddenly left the place even before the couple left the hotel and went to the tunnel. Right after the accident the paparazzo suddenly disappeared from the car crash site and in the middle of the night he left Paris for Corsica. Some time later he was found dead in a burnt car in the Pyrenees; all documents and pictures concerning Diana’s death were stolen from his office in Paris. It is not ruled out that Andanson was liquidated either as an unwanted witness or the principal offender.
Another witness of the car accident who was close to the crashed Mercedes in the tunnel, reporter James Kit died at a hospital in September 1999. He was to undergo just a simple surgery on his knee but told his friends that he felt as if he would never leave the hospital alive. The reporter planned to publish some documents about the tunnel car accident soon after his discharge from the hospital. Several hours after his death a website with the details of his private investigation and all the documents he was holding in connection with the crime were liquidated.
It is quite logical that the police wanted to see records of the road video surveillance to find out how many autos were inside of the tunnel at the moment of the crash and how that could occur at all. But when road workers opened the boxes with surveillance devices they were surprised to know that the system was out of order.
In July 1999, newspapers of the world reported that the car crash in the Alma tunnel had occurred because of Mercedes driver Henrie Paul who was also the chief of the Ritz security service. The investigators insisted that the driver was drunk. An official spokesperson of Al-Fayed says that at first it was officially reported that the car was moving at a speed of 180 kilometers per hour and thus got into a traffic accident. But now it is written in the case that the accident occurred when the car was moving at a speed of just 60 kilometers per hour. That was a rather sensational statement. According to the investigation, blood tests of the driver proved that he was awfully drunk at the moment of the tragedy. The alcohol level in his blood made up 1.78 pro mils which was equal to drinking ten glasses of wine. But this amount of level would have certainly changed the driver’s behavior. However, none of the people who saw the driver and the celebrities in the hotel noticed that the man could be drunk that hard. It is known that Dodi would not let a drunk driver drive his car, so it is strange that the press reports that the tragedy occurred because of a drunk driver.
The driver’s blood test was ready in 24 hours after the tragedy but was officially reported just in two years. Within the two years after the tragedy the investigation was still working to prove the paparazzo’s guilt of the crime.
It is not ruled out however that blood samples could be confused in the morgue, and some false blood tests could be taken for the blood test of Henrie Paul.
The investigation insists that Henrie Paul is the official culprit of the tragedy and shows him an absolute alcoholic. Is it really possible that the security chief of the elite hotel could be an alcoholic and drug addict as the investigation presents him? Acquaintances said he was no alcoholic at all. What is more, shortly before the tragedy Henrie Paul had his blood tests done privately to extend his flying license as he was an amateur pilot. Doctors discovered no traces of latent alcoholism or any drugs in his blood.
Forty minutes before the tragedy Diana had no idea that he and Dodi would not go in the car of Dodi’s bodyguard. The investigation said they had to go in an auto of the Ritz security chief Henrie Paul because the bodyguard’s car was out of order which was not true as the bodyguard confessed eight years later.
Dina’s bodyguard took a front seat close to the driver which is the most dangerous place in case a traffic accident occurs but survived. But Dodi and Diana who were taking the rear seats died. Unfortunately, the survivor can not tell anything about the car accident as he has amnesia. It is not clear if he may recover one day to tell something about the tunnel tragedy.
Experts say that the Princess died because doctors still hesitated to take her to the hospital. Some of them believed it was too late to go to a hospital, so some procedures were done right in an ambulance car.
When Diana died it was decided that her body would be taken to London with a special flight. It usually takes not more than an hour to fly to London from Paris, and there were no reasons to keep Diana’s body in Paris longer. When the body was taken to a hospital in London it turned out that Diana was embalmed promptly after her death which was contrary to the established regulations. So, preparation for burial was started right in Paris. That was done contrary to the French law on the instructions of the British Embassy that had got necessary instructions from a certain person. It was a problem to determine the person who had given such instructions. Medications usually used for embalming make it impossible to have repeated expertise of a dead body. The embalming of the Princess’s body was obviously done to make it impossible for British doctors to find out what was Diana’s health condition seconds before the tragedy.
The strange fact gave rise to a version saying that some gas was probably spread in the auto where Diana and Dodi were leaving the hotel which made the driver loose his senses and provoked the tragedy. There is no opportunity to confirm or to refute the version.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Al-Fayed, Dodi’s father is perfectly sure that Diana’s body was embalmed to conceal the fact of her pregnancy from Dodi. All documents concerning the tragedy in the Alma tunnel are classified; it is just made public that Diana died because of internal hemorrhage.
Investigators of Paris insist that although many experts say that the car accident was definitely a plot against the Princess everything that occurred in the French tunnel was a mere car accident.
In Russia, Igor Prokopenko made a film titled "An English Murder." The author of the film says the film was not at all an attempt to go into details of the Royal Family’s life. Diana’s death was the most scandalous tragedy after killing US President John F. Kennedy and the film-makers just wanted to understand how crimes of the kind were investigated in the West. Igor Prokopenko is sure that American special services played a certain role in the story. It is known that they were spying on Diana especially during the last months of her life. We could certainly learn many interesting facts in connection with her tragic death if they made their files concerning Diana unclassified.
Translated by Maria Gousseva
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