Diana’s Lover was ‘Murdered’
Robert Jobson -- Evening Standard December 8, 2004
The mother of the driver involved in the crash that killed Princess Diana's lover has claimed that she now thinks he was murdered.
Joy Chopp said she has serious doubts about the accident in which royal protection officer Barry Mannakee died. Her comments come as tapes in which Diana said she believed Mr Mannakee was "bumped off " were broadcast in America.
Mrs Chopp, 55, said: "Things just don't add up. For years I had always thought the crash was just a tragic accident. I now wonder whether it was really an accident after all.
"In the last couple of months I've begun to analyse the facts of the case. There are so many questions that remain unanswered."
Scotland Yard detectives have launched a fresh investigation into the motorcycle crash in May 1987 in which her then 17-year-old daughter Nicola was involved. Mr Mannakee, who Diana has revealed she wanted to "run away with", was riding pillion when the crash happened in Woodford, east London.
Nicola Chopp was turning right at a junction when the motorcycle appeared in her path. It tried to swerve but crashed into her car. Mr Mannakee fell head-first into Miss Chopp's rear window and died instantly.
Miss Chopp, now 35 and living in the US, said recently: "I have always wondered if some more sinister forces were at play that night, although I could never prove it. I believe with conviction that I was not the cause of Barry Mannakee's death."
Her mother's comments today in the Daily Express come two months after she dismissed conspiracy theories. Mrs Chopp, from Essex, says "little things" have raised serious questions about Mr Mannakee's death.
She said: "Firstly, I had about half a dozen high-ranking officers around my house straight after the crash.
They searched everywhere and took Nicola away for questioning without allowing me to go with her.
"No one was ever breathalysed, which I would have thought would have been standard procedure following a fatal crash, especially involving a teenage girl on her way to a pub."
She said a car driven by a woman in glasses at the scene just before the crash was never traced and a witness who arrived on the scene just after the accident was never called to give evidence.
Diana tape suggests lover "bumped off"
Last updated 12/12/2004