Diana 1961-1997: The media - Two paparazzi still held in custody

Freelance worked for top agency
Click to follow
The Independent Online
The two photographers who the French public prosecutor ruled should be held in custody were Christian Martinez and Romuald Rat.

The reason for the request was the subject of significant speculation yesterday and it was suggested that Mr Martinez, at least, may have been one of the photographers known to have taken photographs of the Princess of Wales as she lay injured in the wrecked Mercedes.

Mr Martinez, 35, although a freelance, does much of his work for the agency of Italian-born Daniel Angeli, France's top paparazzi and the man credited with taking the pictures of the Duchess of York having her toes sucked by her "financial adviser" Johnny Bryan in the south of France.

He is understood to have worked with the pack for around 15 years, but colleagues were loath yesterday to reveal more details. A photographer friend of Mr Martinez said that he personally had received death threats after appearing on television discussing the work of the paparazzi. "Someone telephoned the agency and threatened to kill me," he said.

The friend was alarmed that although the chauffeur had been shown to be drunk, the paparazzi were still being blamed. "The damage has been done. The judge has heard of the paparazzi now." Asked whether Angeli's agency knew anything of Mr Martinez's involvement in Sunday's crash, the friend gestured towards the room where the hearing was taking place, and said: "The only person who knows is in there."

Mr Martinez's lawyer is one of France's leading advocates, Gilbert Collard, who is based in Marseilles, but Mr Collard had sent a representative to the hearing yesterday.

Romuald Rat - who has, unsurprisingly been christened Roland Rat by British journalists - is about 30 years old and lives modestly in Montreuil-sur- Bois, just outside Paris. He works mainly for the Gamma agency and is regarded as an experienced paparazzi.

At the Palais de Justice he was represented by Jean-Marc Coblence, the lawyer also speaking for Stephen Darmon, who works as a driver for Gamma, and also for Serge Arnal, a freelance.

Many were surprised to discover the name of Jacques Langevin, 40, among those held. Not a paparazzi, he is most widely known for his award-winning pictures of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Peking. He was working for the agency Sygma on Sunday but formerly worked for the international news agency Reuters. Hubert Henrotte, a director of Sygma, has said Mr Langevin had nothing to do with what happened and had never been one of those photographers involved in chasing personalities. Unlike the diehard paparazzi, who travel on motorbikes, it is understood that he was travelling in a car.

Nicolas Arsov, who is aged about 30, works for the agency Sipa and is known as Nico. Serge Arnal, 35, is a freelance well known around the glitzy nightlife of Paris and at the annual Cannes film festival. Laszlo Verez, 48, is also a freelance who normally deals with newspapers and magazines directly and not through agencies.

The seventh person held for questioning, according to lawyers at the Palais de Justice, was Stephen Darmon, 30, who acted as a driver for the Gamma agency. Many agencies employ drivers to get their pictures away while the photographers continue working.

Comments