Diana Paris crash car ‘already a death trap’
THE Mercedes in which Princess Diana was driven to her death was a dangerous ‘rebuilt wreck’ but concerns about its safety were ignored, French TV claimed last night.
One warning that the car was not fit to be on the road and ‘didn’t hold’ if driven at more than 37mph came only two months before the fatal high-speed accident in Paris on August 31, 1997.
The Mercedes-Benz S280 pool car was provided by the Paris Ritz Hotel, owned by businessman Mohamed Fayed, whose son was Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed. The car was owned by Etoile Limousines, which provided chauffeurs and cars to the Ritz.
Pascal Rostain, a Paris photographer, yesterday told a French radio station that the ‘hugely dangerous’ car had been stolen and driven into the ground earlier in the year.
‘This Ritz car was a wreck. It had crashed before, and been rolled over several times,’ he said.
The car was ready to be broken up, but permission was then given to ‘remake’ it, the photographer claimed.
Mr Rostain said a friend at the Ritz, identified as a driver called Karim, took the Mercedes for a spin earlier in 1997 and warned senior staff to get rid of it, saying it lost its road holding abilities at more than 37mph. Mr Ros- tain is the co-author of a book called Who Killed Lady Di?, and the tragedy was the subject of a documentary broadcast last night on the French TV channel M6.
In 2008 a British jury delivered an inquest verdict of unlawful killing caused by Diana’s ‘grossly negligent’ chauffeur Henri Paul, who lost control as he raced at up to 120mph through the Alma Tunnel while drunk and on anti-depressants, and trying to get away from pursuing photographers.
A Scotland Yard report in 2006 concluded ‘there were no mechanical issues with the car that could have caused or contributed to the crash’.
Prince Harry questioned whether his mother Diana ‘was really dead’ after the Queen and other senior royals insisted on carrying on as normal the morning after the tragedy.
The revelation by Diana’s biographer Tina Brown suggests that the Royal Family’s attempts to ‘do as they had always done’ left her youngest son, then aged just 12, bewildered.
She said: ‘Prince Harry actually asked his father, “Is it true that Mummy’s dead?” ’ Her claim was aired last night in Channel documentary Diana: 7 Days That Shook The Windsors.
Above: The remains of the Mercedes Inset: Diana on the night of the tragedy