Alcohol and speed killed Diana, not paparazzi

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The Independent Online
A fatal combination of alcohol and speed, and not the paparazzi, were responsible for the crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales, sources close to the French police investigation said yesterday.

But detectives have not ruled out that a second car was involved in the accident in Paris, causing the Mercedes carrying Diana and Dodi Fayed to crash into a concrete pillar.

Evidence gathered by investigators shows that the chauffeur, Henri Paul, had a "criminal level of alcohol" in his blood, and was driving dangerously fast.

The findings mean it is unlikely the nine photographers and one photo agency motorcyclist arrested after the accident will face manslaughter trials, said their lawyers. Jean Marc Coblence, who represents three of the 10, said: "The photographers were scapegoats who were made investigation targets in an atmosphere of hysteria."

The lawyers said that although it was too early to ask investigating magistrate Herve Stephan to end proceedings against the 10, a court could soon be asked to demand the return of two press cards seized by police, and preventing the men from working. If cleared, the photographers may take legal action against the authorities.

In London the decision to re-issue Andrew Morton's book about the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales was condemned yesterday as a "cynical attempt to make profit out of her death". It will be serialised in the Times.

Prince Charles is said to be deeply worried about the effect the publicity surrounding the book will have on Prince William and Prince Harry as they try to recover from the death of their mother.

Mr Morton, estimated to have made pounds 4.5m from the book since it originally came out in l992, revealed that Diana gave him interviews through a third party, and then checked and approved the pages which chronicled the "sham" of her marriage to Charles, her bulimia, and her suicide attempts. Publishers Michael O'Mara said they had printed 100,000 copies of the new book.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said yesterday: "The book is nothing new but the timing of its re-release is particularly sad, coming as it does so soon after the Princess's death". On the involvement of the Times, she added: "We do not want to contribute to its publicity by making any further comment".

Among other critics, Conservative MP Sir Teddy Taylor described Mr Morton's actions as "cold and unfeeling" and fellow Tory MP Ann Winterton said that it lacked "integrity and honour"

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