Diana, Princess of Wales, died on 31 August 1997.
Diana was at the Paris Ritz, having dinner with Dodi Fayed. The paparazzi were outside at the front waiting to take a photo that might bag them a fortune. Dodi decided they would go out the back, and be driven by Henri Paul. Henri Paul drinks Ricard, a drink that looks like pineapple juice when mixed with water. Blood tests later show that he was three and a half times over the French limit, he'd also taken some drugs for a problem he'd had, and because he also smoked, that had masked the alcohol that might have been evident on his breath. Had it been known he was so inebriated he may not have been asked to drive.
Henri Paul drove the black Mercedes, with bodyguard Trevor Rees in the front, and Dodi and Diana in the back, at speed through Paris very fast. He negotiated one underpass tunnel, then came up to a second tunnel. The second tunnel turned to the left some 15 degrees at the same time as the roadway dipped down sharply.
Tyre marks outside the tunnel were left by the Mercedes on the road well before the dip down into the tunnel, and the tyre marks also showed a slight bulge at one point, a sign that something traumatic happened. But French police only concentrated their efforts inside the tunnel, and reopened the road after just 4 hours, missing this vital evidence.
A white Fiat Uno came onto the main road near the Pont de l'Alma tunnel entrance from the right, forcing the Mercedes to brake sharply. Tyre expert has confirmed the tyre marks were from a Mercedes and calculates the speed of the Mercedes to be about 104mph.
The Merc, then collides on the Uno's left rear quarter, control is lost by the driver, the Merc then launches into the air at the point where the road dips down, and then leaves rubber tyre marks half-way up a wall on the right hand side on the tunnel entrance approach - but French police miss both the tyre marks on the road, and the tyre marks on the right side wall.
|Even today, there are scratch marks on this wall at the entrance to the tunnel.|
The Merc then glances off the right wall, and goes straight slam-dunk into the 13th pillar of the tunnel, swings violently anti-clockwise, and ends up next to the right hand wall facing the way it came in. Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed are killed instantly. The white Uno slips past, not wanting to get involved in an accident its driver contributed to.
Travellers report flashes of light, loud bangs and screeching of tyres. Flashes of light put down to headlights, and a car spinning out of control, rather than photographers on bikes that were out-paced with the speeding Merc. Moments afterwards, the paparazzi finally catch up with their prey, surround the car and begin assisting. Diana is alive, but dies later in hospital.
A witness says they saw a white Uno with a Paris registration coming from the tunnel, the driver had black hair, and a big dog in the back, with an orange muzzle, and the driver was looking in his rear view mirror, agitated. And the witness confirms there was black collision paint on the left rear side of the same car.
They can't find the car.
Then someone goes to a police station for some driving reason, they investigate his car, and this turns out to have been resprayed, red. At first Le Van Thanh says it was resprayed the day before the tunnel accident, but later admits it was resprayed the day after.
Le does not discuss the accident. It is likely that he is being protected from the media.
Trevor Rees survives, but has memory loss and cannot recall the incident.