[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 05:50 GMT
Diana witness denies conspiracy
Diana and Dodi

An eyewitness to the Paris crash that killed Princess Diana in August 1997 has said it was an accident with no other vehicles or people involved.

Mohamed Medjahdi said Diana's Mercedes limousine had been speeding towards him and "slewing across the carriageway... completely out of control".

"Any conspiracy would have had to be carried out by invisible men," he said.

French police would be handing the 29-year-old's statement over to British investigators, the Daily Mail said.

Algerian-born Mr Medjahdi said: "I am absolutely convinced, clear and certain, that this was a tragedy - but it was an accident."

He had accelerated away just before there was an explosion and the limousine crashed into a concrete pillar in the underpass beside the French capital's Pont de l'Alma, he added.

I can still hear the screeching of those brakes
Mohamed Medjahdi

Mr Medjahdi, whose girlfriend was also in the grey Citroen BX, told the newspaper: "It was a dreadful sound, like a bomb exploding, magnified and echoing around the underpass.

"The front of the car exploded, disintegrated with pieces flying off in all directions.

"Even today, six years later, I can't get the sight and sound out of my head. I can still hear the screeching of those brakes."

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John Stevens is overseeing an investigation into the deaths of Diana, her lover Dodi Al Fayed and their chauffeur Henri Paul.

Coroner Michael Burgess ordered the inquiry as he opened and adjourned an inquest into Diana's death on 6 January.

He asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate speculation the deaths were not the result of a "straightforward, road traffic accident".

The British inquest will be the first time the UK authorities have formally probed the deaths.

Mr Burgess adjourned the inquest for 12 to 15 months to allow time for the police to complete their inquiries, and to consider the vast amount of information from the French investigation.

The 1997 crash killed Diana, Dodi and their driver
The 1997 crash killed Diana, Dodi and their driver

There have been a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Diana's death, but the French investigation blamed the crash on Mr Paul, who was speeding and had been drinking.

Others have pointed to the fact the only person wearing a seatbelt in the car, Trevor Rees Jones, survived.

But Dodi's father, multi-millionaire owner of London store Harrods, Mohammed Al Fayed, maintains British secret services were responsible.

And Diana had written a letter 10 months before her death in which she reportedly said her former husband, Prince Charles, was plotting to kill her in a car crash.

It was published in the butler's book A Royal Duty, but a passage was blanked out by the publishers Penguin and the Daily Mirror, which serialised the work.

But on Tuesday 6 January, the newspaper reported that the blanked-out passage read: "This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous - my husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry."

graphic of the route Diana and Dodi took and the crash itself
Diana and Dodi's journey began when they left the Ritz hotel in a Mercedes driven by Henri Paul
They travelled west along the bank of the Seine and into the underpass beneath the Place de l'Alma
As the car entered the tunnel it struck the righthand wall
It then crossed two lanes of traffic and hit the 13th pillar supporting the tunnel roof
The crumpled vehicle then span round and came to a halt




SEE ALSO:
The theory about conspiracies
06 Jan 04  |  Magazine


RELATED BBCi LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific