Witnesses pick out driver at Diana inquest
30 October 2007, LONDON (AFP) - Witnesses on Monday pointed out the man they said drove the mysterious white Fiat Uno that conspiracy theorists have long associated with the death of princess Diana.
30 October 2007
LONDON (AFP) - Witnesses on Monday pointed out the man they said drove the mysterious white Fiat Uno that conspiracy theorists have long associated with the death of princess Diana.
The inquest into the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed also heard that their driver was "playing a game with photographers" and was behaving like an alcoholic shortly before the car crash in a Parisian underpass that killed him, Diana and Dodi.
Georges Dauzonne and his wife Sabine identified former security guard Le Van Thanh as the driver of the white Uno which they said emerged from the Pont d'Alma tunnel after the high-speed crash on August 30, 1997.
The couple had been having dinner before driving home shortly after midnight on the night of the crash, with Georges Dauzonne saying he had attempted to join an expressway next to the tunnel, but was forced to slow down by a Fiat Uno that was driving erratically.
The inquest has previously heard that there is evidence that the Mercedes which Diana and Dodi were riding in collided with a white Fiat Uno just before it crashed, and traces of paint on the Mercedes's wreckage support this argument, though the car itself has never been found.
Questioned separately, both Georges and Sabine Dauzonne identified two photographs of Le Van Thanh and his red Fiat Uno, among five they were shown in total, including one of photographer James Andanson whom Dodi's father Mohamed Al-Fayed alleges was the driver of the Uno in question.
"It is very difficult, but I would say the man in the first two photographs rings clearly a bell," Sabine Dauzonne told the hearing at London's High Court, referring to Le Van Thanh.
It has been reported that he had his car resprayed, though it is disputed whether he did this before or after the crash.
Al-Fayed, the millionaire owner of the upscale Harrods department store in London, insists that Andanson was driving the car as part of an establishment plot involving the British foreign intelligence service MI6 and Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip to kill Diana.
Also on Monday, Stephane Darmon, a photographer's motorcyclist, told the inquest that he had made a statement to police that chauffeur Henri Paul was "trying to create an atmosphere of pressure and anticipation" as he spoke to paparazzi waiting for Diana outside the Ritz Hotel.
"He was playing a game with the photographers," Darmon, who was speaking via video link from Paris, said.
"He was saying 'Lady Di is going to be there in about a quarter of an hour, etcetera.
"I think that he wanted to give wrong leads to photographers."
Darmon added that his father had been an alcoholic and that Paul "reminded me of my father, his eyes, the way he acted, that's what I thought."
He also said there was "panic" among the photographers when they realised that the car driven by Paul containing the princess, ex-wife of Britain's heir to the throne, Prince Charles, had left from the back of the hotel.
Paul was well over the drink-drive alcohol limit at the time and the car was being pursued by photographers.
The inquest started at the beginning of the month and is expected to last up to six months.
Subject: French news