Diana crash survivor to give evidence at inquest

The sole survivor of the crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales, will give evidence at her inquest today.

The jury, sitting at the High Court in London, have been told that Dodi Fayed’s bodyguard Trevor Rees (formerly known as Rees-Jones) has little memory of the smash in Paris in the early hours of August 31 1997.

But Mr Rees is expected to be asked about events leading up to the tragedy in the Alma Tunnel in which Diana, her lover Dodi and Ritz Hotel security chief Henri Paul were killed.

His evidence is likely to be set against Mohamed al Fayed’s contention that the crash was a plot orchestrated by MI6 at the behest of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Among areas he is likely to give evidence on will be the crucial question of the doomed plan for Mr Paul – who was not a chauffeur – to drive the couple that night as part of a ruse to evade the paparazzi.

Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker outlined to the jury in his opening in October that Mr Rees contends that Dodi had insisted on the plan while he “strongly advised” against it.

Dodi’s father Mr al Fayed is convinced Mr Rees was turned against him by the security services, the jury has been told.

The Harrods tycoon believes he is lying about his memory loss and claims that his book 'The Bodyguard’s Story' was written by British spies, the coroner has told the jury.

Psychiatrist Dr Maurice Lipsedge told the hearing yesterday, in a written statement, that the bodyguard only remembered getting into the Mercedes with Diana, Dodi and Mr Paul but nothing after that.

Mr Rees, a former paratrooper, was the front seat passenger in the car and in the crash broke every bone in his face and suffered serious chest injuries.

The psychiatrist said: “A few snatches might come back to him, but his memories are not at all reliable because even for him it is impossible to tell if these are genuine memories or reconstructions of events from information he might have had later, dreams or imagination.”

Mr Rees may also be able to give evidence on whether Mr Paul had been drinking.

CCTV evidence shows that he and fellow bodyguard Kes Wingfield were in the bar of the Ritz with the security chief on the night of August 30-31.

It is the evidence of another former Fayed security man Ben Murrell that Mr Rees telephoned him that night to say that Mr Paul was drinking and he thought it was unprofessional.

Mr Murrell, who gave evidence by video link last week, is being recalled today and is listed to appear before Mr Rees.

Mr Murrell, whose real name is Reuben although he is known as Ben, told the court last week that he left his job working for Mr al Fayed after being asked to embellish his account of the afternoon of August 30.

He also claimed that, after the crash, he felt himself coming under pressure to “contain” Mr Rees’s family to prevent them speaking out against the Fayed interests.

Mr al Fayed believes that Mr Murrell was also turned against him by the security services, the jury has heard.

Mr Rees was present throughout the day before the tragedy and is seen in CCTV accompanying Dodi to the Repossi jewellers where Mr al Fayed believes an “engagement” ring was bought for Diana.

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