Angus Howarth – The Scotsman January 10, 2004
British police have serious doubts about the authenticity of a blood sample which French magistrates say proves that Diana, Princes of Wales, died because her chauffeur was drunk, it was reported today.
No DNA tests were carried out by French authorities to prove that the specimen belonged to the chauffeur, Henri Paul, who was driving Diana and her lover, Dodi Fayed, on the night in August 1997 when they died, it was reported in today's Times newspaper.
The report comes four days after a British inquest into Diana's death was opened.
The main concern centres around the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood sample - a level that would usually mean someone would struggle to walk, let alone drive a car.
The examining magistrates in France, Herve Stephan and Marie-Christine Devidal, said that the three died because "the driver of the vehicle was drunk and under the effect of medicine incompatible with alcohol, a state which did not enable him to maintain control of his vehicle while driving at high speed on a difficult part of the road, and also having to avoid a vehicle travelling in the same direction at a slower speed".
Lawyers for Mohamed al- Fayed, Dodi's father, had asked for an independent analysis of the blood samples but Judge Stephan refused.
If the blood sample cannot be positively connected to the chauffeur, there is still evidence that his driving may have been to blame for the deaths. Scotland Yard sources told the Times that they have a high regard for the quality of the French road traffic accident investigation, which they hail as "exemplary".
Last updated 11/01/2004