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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bodyguard: Dodi Called In Alternate Driver

PARIS -- The sole survivor of the automobile crash that killed Princess Diana has told investigators it was Diana's companion who personally called in an off-duty security guard to drive the couple, sources close to the investigation said.


The legal sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday, cited testimony given Friday by Trevor Rees-Jones, the bodyguard of Diana's companion, Dodi Al Fayed, from his room at a Paris hospital.


Fayed was killed in the Aug. 31 high-speed accident in Paris along with the driver, Henri Paul, assistant security chief at the Ritz Hotel. Blood tests have shown Paul was legally drunk at the time of the accident.


The account expanded on information made available Friday by judicial sources after the half-hour meeting between Rees-Jones and Judge Herve Stephan, who is investigating the case. The account is the first to name Dodi as the person who called in Paul, a trusted Ritz employee, and it echoes earlier reports that Dodi concocted the plan to dodge photographers.


Rees-Jones, 29, who is recovering from surgery to reconstruct his smashed jaw and from lung injuries, was interviewed for the first time Friday at Pitie-Salpetriere hospital.


Asked if he remembered when Paul was called and by whom, Rees-Jones replied: "Dodi called him so that he would drive us from the back of the hotel," according to the sources.


Asked if he knew why, Rees-Jones replied: "No. It's Dodi who changed the plan. It's not me."


Fayed and Diana were heading to a Fayed family apartment near the Champs-Elysees after dining at the Ritz, which is owned by Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi's father. The regular chauffeur left from the front door as a decoy to trick photographers trailing the couple.


Diana and Dodi left from a back entrance of the Ritz in a black Mercedes driven by Paul, who had been off duty and was called back to work.


Three blood tests showed his body contained more than three times the legal level of alcohol. A test also showed he had ingested prescription medication.


Rees-Jones did not remember the events of the crash itself, judicial sources said Friday. Doctors had said all along that amnesia due to the trauma of the accident and the anesthesia was possible.


"At the beginning, we were supposed to leave from the front of the hotel with two cars," Rees-Jones said, according to the account made available Monday. "They [the photographers] were there, at any rate, and I thought it would be better to have two cars rather than one."


He said he did not remember whether photographers were taking pictures during the brief trip that ended in the crash in a road tunnel at the Pont de l'Alma.


Rees-Jones, as cited in the account, said he remembered "numerous photographers and numerous cameras that bothered us" when the group arrived at the Ritz on Aug. 30. "It bothered the princess and Dodi a lot," he said.


"Dodi changed the plan. The princess, Dodi, Henri Paul and myself left by the back," Rees-Jones was quoted as saying.


He said he remembered being followed by "a car and two motorcycles."


Rees-Jones said he thought the car, which began following them at the hotel, was a white two-door, but that he did not think he could recognize it again.


He then described other vehicles that had followed them during the day -- a Jeep, two motorcycles and a small dark car. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


PARIS -- The sole survivor of the automobile crash that killed Princess Diana has told investigators it was Diana's companion who personally called in an off-duty security guard to drive the couple, sources close to the investigation said.


The legal sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday, cited testimony given Friday by Trevor Rees-Jones, the bodyguard of Diana's companion, Dodi Al Fayed, from his room at a Paris hospital.


Fayed was killed in the Aug. 31 high-speed accident in Paris along with the driver, Henri Paul, assistant security chief at the Ritz Hotel. Blood tests have shown Paul was legally drunk at the time of the accident.


The account expanded on information made available Friday by judicial sources after the half-hour meeting between Rees-Jones and Judge Herve Stephan, who is investigating the case. The account is the first to name Dodi as the person who called in Paul, a trusted Ritz employee, and it echoes earlier reports that Dodi concocted the plan to dodge photographers.


Rees-Jones, 29, who is recovering from surgery to reconstruct his smashed jaw and from lung injuries, was interviewed for the first time Friday at Pitie-Salpetriere hospital.


Asked if he remembered when Paul was called and by whom, Rees-Jones replied: "Dodi called him so that he would drive us from the back of the hotel," according to the sources.


Asked if he knew why, Rees-Jones replied: "No. It's Dodi who changed the plan. It's not me."


Fayed and Diana were heading to a Fayed family apartment near the Champs-Elysees after dining at the Ritz, which is owned by Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi's father. The regular chauffeur left from the front door as a decoy to trick photographers trailing the couple.


Diana and Dodi left from a back entrance of the Ritz in a black Mercedes driven by Paul, who had been off duty and was called back to work.


Three blood tests showed his body contained more than three times the legal level of alcohol. A test also showed he had ingested prescription medication.


Rees-Jones did not remember the events of the crash itself, judicial sources said Friday. Doctors had said all along that amnesia due to the trauma of the accident and the anesthesia was possible.


"At the beginning, we were supposed to leave from the front of the hotel with two cars," Rees-Jones said, according to the account made available Monday. "They [the photographers] were there, at any rate, and I thought it would be better to have two cars rather than one."


He said he did not remember whether photographers were taking pictures during the brief trip that ended in the crash in a road tunnel at the Pont de l'Alma.


Rees-Jones, as cited in the account, said he remembered "numerous photographers and numerous cameras that bothered us" when the group arrived at the Ritz on Aug. 30. "It bothered the princess and Dodi a lot," he said.


"Dodi changed the plan. The princess, Dodi, Henri Paul and myself left by the back," Rees-Jones was quoted as saying.


He said he remembered being followed by "a car and two motorcycles."


Rees-Jones said he thought the car, which began following them at the hotel, was a white two-door, but that he did not think he could recognize it again.


He then described other vehicles that had followed them during the day -- a Jeep, two motorcycles and a small dark car.