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
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower