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Sunday, 9 April, 2000, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Paparazzi's role in Diana accident
Trevor Rees-Jones
Trevor Rees-Jones is mobbed by the press
Trevor Rees-Jones, Princess Diana's bodyguard and the sole survivor of her fatal car crash, has said photographers pursuing her created the atmosphere for the accident.

The 31-year-old fromer paratrooper from north Wales made the comments in an interview for a French television programme on Sunday.

"They are not directly responsible for the accident, but indirectly they created the atmosphere in which the accident happened," he told France 2 television.

Princess Diana died when the Mercedes in which she was travelling with her boyfriend Dodi al Fayed crashed into a pillar in a tunnel in Paris in August 1997.

Rees-Jones in December 1997
Trevor Rees-Jones four months after the crash

The car was being chased by photographers mounted on motorcycles.

The photographers and a press courier were arrested and placed under investigation on suspicion of manslaughter and failure to assist accident victims.

But a French court cleared the nine photographers and the courier of responsibility in August last year.

Mr Rees-Jones, who has undergone extensive plastic surgery after suffering appalling injuries in the crash, said the photographers were "more aggressive than anywhere else".

Princess Diana
Princess Diana: Still mourned

The bodyguard has said he has no memory of the crash itself or of the minutes preceding it.

Mr Rees-Jones, who has written a book titled "The Bodyguard's Story", said he had not noticed that Henri Paul, deputy security chief at the Ritz hotel where the couple were staying and who was driving the car, was under the influence of alcohol.

"Nothing in the behaviour of the driver suggested he was drunk", Mr Rees-Jones said in the interview, recorded in London last Wednesday.

Mohammed al Fayed
Mohammed al Fayed believes in a conspiracy

The inquiry into Diana's death concluded that Mr Paul was driving under the effect of alcohol and anti-depressants.

Mr Rees-Jones also discounted the theory put forward by Dodi's father, that there had been a conspiracy to kill the princess.

"(Mohammed al Fayed) believes that it was a conspiracy; he named a number of institutions; I can understand that sort of pain," he said.

"Mr Fayed had access to the same files I did and nothing suggests it was anything but a tragic accident."

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