Diana inquest: In the frame: the hunters hunted

Photographers chose to take pictures rather than help crash victims
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The Independent Online

There may be no dock at an inquest, but the gentlemen opposite find themselves accused at the hearing into the deaths of Princess Diana, and her lover, Dodi Fayed. They are the paparazzi who gave chase that fateful night – and, the jury is told, preferred to take photographs rather than help after the Mercedes smashed into pillar 13 of the Pont de l'Alma underpass in Paris early on 31 August 1997.

The 11 jurors, who spent Monday and Tuesday at the crash site, were confronted with images never before seen. One shows Diana as she lay dying the wreckage of the Mercedes. A photo by Laslo Veres appears to show Diana on the floor of the back seat of the car, with one leg raised.

Inspector Paul Carpenter of the Metropolitan Police talked the jury, through the shots, which showed that the paparazzi were busy snapping away seconds after the crash without lifting a finger to help the victims inside the car.

During cross-examination by Richard Keen QC, representing the family of the driver Henri Paul, Mr Carpenter explained that in many photos the doors of the Mercedes are still closed, showing that the photographers had put the shot before helping the injured.

Drawing attention to a set of eight photographs taken from the rear of the Mercedes by one photographer Mr Keen said: "And do you notice that in every single one of these photographs the door of the Mercedes is still closed?"

Mr Carpenter replied: "That's correct, sir."

Mr Keen continued: "So rather than approach the Mercedes and open the door to assist or ascertain the condition of those inside, what we have is someone who is simply walking past the vehicle for the purposes of taking photographs?"

Another witness, Ana Simao, told the inquest, via video link from Paris, that she saw two photographers standing on the car in the moments after the crash.

The inquest continues tomorrow.