mercredi, janvier 23, 2008

Diana crash survivor denies cover-up conspiracy

LONDON (Reuters) - Former bodyguard Trevor Rees, sole survivor of the Paris car crash that killed Princess Diana, denied on Wednesday being part of a murder cover-up.

The soft-spoken Rees, still bearing scars from the crash that killed Diana, her lover Dodi al-Fayed and chauffeur Henri Paul, said: "I am not part of any conspiracy to suppress the truth."
Lawyer Ian Burnett, outlining accusations made by Dodi's father, Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed, told Rees he was accused of being part of a conspiracy to "suppress the truth" that they had been killed by British security services.

"All I have ever done is give the truth as I see it," Rees told the inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi.

Mohamed al-Fayed alleges that his son and Diana were killed by British agents on the orders of Prince Philip because the royal family did not want her to marry a Muslim.

Rees, who suffered severe facial injuries in the crash, told the court that his last memory was of leaving the back of the Ritz hotel on the fatal night in August 1997.

Since then, he had had two flashbacks -- one of paparazzi on a motorbike drawing up beside the car and another of a woman's voice, presumably Diana, after the crash saying the name Dodi.
"I remember having heard someone moaning and the name Dodi was uttered," the former paratrooper told the court.

But even he admitted: "these memories are vague and sometimes I myself doubt them."
Rees told the inquest he had expressed doubts about Dodi's doomed plan to leave the Ritz by a back entrance without any security to try and avoid paparazzi swarming around the front.
"The decision to leave from the rear of the hotel I believe came from Dodi. The decision to leave with no security would have been Dodi's. However my decision was to travel with the couple," he said of the move that almost cost him his life.

Rees dismissed claims that Dodi and Diana had picked out an engagement ring in Monte Carlo the week before they died.

Asked if that had happened, Rees said: "No, it did not."

The rest of the morning was spent by Rees -- who was known as Rees-Jones at the time of the accident -- reviewing CCTV images from the last night at the Ritz. Lawyer Burnett hoped -- in vain -- that it would jog his memory.
(Editing by Steve Addison)