Diana Death: Bodyguards Face Quiz
Daily Express – July 17, 2006
Detectives investigating Princess Diana’s death are under growing pressure to re-interview her bodyguards.
It comes after the discovery of startling new evidence.
This centres on claims that chauffer Henri Paul, blaming French authorities for causing the accident through drink-driving, could “not possibly have been drunk” on the night of the tragedy.
But a French report, released within one day of the crash, claimed to show that Paul had been high on a cocktail of drink and drugs. Diana’s bodyguards on the night – ex-soldiers Trevor Rees-Jones and Kez Wingfield – are the only men alive who know for certain that Paul could not have been as drunk as French investigators claim.
Both Rees-Jones and Wingfield spent the crucial minutes leading up to Diana and Dodi’s departure from the Paris Ritz discussing the getaway plan with Paul.
Now calls for the issue of Paul’s physical and mental state at the time of the crash in August 1997 to be firmly established are being led by Lee Sansum, another of Diana’s former bodyguards.
Officers from Operation Paget, the £4 million inquiry into Diana’s death led by the former head of Scotland Yard Lord Stevens, spoke to Rees-Jones and Wingfield some time ago.
But that was before compelling new evidence emerged that Paul’s blood samples were switched in a French laboratory.
Sources close to the inquiry believe that the security guards must now be re-interviewed in the light of serious question marks surrounding French forensic evidence involving Paul.
At one stage, both bodyguards were keen to support Dodi’s father, Harrods boss Mohammed Al Fayed, in his pursuit of the truth.
But both are now based mostly overseas doing security work and have refused to co-operate any further with his inquiries, which have thrown up several questions that Lord Stevens has agreed need answering.
Both men have made a fortune from a book detailing their version of events surrounding Diana’s death called the Bodyguard.
Reid-Jones, whose £100,000 bill to rebuild his face and body following the crash was paid for by Mr Al Fayed, went on to a high-powered security job with the UN.
Calls for the men to be questioned again by the Diana death team were also made by Mr Al Fayed, who said he felt “betrayed” by their lack of public condemnation of the French accident investigators findings.
“I treated Trevor like a son after the crash, I paid £100,000 for his hospital treatment, I looked after his family while he was ill but how does he repay me?” asked Mr Al Fayed.
“He cashes in on the death of Diana and my son by writing a book with my other employee Kez Wingfield. But, if they had done their job on the night, the crash would never have happened. They need to tell the detectives what really happened.
“I am mystified that they are not helping.”
Mr Al Fayed believes that, in the hours before the crash, Henri Paul was given a detailed briefing by the intelligence services, during which he was instructed to persuade Dodi and Diana to leave the Ritz by a rear door and use a secret get-away car to drive to Dodi’s apartment.
At the same time, two decoy cars would be left at the entrance to the Ritz to keep the paparazzi away.
Paul, meanwhile, would drive a route agreed by the intelligence services, which would allow them to keep tabs on the Princess’s car and instigate a fatal accident. Mr Al Fayed said last night: “As experienced security guards, Trevor and Kez should have stopped Henri driving the getaway car and they should never have agreed to allow the Princess and Dodi to travel in a car without a back-up vehicle. This is contrary to all laid-down procedures.
“Their claims that I agreed to the plan are utterly and shamelessly false and I urge both of them to speak again to Lord Stevens team to make it absolutely clear that Henri Paul was not drunk on the night and that Diana and my son’s death were not accidents, they were murdered.”
Mr Sansum insists that Rees-Jones, a former soldier with a previously unblemished record in guarding VIPs, would never have allowed a drunk driver to operate on his “watch”. At the time, Rees-Jones was employed by Dodi’s father and was assigned to Diana because she had abandoned her royal protection officers.
Mr Sansum, a former member of the Special Investigations Branch of the Royal Military Police who had guarded Diana up to the year of her death, said he could never accept the conclusion of the French authorities that Diana’s death was simply caused by drink-driving.
He also said he would be more than happy to give all his evidence to the Paget inquiry.
Mr Sansum, who now runs a chain of karate schools in Elgin and Inverness in Scotland, said: “I worked for the Al Fayeds for four years and knew Trevor Rees-Jones well. I know that, when you worked with Trevor, drink was an absolute no-no. I don’t give much credence to the story that Henri Paul was drunk.
“Trevor would never have allowed the Princess to get in the car if he had smelled of drink.
“It just seems to me that we haven’t got the whole story yet.
“I spoke to Kez Wingfield shortly after the crash.
“He had been in a decoy car getting the photographers off Diana’s trail that night and he told me that Henri Paul wasn’t drunk. I’d be happy to tell the Stevens inquiry everything I know. The truth is the Princess feared that she was about to be killed in the final weeks of her life.” Mr Sansum’s views appear to back up Al Fayed’s theory that Diana was the victim of a sinister plot.
Mr Al Fayed believes British Intelligence murdered her because she was pregnant with Muslim Dodi’s baby.
There were members of the British Establishment, and especially the Royal Family, who could not accept such a state of affairs, claims Mr Al Fayed.
Last year it emerged that Paul, who earned just “20,000 a year as a Ritz chauffer had deposited £75,000 into numerous bank accounts before the crash.
Months after the tragedy Mr Sansum helped carry Mr Rees-Jones, who suffered massive injuries in the crash, to Dodi’s mausoleum on the Fayed family estate in Oxted, Surrey.
Mr Sansum said: “Trevor was mentally and physically screwed up. He was confused and said ‘Lee, this is going on in the world and I just don’t know anything about it’.
“But he did tell me that Henri Paul had not been drinking.
“Whatever the truth about that awful night, we don’t know it yet, and I suspect we won’t until the security services can be persuaded to reveal everything they know.”
Last updated 26/11/2006