September 20, 1997 in Nation/World

Bodyguard Doesn’t Remember Tunnel Crash

John-Thor Dahlburg Los Angeles Times

He was supposed to dispel the many lingering mysteries about how Princess Diana died, but bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, sole survivor of the auto crash that killed her, told investigators Friday that he cannot remember what happened, official sources said.

The former British paratrooper, 29, was badly disfigured in the Paris wreck nearly three weeks ago and underwent a 10-hour operation Sept. 4 to reconstruct his lower jaw and much of his face.

French authorities had hoped that the injured Briton would be able to describe what happened in the tunnel at the Place de l’Alma by the River Seine in the early hours of Aug. 31 and whether another vehicle might have been involved. They also want to know more about Henri Paul, the driver of the Mercedes-Benz carrying Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed.

Post-mortem tests show that Paul was legally drunk at the time of the crash.

Herve Stephan, an investigating magistrate, and a Paris police detective visited the intensive-care ward on the second floor of La Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, where Rees-Jones has been under care, and quizzed the bodyguard for the first time Friday.

A source close to the investigation said Rees-Jones answered questions during the half-hour session but could not remember anything that transpired after he and the others got into the Mercedes-Benz outside the Hotel Ritz. As for Paul, he appeared “very fine” to Rees-Jones as he took the wheel, the source told the French news service Agence France-Presse.

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