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Saturday, 4 March, 2000, 20:02 GMT
Al-Fayed condemns Diana's bodyguard
A Dodi and Diana shrine
The accident sparked worldwide mourning
Mohamed al-Fayed has criticised the bodyguard who survived the Paris car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, for his decision to write a book about his experiences.

The Harrods boss alleged Trevor Rees-Jones' story was being used to "reinforce an Establishment cover-up".

In a newspaper interview, Mr Rees-Jones said he would have gladly traded his own life for hers and the two other victims, Mr al-Fayed's son Dodi and chauffeur Henri Paul.

He told the Daily Telegraph, which is serialising his book: "If I could have died and those three survived, I would have done it. If I could have done something... I go mad thinking about if onlys."

Trevor Rees Jones
Trevor Rees Jones spent a month in hospital
In response, Mr al-Fayed said: "I am saddened and disappointed that Trevor has chosen to tell his story in this way.

"Legally and morally, he owes me a duty of confidentiality and, I would hope, a debt of gratitude for all I did to help him after the crash.

"His interview and his book will do nothing to aid the process of investigation, nor will it change perceptions of his part in events."

I can't sympathise with him for accusing Prince Philip of murdering Dodi and the princess or me of not doing my job properly.

Trevor Rees Jones
But Mr Rees-Jones later issued a statement in which he said: "I make no attacks on anyone.

"It was Mr al-Fayed who first attacked me in the press, blaming me for the tragic events in a needless way.

"I now wish to set the record straight. I believe I have a legal and moral right to respond. I do so in my book.

Mohamed al-Fayed
Mr al-Fayed says book is a mistake
"I have no agendas. I invite people to read my account and make up their own minds."

The bodyguard told the Telegraph he was still haunted by knowing she died while he was on duty.

The former paratrooper said he still suffered nightmares, two-and-a-half years after the crash in an underpass at the Pont D'Alma.

But he says while he felt guilty that the princess died "on my shift", he did not feel personally responsible for the accident.

Princess Diana
Mr Rees-Jones says he felt guilty Diana died "on my shift"
Mr Rees-Jones said Dodi Fayed had insisted on the arrangements which led to them being driven at high speed through a tunnel by a drunken driver.

The former bodyguard lay in hospital for more than a month after the crash. His facial injuries were so bad his mother did not recognise him.

He told the Telegraph that when he recovered and returned to the UK, still a Ritz Hotel employee, he became inveigled into Mr al-Fayed's attempt to portray the crash as part of a sinister conspiracy.

Mr Rees-Jones said he left Mr al-Fayed's employ after his boss became frustrated at his inability to recall details of the crash.

Mr al-Fayed has since accused the bodyguard of failing to do his job properly, although the French magistrate investigating the crash cleared him of any blame.

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