BBC HOW DIANA DIED : THE CONSPIRACY FILES
She was the people’s princess. An iconic figure. But was Princess Diana murdered by the secret service, on the orders of the British establishment?She died in Paris, in a high speed car crash trying to escape the paparazzi.
Rosa Monckton: ‘because she was such an extraordinary women, people find it completelyunacceptable that someone like that should have such an ordinary death, a car crash’.Her companion Dodi Al Fayed and their driver were also killed. The French Police concluded it was a tragic accident. But Dodi’s grieving father has refused to accept this verdict.
more about Rosa Monckton: http://www.rosamonckton.com/index.php/home/home
Mohammed Al Fayed: ‘This is the most famous the most beautiful woman in the world, she is the mother of the future king she was murdered with my son. Conspiracy theories have gripped the public imagination as a result of doubts raised about the French crash investigation.Were blood samples switched, which showed Diana’s driver was drunk?Why has a crucial witness, the driver of a second car involved in the crash, never been identified?How could it take close on 2 hours
to get Princess Diana to a hospital just 4 miles away?
more on Mr Mohammed Al Fayed: http://www.alfayed.com/
Nicholas Davies :The more we are left with so many unanswered questions, the more we are left saying there is only one answer to this, that she was taken out’. The former head of the Metropolitan Police has spent nearly three years reinvestigating the crash.
Lord Stevens: This is a very intricate investigation. Every single aspect of conspiracy theories and the like will be looked at by my team.This week he’s due to deliver his report. Tonight we investigate if there was a conspiracy to murder Princess Diana. Paris, August 30th 1997. The Ritz Hotel.Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed hurry into the hotel owned by Dodi’s father. Hounded by the paparazzi, they’re forced to abandon plans for a romantic meal at an exclusive restaurant. Dodi decides to take Princess Diana back to his apartment on the Champs Elysees. Henri Paul, the deputy head of security, is called back to drive the stressed couple. A plan to avoid the paparazzi is hatched.
Their usual driver and the back up security vehicle are sent to the front of the Ritz.Princess Diana, Dodi, Henri Paul and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones attempt to slip out of the back of the hotel. But the paparazzi are not fooled and give chase. Rather than taking the direct route to Dodi’s apartment, the Mercedes tries to outrun the paparazzi. They head for a dual carriageway by the River Seine 4 minutes later the car enters the Alma tunnel.
The Conservative Lord Stevens: http://biographies.parliament.uk/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=38&menu=81&biog=y&id=45293&group=5&Page=Lord%20Stevens%20of%20Kirkwhelpington%20:%20Political%20Biography
BBC Archive :‘Reports are coming that Princess Diana has been injured in a car crash. ‘
CNN archive: ‘This is CNN breaking news, in Paris, France, tonight a tragedy,
Britain’s Princess Diana, has been in an automobile accident.’
BBC Archive: ’the princess companion Dodi Al Fayed and the car chauffeur were killed in the accident A bodyguard in the car was also badly injured.’ Princess Diana’s death was met with an outpouring of public grief. There was bewilderment that her life, played out in the public gaze, and guarded in its every move, could be cut short so suddenly. Diana was just 36 years old. She’d left behind 2 young sons. Within hours of the crash, elaborate conspiracy theories started to appear
on the internet, suggesting Princess Diana was murdered.Former royal correspondent, Noel Botham, claims she sensed danger.
Noel Botham ‘Diana was fearful of her own death for the last few year of her life, right up to the moment of the accident she believed somebody was out there to get her and she was right.’The Diana crash investigation was the biggest in French history. It was carried out by the country’s top police force, the Criminal brigade. After two years it concluded her death was a tragic accident.
The driver of the Mercedes, Henri Paul, was held to blame for the crash. He was found to be drunk. But this has failed to satisfy the public clamour for answers. So was Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, really drunk at the wheel?Just 8 hours after the accident, the French Police carried out a post mortem here at the Medical Legal Institute. Tests on Henri Paul’s blood samples, showed he was
clearly drunk. The results were meant to be confidential but were leaked to the press.
BBC news archive: ‘Today revealed that driver Henri Paul 3 times over limit cause of crash. Henri Paul who also died in the accident is now centre of the investigation by the French Police.’Conspiracy theorists believe the leak was designed to close the case as quickly as possible and hide a much more elaborate plot. I think right from the very beginning the police decided that they had a, an easy scapegoat. A man who was dead. a man who couldn't argue back, ‘It was a set up, they wanted to blame this man, This news went round the world and he was instantly labelled the killer of Princess Diana. The refusal to accept the official verdict gained momentum. American investigative journalist Gerald Posner suggested the high alcohol reading in
Henri Paul’s blood could have been wrong.
Gerald Posner, Investigative Journalist: I saw confidential reports from the first autopsy
of Henri Paul it was riddled with errors and omissions. The body itself was left out for several hours before it was refrigerated yeast could have grown effecting the final results to what the blood levels, alcohol levels were’ Serious errors were made at the morgue which French officials initially denied.
Henri Paul’s blood samples were not labelled correctly. There was no log or record as to who had access to the samples. Sceptics maintain the blood was tampered with, to frame the dead driver.
Gerald Posner:There were certainly mistakes and omissions made as happens in many autopsies but by the French hiding that information they have given grist to the conspiracy theorist who believe that they are hide hiding evidence of a murder.
Mohamed Al Fayed, the millionaire owner of Harrods, called a press conference, shortly after the crash. His spokesman Michael Cole said he could show that their employee, Henri Paul was not drunk.
About Gerald Posner: http://www.posner.com/author.htm
Michael Cole archive:Henri Paul did not have any appearance of being overexcited and drunk
as a pig, a quotation which incidentally appeared again in the Evening Standard this evening….You will see the evidence yourself.Before the world’s press- they released CCTV from the Ritz. Night manager, security manager, next will be the concierge and finally Henri Paul’
Royal Biographer Nicholas Davies finds the CCTV persuasive.
Nicholas Davies, Author ‘ Diana: The Killing of a Princess: There was no suggestion at all in any
of the pictures that I’ve ever seen on CCTV to suggest that he wasn’t stone cold sober, and
we have no evidence at all of people saying yes, I saw him drinking, so we must assume that
he wasn’t drunk and he wasn’t drinking.
The footage also shows Henri Paul chatting to Diana’s bodyguards - Trevor Rees-Jones and
Kez Wingfield.Noel Botham: The two bodyguards swore that Henri Paul was not drunk when he
got in the car to drive Diana and Dodi. They said their job would have been on the line.
Henri Paul returned to the Ritz at 10 p.m. on the night of the crash. He’d been off duty for 3 hours.
The French police checked to see if he’d been drinking in the bars close to his home near the hotel.
Nicholas Davies: There was no single witness come forward to say that he was drinking, and
we also - we also know that only three days before he had had a rigorous pilot’s
medical examination and there was no suggestion in that that he was a drinker, or a drunkard. Henri Paul had been a pilot for over 20 years and had clocked up 600 hours of flying time.
Claude Garrec was Henri Paul’s best friend. He had lunch with Paul on the day he died.
Claude Garrec:‘I absolutely don’t believe that the accident was the fault of my friend. If you can fly a plane, at night, at 155 miles an hour, in the rain, you know what you are doing. Within days of the crash, French officials realised the controversy over whether Henri Paul was drunk or not, was getting out of hand. They ordered a second post mortem.The results were the same as the first. He was 3 times over the French limit.Professor Pounder, is a leading forensic pathologist. He analysed the post mortem results for the British Medical Journal.
Professor Derrick Pounder, Forensic Pathologist, Dundee University:
The second post mortem examination in terms of the toxicological analysis was the best one could er expect of anyone er it really was er a first class er analysis of drugs or alcohol in the body’. ‘They took hair specimens and other tissue specimens, so that as a result of those analyses we know that the blood alcohol level is reliable. The tests also revealed traces of a drug used to treat alcoholics. The concentrations suggested he’d been taking it for at least three months along with the antidepressant Prozac.
Professor Pounder:What is absolutely clear is that Henry Paul had been drinking heavily and he was drunk when he was driving that vehicle not only that he was taking an anti depressant which he should not have been while taking that drug and both the alcohol and drug in combination would have impaired his ability to drive the motor vehicle. But both post mortems yielded an unusual finding that was seized upon by those convinced of a cover-up.
Henri Paul’s blood samples contained unusually high levels of carbon monoxide.
Mohamed Al Fayed suspected foul play.
Mohamed Al Fayed:‘If you have carbon monoxide of 24% in the blood, you can’t walk, for I am certain there is foul play, I am certain it’s not Henri Paul’s blood, and straight away…drunken driver…it’s just unbelievable.’Conspiracy theorists now fixed on the idea that the driver’s blood samples had been switched.
Noel Botham:‘I was told there were twenty-two people who died in Paris that night which were investigable deaths, for one reason or another. One of them was a man who drank half a bottle or more of Vodka - who sat in his car, tied, having tied a hosepipe from the exhaust to the inside of the car and killed himself - with carbon monoxide poisoning….That man's blood, according to my police spokesman has, who I got in the pathologist's lab, that man's blood is the blood that was substituted for Henri Paul's.
‘Martine Monteil, the head of the French Judicial Police who investigated the crash, is outraged at the suggestion.
Martine Monteil, Head of French Police Investigation: ‘These stories of switched test tubes are nonsense. Henry Paul’s blood samples have never been switched’ She says framing Henri Paul would have required a huge conspiracy, corrupting a whole chain of police and forensic investigators.
Martine Monteil, Head of French Police Investigation:The people at the Criminal Brigade, The morgue and the toxicology laboratories are all highly respected specialists. They have worked on important crime scenes, on terrorist attacks. You think that these people would compromise themselves by switching blood samples? Professor Pounder believes there is an innocent explanation for the high carbon monoxide in Paul’s blood.
Professor Pounder:Carbon monoxide as a result of cigar smoking er can be easily as high as twenty percent Once we were aware that Henry Paul was a heavy cigar smoker, we can readily explain the carbon monoxide level and we need look no further. Recently French officials took one final step to confound their critics. We’ve discovered they tested Henri Paul’s blood and matched it with his parents DNA. The blood was his. It wasn’t switched.The official investigation maintains the Mercedes car carrying Princess Diana was driving too fast.
But sceptics suspect it’s another attempt to demonise Henri Paul and hide the real story.Jean Claude Mules was Monteil’s deputy, in The Criminal Brigade. His team concluded that before it entered the Alma tunnel Diana’s car was going between 75 and 95 miles per hour. The speed limit is just 30 miles per hour.
Jean-Claude Mules, Criminal Brigade Commander 1991-2002 :The driver of the Mercedes almost certainly lost control of the vehicle here, which explains why he braked and why there are tyre marks on the tarmac. The experts examined these facts, and some of them concluded that he was driving at a very, very high speedWorking from the official French Police map of the accident site we’ve reconstructed the crash. For a speeding car the approach to the Alma Tunnel is difficult. It involves a left turn and a sharp dip. It’s here where the car appears to lose control, before hitting the 13th Pillar.
Jean-Claude Mules, Criminal Brigade Commander 1991-2002 :The road has a downward slope of 6 percent. If the slope is taken at high speed, there is a small pull on the steering wheel, which could explain why the driver lost control of the vehicle."The Alma Tunnel is an accident black spot.In the 15 years before Princess Diana’s death, eight people died and another eight were seriously injured there.
But conspiracists don’t accept that the Mercedes was being driven at high speeds and was out of control. Noel Botham says he’s found evidence which proves the car was going much slower than the official French account.
Noel Botham, Author ‘ The Murder of Princess Diana’:‘I discovered through a friendly solicitor in Paris, who was acting for one of the principals in this investigation. That solicitor got hold of a photograph taken from the CCTV camera at the entrance to Alma tunnel, it was taken a couple of seconds before Diana died,’ Botham has a copy of the photograph, which he claims shows the car was only travelling at 64 miles per hour.
Noel Botham: ‘It’s taken through the windscreen of a car, it’s very obviously a CCTV speed camera shot’ You can very clearly see Henri Paul on the right, the driver, Rees-Jones, the bodyguard on the left, and in the back are Diana and Dodi.’ The head of the French investigation, Martine Monteil, is adamant the picture was not from a CCTV camera.
Martine Monteil, Head of French Police Investigation:‘We checked all the CCTV camera’s for the whole route. From the back of the Ritz hotel, all the way to the tunnel but unfortunately no image was recorded.’ Embarrassingly for the French Authorities it seems all the CCTV cameras along the route were switched off after 9 pm. Noel Botham doesn’t accept this and claims his picture is proof of a police cover up.
Noel Botham: They say that starting from the Ritz, which is next the The ministry of defence, that the camera outside the ministry of defence weren’t working, none of the cameras in the Place De Le Concorde and Rue de Rivoli, all along this route or the entrance of the tunnel. All eleven cameras for some reason were not functioning correctly on that night of all nights.’ So where did it come from? We’ve established that the picture is one of those seized from the arrested paparazzi photographers. It was actually taken as the Mercedes pulled away from the Ritz. It’s not a CCTV still from the Alma tunnel. So despite the conspiracists attempt to prise open gaps in the police account, the available evidence suggests the Mercedes was travelling too fast. The crash investigation has one crucial piece of missing evidence. The conspiracists believe it’s proof the fatal crash was engineered and investigators are hiding the truth.It begins with Commander Mules who on the night found evidence that the Mercedes hit another car before it crashed.
Jean-Claude Mules:I found orange, white and red bits of plastic on the ground, they looked like indicator lights from a car. The debris was grouped together. It was 'fresh'. You could assume that it was probably from a collision between the Mercedes and another car."Mules also found a trail of white paint on the Mercedes.Forensic tests revealed the white paint and broken lights came from a Fiat Uno that had been manufactured between 1983 and 1987.There were 10,000 white Fiat Uno’s in France that matched that description and were still on the road. Our reconstruction shows what happened. As the Mercedes speeds towards the tunnel, The Uno comes down a slip road. The Mercedes speeds over the dip and looses control. It clips the back of a Fiat Uno before crashing. The Uno has never been found, and conspiracy theorists believe it’s because the driver was part of the murder plot.
Noel Botham:This was a vital witness to that accident. If he was an innocent person, he must have known he'd been hit by the Mercedes, he must have seen in his rear mirror the Mercedes hit the pillar he didn't stop never came forward, yet a vital witness. This is what determined in my mind that this was not accident.The French search for the Fiat Uno focused on two districts west of Paris, on the basis of a partial sighting of the number plate by two witnesses.
Jean-Claude Mules:We must have checked 3 and a half to 4,000 vehicles over many many months. We checked every single town in the 92nd and 78th districts. In each town there were quite a few people who owned that type of vehicle."3 months after the crash the French police thought they’d found their man.
Gerald Posner: In the search of the database of white Fiat Uno's registered in and around Paris the police had zeroed on one car they thought might fit the description and three months after the accident they detained Le Van Thanh, a 23 year old at that time vietnamese. Le Van Thanh was a security guard who owned the right model of Fiat, from the right year, It had been repainted, from white to red, the day after the Alma tunnel crash. He lived in the right area of Paris and owned a rottweiler. An eyewitness remembered seeing a large dog in the back of the Uno. The police had plenty to ask Van Thanh.
Martine Monteil:We investigated that man. We did forensic tests on his car. We found the white paint underneath the red paint and then tested it. Then we looked into this man’s whereabouts. We did everything we could and in the end we were able to clear him.We contacted Le Van Thanh. He told us he’d provided a witness to show that on the night of the crash, he was working as a security guard on the outskirts of Paris. But the forensic evidence has taken on a life of its own.
Gerald Posner:I've seen some of the confidential reports from the French police that they have not yet released to the public which contrary to their own public admissions says that they did find a match with some of the rubber on the Mercedes and also the paint to Le Van Thanh’s Fiat it actually matched the exact brand of the paint.The French Police have closed the case on Le Van Thanh and scores of other Fiat owners. They’ve abandoned the hunt for the missing driver, leaving the conspiracists to develop their own explanation.
Nicholas Davies: They did not wish to find who was driving the fiat Uno, because it would have lead to complication with determining whether she had been killed or whether it was an accident. It’s likely the British inquiry will find the absence of this crucial eyewitness, a significant flaw in the French investigation but reject the conspiracists’ claim that the French police pulled their punches.In the immediate aftermath of the crash every detail of what happened was analysed worldwide. American conspiracy theorists started to question the medical treatment Princess Diana received that night. And this began to shape their TV coverage.
US TV Archive:‘For some as yet explained reason it took 1 hour 43 minutes from the time of the crash to deliver Diana to a hospital that was only 3.8 kilometers away.’Sceptics believe that when the car crash failed to kill Princess Diana outright, her treatment was deliberately delayed to ensure her death. The French Ambulance service was on the scene 6 minutes after crash.But sceptics point out that it was over 50 minutes before Diana began her journey to hospital.
Dr Andre Lienhart reviewed the emergency services response for the French investigation. This is his first interview.
Professor Andre LienhartExpert Medical witness :Great efforts were made to safely remove the people from the wreckage of the car. Princess Diana, in particular, had to be placed on a stretcher to remove her from the car. While she was being removed, she suffered a brief cardiac arrest, so we needed time to stabilise her.
Witnesses were astonished to see the ambulance travelling at little over walking speed.
Professor Andre LienhartExpert Medical witness :The transfer to the hospital was deliberately slow, because for people whose blood circulation is very unstable, we know even a slight acceleration or deceleration can cause cardiac arrest.
"Princess Diana was transferred to the Pitie Salpietrie hospital – ignoring five other hospitals that were closer.
Professor Andre LienhartExpert Medical witness :"La Pitie-Salpetriere was chosen for its expertise in treating serious trauma, most importantly, chest trauma.’Diana had suffered a massive tear in the main pulmonary vein to her heart.
Archive of Press Conference at Hospital: ‘Despite the closure of this laceration and an external and internal heart massage for two hours, no circulation could be restored, and the death was declared at 4 a.m..’
Professor Andre LienhartExpert Medical witness :I don’t think it's possible to stop rumours. If people want to believe in a conspiracy, It's impossible to prove them wrong. What is clear from all the medical staff and paramedics working that night, is that they wanted to save the person in front of them. That is absolutely indisputable.The French Police have also been heavily criticised for the way they dealt with the accident scene.
Gerald Posner Investigative Journalist: I found significant flaws in the French police probe at the accident scene as a matter of fact the accident scene wasn't even closed off for one hour until the Chief of the French Police arrived dozens of tourist and local French citizens were able to stroll around the scene of the crash the car itself some took souvenirs with them nobody took witness names literally several dozen witnesses left that night without ever being even identified by the French police so it started off bungling from the very get go. The tunnel was reopened just four and half hours after the accident. For the conspiracists it smacks once again of a cover up. They believe the authorities were hiding evidence of a murder.
Nicolas Davies:Within hours everything was removed, washed down, filtered and so right, that’s the end of that one. It’s extraordinary that they should have got rid of any possible evidence that was there so quickly, when the Princess of Wales was the person who had died. ‘The head of the French police inquiry says the passengers in the car were not the issue.
Martine Monteil: We were not going to block the traffic for three days or a week on such a busy road. I mean, we'd taken all our photos, measured everything, gone over the whole area with a fine-tooth comb...That's the process we use for any traffic accident.Whatever the sceptics’ claims of police failures and cover ups that night, one simple fact remains hard to deal with.
Professor Lienhart:What is certain is that she was not wearing a seatbelt and this made things worse. We would like to think that if she had been wearing a seatbelt, we'd been able to save her."It’s now nearly ten years since Princess Diana died. People from all over the world still travel to the Alma tunnel to pay their respects. In that time, conspiracy theorists have worked up an elaborate back story to explain the means and motive, for what they believe was a murder plot .
Nicholas Davies:‘I believe that she was killed and I believe our security services were behind it.’The conspiracy requires a reinterpretation of the events in Diana’s life. Her fairytale marriage to Prince Charles in 1981 captured the world’s imagination. Her beauty and innocent charm reinvigorated the Royal Family.But the marriage disintegrated and the dream turned sour. In a break from tradition she shared publicly her sense of being cast aside by the establishment.
Princess Diana speaking on BBC Panorama.November 1995:
People’s agendas change overnight I was now the separated wife of the Prince of Wales. I was a problem. I was a liability, seen as and how are we going to deal with her. They see me as a threat of some kind.Diana refused to fade away. She championed causes with clear political overtones – campaigning against the use of landmines. She relished going beyond the brief of a traditional Royal. Diana was on a total collision course with the British establishment…she didn’t trust the establishment, she didn’t thrust the security services in Britain because she had been bugged at Kensington palace for years… she was aware that she was being watched and afraid she was being watched ’.
In July 1997 – just six weeks before her death Princess Diana went on holiday to the south of France with an unlikely host – Mohamed Al Fayed. The Egyptian multi-millionaire owner of Harrods was a controversial figure who’d been refused a British passport. Al Fayed’s revenge was to reveal he’d been secretly paying Conservative MP Neil Hamilton to ask questions about his case in Parliament was evidence of sleaze which helped bring down the last Conservative government.
Noel Botham:Inviting herself on a holiday with Mohammed Al Fayed was Diana being at her naughtiest, at her most mischievous. This was a chance to poke a finger at the British establishment and the royal lovers the toadiests, as she called them um.
On the holiday, she met Mohammed’s son Dodi. The press speculated that their relationship could be serious.A fortnight later the couple arrived in Paris. Dodi left the Ritz to pick up a ring he had ordered for Diana from this jewellery shop. Six hours later the couple were both dead.
Five days after the crash, Al Fayed’s press spokesman, Michael Cole, attached no significance to the ring.
Michael Cole: What that ring meant we should probably never know and If the planet lasts for another thousand years I am quite sure that people will continue to speculate about it’s significance.But 8 months later Mohamed Al Fayed claimed the couple told him on the day they died the ring held a very special significance.
Mohamed Al Fayed:They called me, say what’s happening and then were having dinner and after that going back to the apartment and we’re coming on Sunday and on Monday, they’re going to declare their engagement.
Q- Did Dodi tell you that? Did Diana tell you that?
MAF – Dodi told me that, Diana told me that. On Saturday evening, at Ten O’Clock in the Hotel. Noel Botham:The possibility of Diana marrying Dodi Fayed challenged every single idea of British monarchy, or every traditional idea of the British monarchy. But was marriage to Dodi on the cards? Princess Diana’s close friend Rosa Monckton was on holiday with her 3 weeks before she died.
Rosa Monckton:She talked about him and in my view it was very much a fling that, you know, most of us have in our teens but she didn’t because she was engaged when she was nineteen. She was happy at the time, yes she was, I couldn’t and wouldn’t deny that but it’s not something that would have lasted.
She did say that he’d given her a lot of presents, almost too many presents, and she said I know there is a ring, he’s told me there’s a ring and she said it’s going very firmly, Rosa on my right hand, so no, she wasn’t contemplating marriage with him. But equally Mohamed Al Fayed will never be persuaded to abandon the word of his own son. He believes not only that the marriage was a serious proposition but also that it provided the motive for the British Establishment to commit murder.
Prince Phillip will never have allowed my son as an Egyptian naturally tanned, to be the stepfather of Prince William the future king. Mohamed Al Fayed claims the Prince Phillip was behind the assassination plot. Question You feel what happened was caused by authorised by Prince Philip?
Mohamed Al Fayed:‘Definitely through the security services. Himself a racist, it is well known, grown up with a Nazi…,You think he will accept my son to marry Princess Diana, the mother of the future king of England.’ It’s a shocking allegation but Mohammed Al Fayed is not alone in believing the couple were murdered.
Conspiracy theorists believe the security services orchestrated the crash. It casts the events of that night in a completely different light.The most direct route from the Ritz hotel to Dodi’s apartment was along the Champs ElyseeFor some reason the driver, Henri Paul, set off in a different direction, heading west towards the Alma tunnel. Conspiracists believe he took this route not to escape the paparazzi but because he was told to by his intelligence handlers.
Nicholas Davies: Henri Paul is told what to do presumably by the French secret service, and why would he be told that. There’s only one reason, because something was planned and I maintain very strongly that what was planned was the killing of Diana.It’s accepted that Henri Paul, as deputy head of security at the Ritz, came into contact with a number of security services. But conspiracists go much further.
Noel Botham:Henri Paul was in the pay of British Intelligence, particularly MI6. He was in the pay of the Paris police and Paris Special Branch. He was in the pay of the American intelligence services. And Henri Paul made a great deal of money out of it. After his death it was discovered that Henri Paul had a hundred and forty thousand pounds in six bank accounts in Paris.’A British spy gave credence to the theory. Former MI6 agent Richard Tomlinson came forward with a sensational claim about Henri Paul.
Richard Tomlinson: It’s well established that he went missing 2 or three hours before on the night of his death. It could well be that he was with a MI6 handler during that time.But there’s a problem with the conspiracy. It’s potentially a suicide mission. It requires Henri Paul to be both perpetrator and patsy.
Noel Botham:Obviously he was tricked as much as, as, as, as his clients, as Dodi and Diana, because he didn't take that route knowing he was going to die - clearly. Jean Claude Mules investigated Henri Paul’s links to the secret services, and found he was just a low level informant for the French police.
Jean Claude Mules The person in charge of security at a large Parisian hotel automatically has contacts, good contacts with the Police. He will know the important people who are coming in and out of Paris. But to say that every month he receives a fat envelope from the Secret Services, in my opinion, is just absurd.’Soon after the accident a witness came forward who claimed to be driving through the tunnel on the night.
Francois Levistre’s story neatly fitted the conspiracy of secret service involvement in the crash. On an ITV programme Levistre was questioned and claimed to have seen a massive flash of light before the accident.
ITV Archive Nick Owen:The Flash – was this flash like a photo-flash?
Francois Levistre:No it was stronger than a photoflash. The Mercedes goes the left, right, left. ITN Royal Correspondent of the time, Nick Owen developed the theory.
ITV Archive Nick Owen:Now this is an anti-personnel device quite legal to buy in the UK, which sets off one enormously powerful flash light. Shine this in somebody’s eyes and they’ll be stunned, disabled, blinded for several minutes.So was this flash gun the spooks weapon of choice?Ex spy Richard Tomlinson claimed MI6 planned to use exactly this piece of kit to orchestrate a fatal car crash in a tunnel. The target was former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic.
The death of Diana was straight out of an MI6 assassination blueprint.
Richard Tomlinson:The witness reported a very bright light in a tunnel and as soon as heard that it made me put two and two things together and I thought that is exactly what was proposed in the Milosovic document. The combination of the bright light and the tunnel made me think straight away maybe this wasn’t an accident
Noel Botham:It was exactly the same system, the same, same plan as was put into operation that killed Diana. There were no differences at all. It was an MI6 originated plan, put into action not in a tunnel Switzerland but in, in a tunnel in Paris. Mohamed Al Fayed was convinced that he’d discovered the method by which MI6 murdered Princess Diana and his son.
Mohammed Al Fayed:It is not an accident…it is murder, very tragic murder…the car when they left the Ritz been followed up by MI6…. one of the motorcycles, with a floodlight blind Henri Paul … this definitely, definitely, exactly what happened.The world’s media seized on the conspiracy story but the French police had immediate doubts.
Commander Mules:If there had been a flash, it would have blinded not only the driver of the Mercedes, but the driver in the Fiat Uno, and the paparazzi too. Everybody would have crashed into each other at the same time. It doesn’t make sense, Levistre claimed to have seen the flash of light in his rear view mirror while travelling at over 60 miles an hour through the tunnel.
Commander Mules:That witness was heard and his account was analyzed again and again. The conclusion was that he was not a reliable witness. Several witnesses stepped forward, claiming they had seen things, for the most part things they’d read in the newspapers. You can’t stop people from seeking the limelight and trying to make money out of it.’No other witness supported Francois Levistre’s claim to have seen a “massive” flash of light before the crash. And Levistre had a dubious background. In 1988 he’d been arrested for trying to sell his wife’s unborn baby in a blaze of publicity.
Francois Levistre: We have decided to give this baby away, because this child, which is due in September will not be welcome in our home. A year after the crash, Levistre, elaborated on his story.In a British newspaper he claimed he might have caused the crash by accidentally swerving in front of the Mercedes carrying Princess Diana. But he’s never talked to the French police about this.The overarching conspiracy that links the security services to the fatal crash comes with a far more sinister explanation for the Fiat Uno. The car that was hit from behind by the Mercedes shortly before it crashed. Conspiracists claim the missing Uno driver was part of the assassination plot and this explains why he’s never be found.
Six months after the crash private detectives working for Mohamed Al Fayed came up with a possible driver - James Andanson. He was one of the top paparazzi photographers in France. Andanson had been part of the pack following Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed in St Tropez.
Commander Mules: Police officers from my team and Forensic experts were sent to examine the car. They found the Fiat Uno, up on blocks with no wheels. It had not been used for months and months and months.Journalist Tony Comiti, had known Andanson for over 20 years. He made a documentary about him and filmed him in his White Uno.
Tony Comiti:The car couldn’t get in second gear. It had 235,000 miles on the clock. It barely worked. No indicators and no brakes. James’s lived 175 miles from Paris. The car was in such a bad condition he would have had to put it on the train to get it there. The French Police carried out forensic tests on Andanson’s Uno. Some paint samples matched the white marks found on the Mercedes carrying Princess Diana. Rubber samples from the bumper also matched traces on the Mercedes, and he’d replaced his left tail light. But the car showed no signs of having been involved in an accident.
Furthermore Andanson had a good alibi for the night in question.At midnight, Andanson was at home with his wife, 175 miles south of Paris. At 4am he travelled to Orly Airport and then took a 7.20 flight to Corsica.Andanson provided the French inquiry with airline tickets and toll road receipts to back up his story. But sceptics argue Andanson’s alibi could have been faked by the secret services.
Noel Botham:I am personally convinced, as are many people, that Andanson was driving the Fiat Uno, his Fiat Uno, that night in the Alma tunnel. It was he who swerved in front of the Mercedes and set in motion the situation that ended in Diana's death.Botham says Andanson was there to force the Mercedes to crash. He claims Andanson had links with British secret services and he’d been involved in other assassination plots.
Noel Botham:James Andanson was being investigated actively by French Special Branch who I'd spoke to he had this strange habit of being present when people either committed suicide or were murdered he was with them probably the last person to see them or photograph them.’The French eliminated Andanson from their inquiry. Two years later he was found burnt to death in his car, in remote countryside, 250 miles away from his home. Sceptics claimed he’d been silenced.
Noel Botham:He started to boast that he'd been there the night Diana died that he knew things other people didn't know and he could tell a real story if he wanted to, I think those reports got out to the wrong people. His friends find the idea that he was involved in a secret service assassination plot unbelievable.
Tony Comiti:He was too fat, James Andanson, to work for the Secret Services. He wanted everybody to believe that he came from a Noble British family, but the poor guy didn’t even speak a word of English. No all that is just lies, rumours that tarnish his work.The real reason for his death may be altogether more personal.
Tony Comiti:There was probably something going on in his love life. James, at a photo session in St Tropez, told a group of us about a photographer whose wife had been unfaithful. He said, If the same thing ever happens to me, I will commit suicide. I will have my last cigar and set myself on fire. And mysteriously, he died just like that, three years later.A French judge investigated Andanson’s death and concluded it was suicide. No witnesses have come forward to place him in Paris on the night of the crash. And no evidence has been produced to link Andanson to MI6. The conspiracy theorists have one final card to play. They say it provides both the motive and the urgency for the secret service plot to kill Princess Diana.It all hinges on a conversation Mohamed Al Fayed says he had with Princess Diana on the night of the crash.
Mohammed Al Fayed: ‘she was pregnant and she told me that.’
Question: How did you know that?
Mohammed Al Fayed:She told me on the phone
Question: She told you on the phone?
Mohammed Al Fayed:Yes The world’s press needed no encouragement to start this conspiracy rolling. They searched back through their archive and found this picture of Diana in St Tropez. Was this a tight swimsuit or evidence of pregnancy? French Medical services made no checks to see if Diana was pregnant when she died.
Professor Lienhart:The injuries that Princess Diana sustained meant that the question of whether or not she was pregnant never arose. As a result, there were no blood tests to check for pregnancy.’ But Andre Lienhart has seen copies of the post mortem carried out on Princess Diana in England 24 hours after the crash and after her body had been embalmed.
Professor Lienhart:The autopsy showed that she was not pregnant… The embalming was requested by her family to make her more presentable because some time would pass between her leaving Paris and her funeral in Britain.
But Mohamed Al Fayed believes the embalming was carried out to cover up evidence of her pregnancy.
Mohammed Al Fayed:The discovery that Princess Diana’s body was embalmed in Paris within hours of her death. What other reason can there be other that it was part of a cover-up to prevent proper forensic tests in the UK.Ten days before she died, Princess Diana visited this clinic in London for treatment of pre-menstrual tension. Checks carried out by her consultant, Dr Lily Hua, confirmed that Diana was not pregnant. Diana’s close friend Rosa Monckton says having to constantly face these very personal claims causes real upset to Princes William and Harry.
Rosa Monckton:There’s no elegant way of saying this and I wish I didn’t have to but … she could not have been pregnant when she was with me on the boat in Greece which was between the 15th and the 20th of August, she had her period, so there’s no way she could have been pregnant by the 30th of August.But the conspiracists remain defiant. The theory changes shape, finding its way round even the most awkward evidence. Ultimately it requires a leap of faith.
Noel Botham:What people don't realise is it does not matter if Diana was pregnant or not. It’s whether people believed she was pregnant that matters. Whether the establishment in Britain believed that the Princess, the mother of the future King of England was about to give birth to a half Muslim child. As conspiracy piles on conspiracy is there any evidence to support Mohamed Al Fayed claims of a secret service plot to kill Princess Diana?
Gerald Posner: The only problem with Mohamed Al Fayed's theory of the Royal Family and MI6 being behind the murder of Princess Diana is that it doesn't have a shred of credible evidence to support it it's a wonderful tale it would make a great novel but it's just not the truth. This week Lord Stevens will make his judgement on the events of that night.It’s hard to see how he will conclude the crash was anything other than an accident. The driver of the Mercedes Henri Paul was drunk at the wheel, with a potent mix of alcohol and drugs in his system, and driving too fast for the road. French lawyers believe the final verdict could prove uncomfortable for the millionaire boss of the Ritz.
Valérie RosanoLawyer for Arrested Paparazzi:Mr Al Fayed if he had been taken to court could have been sued for damages. According to French law, the employer is responsible for his employee’s actions whilst on duty. Henri Paul was driving the car while on duty under his boss Mr Al Fayed's orders. Therefore Mr Al Fayed is responsible for the accident."The Metropolitan Police inquiry is likely to support the French view that the chasing paparazzi were an important influence on the speed of the Mercedes.
Martine Monteil:There was a horde of photographers who were following the couple and they were very close to the Mercedes when the accident happened. Obviously this causes annoyance and stress. But it is not the only explanation. The driver also lost control of the car, that’s obvious.Those who were close to Princess Diana don’t want the speculation and controversy surrounding her death to be the defining feature of her life.
Rosa Monckton:For the Princes particularly it has been very difficult for them, and I think they find it - the sort of public ownership of their mother - a very difficult thing, and remember how young they were when she died and to have this, you know, literally nearly ten years after their mother’s death, constantly saying was she pregnant, was she going to be engaged, it’s upsetting for them, for both of them.