British police to study Princess Diana crash car

24th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Jan 24 (AFP) - French police have agreed to ship secretly to Britain the Mercedes in which Princess Diana was killed so that British police can study the vehicle, a newspaper reported Monday.

LONDON, Jan 24 (AFP) - French police have agreed to ship secretly to Britain the Mercedes in which Princess Diana was killed so that British police can study the vehicle, a newspaper reported Monday.

It will be the first time the car has been examined by British detectives for clues into how and why the 1997 crash happened in Paris's Pont d'Alma tunnel after the princess left the city's Ritz Hotel, the Daily Mail said.

The newspaper said the car would be examined by detectives and police scientists involved in an inquiry into Diana's death. A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the story when contacted by AFP.

The investigation by the so-called "Diana squad" is headed by outgoing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens.

"The British are welcome to have the car, but they won't find any clues in it as to what caused the crash," said a French police spokesman, quoted by the newspaper.

Sir John's team has already interviewed 1,200 witnesses and hopes to conclude inquiries before the end of the year, when a formal inquest into Diana's death will begin.

"There has been speculation about the possibility of the car's controls being meddled with before the crash," a Paris source was quoted as saying.

"Certainly there was an opportunity to do that because it had only recently been stolen and found again. But it will be up to police scientists in Britain to look at the car again in minute detail," the source said.

The princess's boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed, and the head of the Ritz Hotel security, Henri Paul, who was driving, were both killed instantly in the 1997 crash. Diana died hours later.

Since then, the Mercedes has been at the centre of a series of conspiracy theories about the crash, all of which have been rejected by police and none of which has been substantiated by evidence.

An official French report into the crash concluded that it was caused by Paul, who had drunk excessively and was not trained to drive the armoured limousine, driving at high speed as he tried to outrun pursuing photographers.

The car had been stolen several months before the accident, leading some to speculate that this might have been an opportunity to tamper with it.

After the accident, the Mercedes was taken to a forensic laboratory at Rosny-sous-Bois where it was examined after being dismantled. It now lies in bits in two shipping containers at an industrial estate southeast of Paris.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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