Diana Crash Witnesses
Describe What They Saw
The sudden death of Diana, Princess of Wales has been compared to the assassination of President John F Kennedy in 1963.
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 a pillar.
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 mirror.
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 blame.
"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 on bail.
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 the tragedy.
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.

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