Bodyguard forbidden to talk to the press

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The Independent Online
TREVOR Rees-Jones, the sole survivor of the road accident which killed Diana, Princess of Wales, yesterday confirmed that he had regained sketchy memories of events leading up to the crash.

He told French investigators in Paris that he stood by the new details he had given to the Mirror, in an interview arranged by his employer, Mohamed Al Fayed, without his knowledge.

But the judge leading the inquiry made Mr Rees-Jones promise that he would give no more press interviews and that any further memories which returned would be given directly to the investigation team.

Reading between the lines, it is clear that both Judge Herve Stephan, and Mr Rees-Jones are unhappy with the circumstances in which the interview was conducted. The judge has summoned Mr Fayed to a meeting in Paris next week. Mr Rees-Jones asked the British embassy in Paris to make all the arrangements, including security, for his visit to the French capital yesterday. On previous visits, Mr Fayed's organisation handled these arrangements.

Asked what was the nature of his relationship with his employer, Mr Rees- Jones's lawyer, Christian Curtil, said yesterday that is was "excellent". He said Mr Rees-Jones, a professional bodyguard, "only says what he is certain about, acts entirely independently, without any pressure of any kind, and accepts the contents of the Mirror interview, even if he did not seek it." In his comments to the Mirror, the bodyguard said the Mercedes containing the princess's party had been closely followed by two cars and a motorcycle before the accident six months ago which killed Diana, Mr Fayed's son Dodi, and the driver, Henri Paul. But he did not say whether or not this was immediately before the crash. He also said that Diana had been conscious just after the accident and said "Dodi".

Judge Stephan and his investigation team are said to have lost patience with the activities of Mr Fayed, who has constantly cast doubt on the efficiency - and even the honesty - of the French inquiry. His allegations that the crash was not an accident but a plot and an assassination are dismissed by French investigators as unsupported by a shred of evidence.

Although it seems likely that the Mercedes struck another car, probably a white Fiat Uno, just before it crashed, the French investigation still regards the drunkenness of the driver, Mr Paul, a Fayed employee, as the single most important cause of the accident.

Sources close to the investigation also point out that the physical evidence suggests that the Mercedes ran into the Fiat and not the other way round.