Al Fayed Wants Truth About Crash
PARIS (AP) _ On the eve of a key hearing into the crash that killed Princess Diana, Mohamed Al Fayed said Thursday he ``will not rest″ until he’s convinced it was an accident and not a plot to kill Diana and his son.
Al Fayed is planning to attend Friday’s closed-door session, in which Judge Herve Stephan will try to clarify the role of the photographers under investigation in the case.
The crash last Aug. 31 in a Paris traffic tunnel killed Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul. Tests showed Paul was drunk at the time.
Paul was an employee of the Ritz Hotel, which is owned by Al Fayed.
In a statement issued by his spokesman in London, Al Fayed said Thursday he is ``determined to get to the truth.″
``I will not rest until I am satisfied that what happened was God’s wish and not the wish of someone else,″ he said, according to spokesman Lawrie Meyer.
Also Thursday, a documentary broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 television reported that Ritz barman Alain Willaumez said that senior hotel managers asked him to say that Paul had been drinking fruit juice and showed no signs of being drunk before the crash.
``It was important to stick to this version for the good of the royal family,″ Willaumez said in a statement to French police, according to the documentary. Later, the bartender went back to the police and told the truth, the report said.
Bar staff have told French police that Paul had two drinks of a liqueur that resembles pineapple juice when it is mixed with water, the program said.
French judicial sources said recently that Al Fayed has backed off his contention that the crash stemmed from a plot to kill Diana and his son, and now thinks the paparazzi are to blame.
Al Fayed is a civil party in the case, and therefore has access to documents and proceedings.
Nine photographers and a press motorcyclist have been placed under formal investigation _ one step short of being charged _ for both manslaughter and failing to come to the aid of a person in danger.
But those close to the case believe the photographers will soon be exonerated _ at least on the manslaughter charge.
The nine photographers and press motorcyclist, Al Fayed and 10 witnesses will attend the hearing Friday at the Palais de Justice.
Although the probe is not complete, investigators have long believed it was Paul’s drunken condition and the Mercedes’ excessive speed that probably caused the crash.
They also are still looking for a white Fiat Uno believed to have brushed the Mercedes before it crashed. But they are said to have long given up any real hope of finding the Fiat.
Tests are still being conducted on the wrecked Mercedes Diana was traveling in, but aren’t likely to be finished before October _ meaning the case can’t be closed until then.
Investigators also recently conducted road tests on a race track near Paris to reconstruct the crash. Police revealed no details of those tests.