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Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK


Countdown from Diana's car crash

The crash report came out close to the second anniversary of Diana's death

Almost two years to the day after Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash, French magistrates dropped charges against the nine press photographers and one motorcyclist who were chasing her car.

The Diana Report
This is what has happened since the speeding Mercedes crashed on August 31, 1997, killing the princess, her friend Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul:


31 August: Interrogation of witnesses to the crash in the underpass at the Pont de l'Alma. Six photographers and a press motorcyclist are held for questioning.

1 September: Analysis of blood samples indicates the driver, Henri Paul, was drunk.

2 September: Opening of inquiry. The six photographers and the despatch-rider are placed under investigation for manslaughter and injury and for failing to assist persons in danger, and released.

4 September: Three other photographers sought by police present themselves voluntarily for questioning. They too are placed under investigation.

9 September: Further analysis of blood samples confirm that Paul had been drinking heavily and taking anti-depression drugs.

17 September: Examination of debris found at the scene of the crash suggests the involvement of a white Fiat Uno. Identity checks are carried out on 40,000 Fiat Uno owners.

19 September: Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, who survived the crash, says he is unable to remember the circumstances.


12 March: Mohamed al-Fayed, father of Diana's companion Dodi, tells investigators he believes the crash was the result of a plot, and blames press photographers.

3 July: Questioning of Diana's second bodyguard, Alexander Wingfield.

27 July: Olivier Lafaye, the usual driver of the Mercedes, tells an examining magistrate that the car's brakes were defective.

25 August: Magistrates quiz the managers of Mr al-Fayed's Ritz Hotel after allegations of security lapses.

2 November: A report says the Mercedes was travelling at at least 73mph.

18 November: An expert says Henri Paul may have made a driving error by putting the car in neutral while attempting to change down into a lower gear to reduce speed. A French expert concludes that Diana was properly treated and could not have survived her injuries.

11 December: Mohamed al-Fayed asks the French judge to consider claims the couple had been tailed by the CIA.


2 July: The Paris court of appeal throws out a petition by Mohamed al-Fayed contending that Diana's death was the work of British intelligence.

5 July: The probe is officially closed, the results of the inquiry being handed to the Paris prosecutor's office.

17 August: The prosecutor's office announces that no further action will be taken against the photographers.

3 September: The two investigating magistrates also announce they would not press charges. Mohamed al-Fayed says he will take the case to the Paris Appeals Court.

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