New witnesses help 'reconstruct' Diana crash

2nd June 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, June 2, 2006 (AFP) - The probe into the Paris car crash that killed Princess Diana is benefiting from a computer-generated reconstruction and is making "extraordinary" headway, the top investigator said in remarks published Friday.

LONDON, June 2, 2006 (AFP) - The probe into the Paris car crash that killed Princess Diana is benefiting from a computer-generated reconstruction and is making "extraordinary" headway, the top investigator said in remarks published Friday.

Sir John Stevens told the Daily Express that revolutionary technology has allowed police to construct a virtual reality film of what happened when Diana left her hotel in Paris in August 1997 until the time the car crashed.

"We're using the latest technology that the French didn't have obviously seven or eight years ago. Even they're impressed by what we're doing," said Stevens, a former head of London's Metropolitan Police.

"We can use reality television in terms of what the car did, how it performed on that day — the forensic side of this has advanced massively," he was quoted as saying.

The video reconstruction will be part of a preliminary report presented to the royal coroner in August. It is yet to be decided whether it will ever be presented to the public, the newspaper said.

Stevens added that it was "quite extraordinary how things are advancing," according to the newspaper.

"We've got new witnesses and we're going through new techniques and the rest of it and we're just absolutely determined to make sure that this is a thorough job and we're not going to be hurried into it," Stevens said.

Stevens also revealed for the first time how British officers have now dismantled the ill-fated Mercedes S280 "bolt by bolt," with every part tested, before being reconstructed again, the newspaper said.

The French authorities turned the car over to the British several months ago after completing their own probe.

In reports on Wednesday, the Daily Express and other newspaper quoted Stevens as saying that fresh witnesses and new evidence had been found in the investigation.

Stevens was quoted in The Guardian Wednesday as revealing that he met Mohammed Al Fayed, the millionaire Harrod's owner whose son, Dodi, also died in the crash, every two months.

Speculation continues that the Princess of Wales' death was not the result of a straightforward car accident. The probe was ordered in 2004 by the royal coroner, Michael Burgess, amid continuing conspiracy theories.

But Stevens — who is promoting his autobiography — assured his audience at The Guardian-sponsored literary festival where he made the comments that "each and every conspiracy theory" is being investigated.

"We will go where the evidence takes us and I intend to finish the job. It is a complex business and it is taking time," he added.

Diana married Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, in 1981 but the pair separated 11 years later. She was killed with Dodi Al Fayed and their chauffeur Henri Paul on August 31, 1997.

The French probe blamed Paul for losing control of the car because he was high on drink and prescription drugs and driving too fast.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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