Doco airs Diana crash photos


Summary

Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, had protested that showing photographs of the final moments of her life would be a "gross disrespect to their mother's memory.

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Channel 4's documentary, Diana: The Witness in the Tunnel, showed photographs of the scene inside the Mercedes carrying the princess after it crashed in a Paris road tunnel on August 31, 1997.

But a detailed black-and-white image of the rear of the car, where Diana lay, showing a doctor attending to her minutes after the incident, did not show her face – which was obscured by a grey square.

"If it were your or my mother dying in that tunnel, would we want the scene broadcast to the nation?" the princes' private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, said in a letter to Channel 4 television which was publicly released on Tuesday.

Channel 4 defended the film as a responsible documentary.

"We do not show, nor have we ever considered showing, Diana's final moments," it said in a statement.

Diana died along with her companion Dodi al Fayed when the car driven by their chauffeur Henri Paul crashed in the tunnel.

Mr Paul, subsequently said by French investigators to have been drunk and under the influence of anti-depressants, was also killed.

The broadcaster said the documentary examined the role of photographers alleged to have pursued Diana and Fayed from the Ritz Hotel to the Pont d'Alma tunnel, where the couple's speeding

limousine slammed into a concrete pillar.

Police inquiries in both France and Britain have already concluded that pursuing media did not cause the crash, or fail to act properly at the scene.

"They were very, very close," Mark Butt, an eyewitness, told the documentary. "But they did not impede anybody."

In 2002, France's highest court dropped manslaughter charges against nine photographers – including Jacques Langevin, Christian Martinez and Fabrice Chassery.

Last February, a Paris appeals court fined those three photographers 1 euro each for invasion of privacy for taking pictures of Diana and Fayed on the night of the crash.

Dodi Al Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, filed the invasion of privacy complaint, which focused on three photos of the couple leaving the hotel and three taken after the accident.

Mohamed Al Fayed claims that the photographers were used as a cover-up for a murder plot orchestrated by the British intelligence services and members of the royal family.

Lord Stevens, a former chief of London's Metropolitan Police, concluded after a lengthy inquiry that the crash was due to the chauffeur being drunk while driving at a high speed to elude photographers.

Stevens' report, published in January, said: "There was no evidence to show that the actions of the paparazzi were anything other than their normal working practice and no evidence that showed they were involved in any criminal conspiracy."

There was also no evidence that the "paparazzi, independently or in collusion with others, undertook actions in order to create an environment that allowed others to put into operation a plan to murder the Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed," Mr Stevens said.


Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, had protested that showing photographs of the final moments of her life would be a "gross disrespect to their mother's memory.

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"

Channel 4's documentary, Diana: The Witness in the Tunnel, showed photographs of the scene inside the Mercedes carrying the princess after it crashed in a Paris road tunnel on August 31, 1997.

But a detailed black-and-white image of the rear of the car, where Diana lay, showing a doctor attending to her minutes after the incident, did not show her face – which was obscured by a grey square.

"If it were your or my mother dying in that tunnel, would we want the scene broadcast to the nation?" the princes' private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, said in a letter to Channel 4 television which was publicly released on Tuesday.

Channel 4 defended the film as a responsible documentary.

"We do not show, nor have we ever considered showing, Diana's final moments," it said in a statement.

Diana died along with her companion Dodi al Fayed when the car driven by their chauffeur Henri Paul crashed in the tunnel.

Mr Paul, subsequently said by French investigators to have been drunk and under the influence of anti-depressants, was also killed.

The broadcaster said the documentary examined the role of photographers alleged to have pursued Diana and Fayed from the Ritz Hotel to the Pont d'Alma tunnel, where the couple's speeding

limousine slammed into a concrete pillar.

Police inquiries in both France and Britain have already concluded that pursuing media did not cause the crash, or fail to act properly at the scene.

"They were very, very close," Mark Butt, an eyewitness, told the documentary. "But they did not impede anybody."

In 2002, France's highest court dropped manslaughter charges against nine photographers – including Jacques Langevin, Christian Martinez and Fabrice Chassery.

Last February, a Paris appeals court fined those three photographers 1 euro each for invasion of privacy for taking pictures of Diana and Fayed on the night of the crash.

Dodi Al Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, filed the invasion of privacy complaint, which focused on three photos of the couple leaving the hotel and three taken after the accident.

Mohamed Al Fayed claims that the photographers were used as a cover-up for a murder plot orchestrated by the British intelligence services and members of the royal family.

Lord Stevens, a former chief of London's Metropolitan Police, concluded after a lengthy inquiry that the crash was due to the chauffeur being drunk while driving at a high speed to elude photographers.

Stevens' report, published in January, said: "There was no evidence to show that the actions of the paparazzi were anything other than their normal working practice and no evidence that showed they were involved in any criminal conspiracy."

There was also no evidence that the "paparazzi, independently or in collusion with others, undertook actions in order to create an environment that allowed others to put into operation a plan to murder the Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed," Mr Stevens said.