First published in New Idea magazine
(Although the following interview was conducted before Judge Herve Stephan’s inquiry announced its findings, we feel that it provides some useful background and serves as an effective introduction to ‘Princess Diana: The Cover-up Turns Deadly’, by Jeffery Steinberg, Ed)
After months of cloak-and-dagger spying, arrests and claims of dirty tricks against him, former British spy Richard Tomlinson has lifted the lid on the sinister world of M16 - the super secret agency he once worked for and which he now accuses of hounding and plotting to kill princess Diana. Regarded as Britain's No. 1 enemy by royalists, Richard believes that only by going public with what he knows is he safe from becoming MI6's next victim.
In an exclusive interview with New Idea in his Geneva hideaway he details, for the first time, what he secretly told French judge Herve Stephan, the man heading the inquest into Diana's death. The results of Judge Stephan's investigation into the Paris car crash, which killed the Princess, her lover Dodi Fayed and Ritz security boss Henri Paul over a year ago. Richard claims that Diana was spied on for 15 years until the night she died – and that one of the Paris paparazzi tailing her was, in reality, an MI6 agent. He tells a shocking tale of a spy organisation that hounded the Princess every day of her public life.
He says: "We were given a standing instruction to keep her in our sights. Even in the early days when she thought she could drive herself to visit friends, she was being followed everywhere - and not just by one car. "As she turned out of her gates, up to three cars would move in behind her. The first would then head off to let the second take up the tail. When it peeled off, the third would take over."
At her favourite London restaurant, San Lorenzo, every word the Princess uttered was recorded. Richard says: "No one, including the owner, knew the place was wired - and that the couple at the next table were listening to her every word... I don't think she had a private phone call in years. We had films and tapes of everything she was doing and everyone she was seeing..." Richard also told the inquiry that MI6 renegades, fanatically loyal to the Crown, viewed Diana as a 'loose cannon' - and would stop at nothing to eliminate her threat to eclipse the House of Windsor.
His knowledge of MI6's Diana operation made him a dangerous, high-risk threat to the organization after Diana's crash. Richard was picked up by police just three weeks after her death. He was handcuffed and interrogated. "I knew that Diana's death had MI6's dirty fingerprints all over it," he says. "I was determined to speak out and MI6 was just as determined to silence me..."
He also told the French inquiry: Ritz security boss Henri Paul, who drove the death car, was an MI6 informer paid to spy on Diana and Dodi.
The Diana crash was chillingly similar to a previous MI6 plot. That plot was to assassinate the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in Geneva using a powerful laser strobe light - similar to that described by witnesses to the Paris crash - to blind the driver. Richard claims MI6 dirty tricks experts have also perfected transmitters to knock out a car's electronics while it is on the move - even causing the airbags to inflate, blinding the driver.
"I was shown a document proposing an assassination of President Milosevic of Serbia because of his involvement with weapons shipments to Bosnia. The plan was to use a strobe light to blind his driver as he went into a road tunnel in Geneva. When I heard witnesses in Paris talk about a bright flash before Diana's car crash, it made sense.
"A tunnel is a perfect place for an assassination, with fewer witnesses. The Paris tunnel is also ideal because there are no crash rails along the central pillars, so it's a death trap. I also know that one of the paparazzi that night was working for MI6, too. He'd have been on a fast motorbike...
"They'd also have at their disposal sophisticated radio transmitters that would knock out the electronics of the limo at the press of a button, causing the airbags to inflate.
"Imagine - the driver flying into the tunnel at 90mph (145kph), picking up speed as he dips down, inches from those central concrete pillars. Suddenly, the car dies as the electronics fail. A blinding flash of light is shot into his eyes. Then, the airbag blows up in his face. Instant disaster..."
His claims about MI6 involvement in Diana's death will shock the world. "There's an arrogant faction inside MI6, part of the Eton/Oxford/Guards clique, who see themselves literally as defenders of the realm - and for them, that means the royals.
"When Di broke up with Charles, she immediately became the enemy. When she started a romance with Dodi Fayed, that raised an even more terrifying spectre.
"What if she'd married him and turned Muslim? What if they'd had children? The thought of Prince William, the future King of England, with a brown-skinned Muslim half-brother or sister was the worst possible scenario for them. In their eyes, Diana would single-handedly destroy the fabric of the nation they were pledged to defend.
"Backed by the Al Fayed millions, she could have set up a glittering rival court which would have made Buckingham Palace pale by comparison. She would have become the people's Queen, so she had to go.
"The thinking would go like this: after Diana's death the spotlight would turn back to the Palace, as it has; Prince Charles' popularity rating would start to climb as he wins back public sympathy, and it has done. And, importantly, Prince William will be firmly under Palace control. Mission accomplished. No Di, no rival court. Monarchy secure." www.rumormillnews.com
Date: Sunday, 21 May 2000.
(It almost sounds like a story line from an old James Bond movie. A former MI6 officer has a story to tell but what he has to say is so explosive that Her Majesty’s Secret Service decides to silence him; there are secret meetings and negotiations, car chases and killings, and while all this is going on the British public is kept completely in the dark.
Since making his explosive testimony, New Zealand born Richard Tomlinson, has become a man without a country: hounded out of Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, America, Switzerland, Germany and most recently Italy. In each case Scotland Yard’s Special Branch has worked in collusion with the local security services at the instigation of MI6. Speaking over the phone with the Auckland Herald recently he described how his last home in Rimini, Italy, was ransacked by Scotland Yard officers accompanied by armed Italian police. “I opened my door and they poured in at gunpoint,” he told the Herald over the phone: “All my legal papers have been taken,” he said. All of which seems to confirm his testimony to the inquiry into Princess Diana’s death. Ed)
Last updated 04/11/2002