In The News: Trevor Rees-Jones: Diana's bodyguard remembers night of th e tragedy

TREVOR Rees-Jones, the bodyguard who survived the crash in which Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed died, has recovered his memory of the fatal crash.

In a series of revelations to today's Mirror newspaper Mr Rees-Jones says he believes Diana was still conscious after the accident and called out to her boyfriend.: "I have had flashes of a female voice calling out in the back of the car ... then Dodi's name is called. It can only have been Princess Diana."

Mr Rees-Jones also insists that their chauffeur Henri Paul, who also died, had shown no sign of being drunk before he took the wheel. "If he had shown any signs of being drunk I would never have let him near our car," he says. Post-mortem tests revealed Mr Paul to have been three times over the legal drink-drive limit.

Mr Rees-Jones insists he has not financially benefited for his story, his fee being donated instead to charity. However his decision to speak about the fatal night may shock many people.

When Mr Rees-Jones made his first, faltering steps into the full glare of the media spotlight as he left the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris last October, it seemed somehow appropriate that he was wearing sunglasses.

The former member of the 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment with a degree in sport and biological science had been a member of the so-called Fayed protection team since 1994 and so a studied anonymity had been part of his stock in trade. Publicity was something he had learnt to avoid, but now everyone knew his name, and more particularly everyone wanted to know how much he remembered of that fateful summer night.

Five months on from his release from hospital, Mr Rees-Jones still bears the scars of his horrific injuries, most strikingly a five-inch welt which meanders from his left nostril across his cheek, but his health has improved remarkably. He has returned to light duties four days a week at Harrods and friends in his home town of Oswestry say that he is hoping to begin playing for the local rugby team again in September.

The real fight that Mr Rees-Jones now faces is in fending off the media and attempting to return to his former anonymity. It could be a long fight, for, as Mirror editor Piers Morgan put it on Saturday, "This is no ordinary Trevor. This is the most famous Trevor in the world."

To be honest, one struggles to think of any competition in terms of world- famous Trevors, but you catch Mr Morgan's drift. His purple prose was all part of talking up the "exclusive" interview with Mr Rees-Jones which begins today in his newspaper. In three interviews with Herve Stephan, Mr Rees-Jones had told the judge investigating the accident that he was unable to recall anything about the actual crash on 31 August last year. However, at a meeting with his psychiatrist last Wednesday, Mr Rees-Jones remembered "a little more" (his own words). Later the same day, he was interviewed by Piers Morgan at Harrods.

Mr Rees-Jones was in hiding yesterday after making a statement via his solicitors stressing that he had not received "one penny piece" from the Mirror for the interview nor had he granted them any form of exclusivity. He also expressed his concern about previous articles in the press which had criticised his professional conduct on the night of the crash and had suggested that he was not properly trained for his role. "These allegations are wholly spurious and I will, as and when I think it appropriate to do so, make public comment," his statement said.

According to Mr Rees-Jones, the Mirror's claims about exclusivity have caused him "great personal difficulty". One wonders, therefore, why he spoke to them at all. Which is where Mohamed Al Fayed comes in. Recently, Mr Fayed gave his own interview to Mr Morgan in which he presented his somewhat eccentric version of events surrounding the accident.

REES-JONES UNDERCOVER

Trevor Rees-Jones served at least one tour of duty in Ulster and was awarded the General Service Medal with Northern Ireland clasp. A friend who served with him said: "We had some hush-hush jobs, the sort of things we are never allowed to talk about."

TREVOR'S TONGUE

It was widely reported in the days immediately following the accident that Rees-Jones had lost his tongue in the crash (or "his tongue was ripped out in the horror", as the Sun put it). This of course was not the case, but he did undergo a 10-hour operation to rebuild his jaw and for a time it was feared that he would not make a full recovery from the serious facial, head and chest injuries he had suffered. The fact that he did has much to do with his extremely high level of fitness. As one former army friend puts it: "Trevor is as strong as an ox". According to his father-in-law, he is "a very fit lad".

TREVOR'S DOUBLE LIFE

The extent of Rees-Jones's former anonymity is illustrated by the fact that only his closest relatives knew what his job was. Team-mates at his local rugby club in Oswestry thought he worked for a London security firm and had no idea that he jetted around the world as Dodi Fayed's minder. "God knows how he could have worked with Princess Di," one said. Rees- Jones was considered to be the life and soul of the party at Oswestry Rugby Club, but he never talked about his job. "Trevor is a very confidential guy," says one of his friends.

ME AND MRS REES-JONES

Rees-Jones was simply Trevor Rees until 1995 when he married his wife, Sue, and added her surname to his. The pair had met during their time at Fitzalan School in Oswestry. Mrs Rees-Jones was once a buyer for Harrods and now runs a kitchen and gift shop in the town. By last June the marriage had hit a rocky patch. Rees-Jones's wife had asked him for a quickie divorce and he had moved out of their luxury home in Whittington, Shropshire. Nevertheless, his wife immediately flew out to be at his bedside after hearing news of the crash. She told reporters: "I'm very fond of Trevor and will give him my full emotional, moral and any other support I possibly can during his recovery from his awful injuries." Ironically, surgeons used photographs from Rees-Jones's wedding as a guide when they were rebuilding his face.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there