- The sudden death of Diana, Princess of
Wales has been compared to the assassination of President John F Kennedy
- Everyone remembers where they were when
they heard the news - and none more so than those who were there near the
Pont de l'Alma tunnel, moments after the huge black Mercedes careered into
- Up to 20 of those witnesses are about
to appear before the examining magistrate, Herve Stephan, who has the unenviable
job of pulling together all their statements to create a clearer picture
of the world's most infamous car accident.
- Mystery of the white Fiat Uno
- Probably the most intriguing eye-witness
account was that of Sabine and George D. Their surnames were withheld to
save them from media harassment.
- In January, they gave a detailed interview
to Hello magazine in which they said they saw a Fiat Uno shoot out of the
tunnel moments after the crash.
- The couple said they were driving alongside
the tunnel at around 12.25am when they saw the white car zig-zagging and
backfiring. The driver was a white middle-aged male with brown hair and
had a large dog in the back. He was kept looking nervously into the rear-view
- Although shards of rear lights and traces
of paint found on the Mercedes S280 pointed to a Fiat Uno, extensive investigations
led police to a dead end.
- But the couple's story added fuel to
the endless conspiracy theories bandied about on computer and TV screens
around the globe.
- Several tourists and taxi drivers said
they witnessed the actual crash and its aftermath. Some were quick to apportion
- "It must have been the chauffeur's
fault," said Michel Lemonnier, a cab driver."He was mad to be
driving like that in that tunnel."
- Two Americans said a photographer was
on the scene within seconds.
- Seven "paparazzi" and a driver
were consequently arrested and accused of contributing to the death of
Diana, Dodi Al Fayed and Henri Paul. Five were freed and two - Romuald
Rat, of Gamma, and Christian Martinez, of the Angeli agency - were released
- Even if they are not charged with manslaughter,
they still could face charges under what is known as the "Good Samaritan"
law, which requires witnesses to an accident to give all assistance necessary
to the casualties.
- The offence is punishable by up to five
years in prison.
- Crash survivor 'remembers little'
- The most crucial witness and sole survivor
of the crash, Trevor Rees-Jones, had serious head and face injuries and
suffered from amnesia for some months.
- Mr Rees-Jones, who was Dodi Al Fayed's
bodyguard, has declined to attend Friday's court appearance in Paris into
- His solicitor, David Crawford, said the
purpose of the confrontation in the French capital was to bring the photographers
face-to-face with the witnesses whose evidence put them in the spotlight.
- The charges were involuntary manslaughter,
causing serious injuries, and failure to assist persons in danger, he said.
- He added that Mr Rees-Jones "has
suffered an almost complete loss of memory of the events which occurred
after the departure from the Ritz Hotel" and that he had nothing to
contribute to the confrontation.
- However, Dodi's ex-bodyguard has already
appeared four times before Judge Stephan and given an interview to the
Mirror newspaper in which he said he saw two cars and a motorbike following
the Mercedes S-280.
- Mr Rees-Jones told the paper that during
sessions with a psychiatrist he also remembered Diana calling out for Dodi
after the impact.