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Thursday, February 12, 1998 Published at 04:59 GMT


Diana crash was a conspiracy - Al Fayed
image: [ Mohammed Al Fayed:
Mohammed Al Fayed: "That car didn't accidentally crash."

The father of Dodi Fayed has told a British newspaper he believes the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, and his son was a conspiracy, not an accident.

Mohamed Al Fayed makes a number of controversial claims in his interview with The Mirror.

In a five-page spread, the Harrods boss also said he had received Princess Diana's last words and insisted she and Dodi were engaged to marry.

Mr Al Fayed, the owner of the Paris Ritz, where Diana and Dodi had their last meal, said he was speaking out to counter the "rubbish" spread about the crash.

[ image: Diana: died shortly after crash]
Diana: died shortly after crash
"I believe in my heart 99.9% that it was not an accident," he told The Mirror.

"That car didn't accidentally crash. There was a conspiracy. I will not rest until I have established exactly what happened.

"I have great confidence in the investigators in Paris and I believe that we will find the truth."

A spokeswoman at Diana's office would not comment on the story but added: "This continued speculation is both unhelpful and upsetting to the family."

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace added: "The investigation is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to make any comment while that is the case."

"Drinking is part of the French lifestyle"

In the days after the August 31 crash, tests found driver Henri Paul, who was employed by the Ritz, had drunk the equivalent of two bottles of wine before getting into the Mercedes S280.

[ image: Diana's death caused worldwide sorrow]
Diana's death caused worldwide sorrow
This shifted the focus of public blame from the paparazzi who had been pursuing the car onto Mr Paul. He was also found to be taking prescription drugs shortly before his death in the crash.

Mr Al Fayed initially refused to accept these claims but further tests appeared to confirm them.

He told The Mirror: "Everybody wants to blame the driver. It suits everyone to say it was just a drunken driver.

"But you have to remember that drinking is part of the French lifestyle.

"Many people drive over there with alcohol in their blood but it doesn't mean they are incapable of driving. Nothing in his performance in the hours leading up to him driving the car suggested he was drunk or incapable of driving."

Al Fayed paid for Dodi's engagement ring

Mr Al Fayed is also quoted in The Mirror as saying he paid £150,000 for an engagement ring that Dodi planned to give Diana at the other end of their fatal journey.

But, Mr Al Fayed said, Princess Diana had already accepted his son's proposal of marriage.

[ image: Sole survivor: Trevor Rees Jones mobbed by press]
Sole survivor: Trevor Rees Jones mobbed by press
"I know the truth because I am his father," he said.

"He rang me personally to tell me that they were engaged."

Mr Al Fayed said he was sure Diana had mentioned the subject to her children, Princes William and Harry.

The final likely controversy in the first of two days of revelations from Mr Al Fayed in The Mirror is his insistence he did talk to an unnamed nurse at the Paris hospital who passed on Diana's last words to him.

Doctors who treated the princess have previously said it would have been impossible for her to talk because of her condition during the time between the crash and her death.

But Mr Al Fayed said a female nurse approached him and told him Diana had requested her possessions in Dodi's apartment be given to her sister.

Flow of conspiracy theories

Intense interest in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, has caused many conspiracy theories to emerge about her death.

A stream of books and magazine articles keep on providing fresh arguments for those who doubt the crash was an accident.

[ image: Dodi Al-Fayed: a Muslim]
Dodi Al-Fayed: a Muslim
Many conspiracy theories focus on the fact that Dodi Al Fayed was a Muslim. In Egypt, a lawyer is attempting to sue both the Queen and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, claiming they conspired to kill Diana because her love for a Muslim would embarrass the state.

A bodyguard for Diana, Princess of Wales, Trevor Rees Jones, was also badly injured in the crash. He has said he has no memory of the exact moments before the car struck a pillar in a Parisian tunnel.

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