Diana reaction: Survivor of Paris crash flies home

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The Independent Online
Trevor Rees-Jones, the sole survivor of the car crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales, one month ago, left hospital in Paris yesterday and flew home to Britain.

The Fayed family bodyguard was taken in a Harrods helicopter to an undisclosed destination, believed to be a convalescence clinic in the London area. French investigators said that they expected to travel to Britain to interview Mr Rees-Jones, 29, again in about two weeks' time.

During his second meeting with detectives, on Thursday, the former paratrooper was able to provide some fresh evidence on the chain of events leading to the accident in an underpass beneath the Place de L'Alma in central Paris in the early hours of 31 August. But, once again, he was unable to recall anything of the accident itself or much of the high-speed drive from the Ritz Hotel which proceeded it.

Sources in the investigation told Le Figaro that Mr Rees-Jones had been able to identify, from photographs, several paparazzi who had behaved aggressively towards Diana's party earlier in the day. He also confirmed that it was his boss, Diana's companion Dodi Fayed, who devised a decoy plan to escape the photographers. It was this scheme that put the Ritz deputy head of security, Henri Paul, at the wheel of a high-powered, armoured Mercedes that he was not qualified to drive. Mr Rees-Jones apparently said that he had been against the plan. Both Mr Paul and Mr Fayed died in the crash.

Autopsies on Mr Paul's body have revealed that he had been drinking heavily and had taken prescription anti-depressant and mind-calming drugs. Mr Rees-Jones says he showed no signs of intoxication or unsteadiness before taking the wheel of the Mercedes. The bodyguard also told detectives, according to Le Figaro, that Diana showed no particular interest in the arrangements.

Mr Rees-Jones suffered grave facial injuries and less serious head and chest injuries in the crash. As is often the case with victims of head injuries, he is suffering from partial, and maybe temporary, amnesia. Yesterday he was able to walk unaided as he transferred between helicopters at Issy-Les-Moulineaux. He wore a large plaster-cast on his left forearm, his lower face seemed puffy and swollen and there were bruises around his eyes.

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