British Documentary
Raises More Diana
Accident Questions
By Giles Elgood
LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - British television broadcast a widely-condemned documentary on Wednesday which alleged the driver of the car in which Princess Diana died had been in regular contact with French and other secret services. The programme on the ITV channel -- ``Diana: the secrets behind the crash'' -- also claimed that a former lover of the princess had been warned to break off the relationship in a threatening telephone call from a member of the royal family. The documentary, one of two being aired this week, has been attacked by Prime Minister Tony Blair, media commentators and Buckingham Palace itself. The producer of another documentary to be shown on Channel Four on Thursday denounced Wednesday's programme as ``obscene.'' Martyn Gregory said the show was no more than propaganda for Mohamed al Fayed, the Harrods department store tycoon whose son Dodi, Diana's lover, died in the car crash. Intelligence expert Rupert Allason scornfully dismissed suggestions made in the programme that the security services were involved in Diana's death. Tests showing driver Henri Paul had been drinking heavily and was driving at top speed to escape photographers have failed to quell the belief held by many that Diana's death cannot have been a mere traffic accident. The documentary said that Paul, who died in the crash with Diana and Dodi, had high levels of carbon monoxide in his blood. There was no indication of how this might have come about, but the programme said the fact that video footage taken before the crash showed Paul looking fit and well cast doubt over the other main blood test finding -- that he was three times over the drink driving limit.
A friend of Paul's told reporter Nicholas Owen that the driver, who was also security manager at the Fayed-owned Ritz, was in regular contact with French and other secret services. Paul was said to have numerous bank accounts with deposits far larger than he could have saved from his Ritz salary. The programme also cast doubts on the circumstances of the fatal crash last August 31 in a road tunnel in central Paris. Eyewitnesses said they saw a powerful motorcycle swerve in front of Diana's car at high speed. One man, Francois Levistre, said he saw a ``big white flash'' just before the car crashed into a pillar. Owen suggested this could have been an anti-personnel device which would leave its victim stunned and blinded. Rival producer Gregory denounced Levistre as a known ``fraudster and prankster.''
James Hewitt, with whom Diana admitted committing adultery long before her relationship with Dodi, said in the documentary that he had received threatening telephone calls warning him off.
``They said it was not conducive to my health to continue the relationship,'' he said. A member of the royal family -- not one of the immediate family -- whom he declined to name had told him: ``Your relationship is known about. It is not supported. We cannot be responsible for your safety and security and suggest you curtail it forthwith.''
Allason described the proposition that the security services were involved in such matters as ``not living in the real world.'' Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the specific points raised by the documentary but it has frequently appealed to journalists to show sensitivity in reporting issues surrounding Diana's death because of the effect on her two teenage sons, William and Harry.
Blair's spokesman said the prime minister ``had made it clear that there seems to be a minor industry growing up around conspiracy theories surrounding Diana's death and it does not help anybody, least of all her children.'' The second documentary, to be broadcast on Thursday, debunks such theories and attributes Diana and Dodi's death to poor security by employees of Dodi's millionaire father. It rejects Fayed's claim that he was privy to Diana's last words and unearths a witness who claims to have heard Paul taunting photographers outside the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in Paris with the words: ``Don't try to follow us, you'll never catch us.'' Most British commentators have attacked Wednesday's Diana documentary as having indirectly allowed Fayed to peddle theories which divert responsibility from the Ritz Hotel and the Fayed family.

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