PRINCESS DIANA’s former bodyguard has revealed what he thinks really killed her on the fateful night in Paris, claiming that, if he had been there, the princess would have survived.
Diana, Princess of Wales’ former bodyguard Lee Sansum has released a new book detailing his experience of guarding the most famous woman in the world. Mr Sansum was part of Mohamed and Dodi Al-Fayed’s protection team, so when Dodi and Diana began dating in the summer of 1997, the ex-Royal Military Policeman formed a close relationship with the princess. He was assigned to look after Diana and her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, during their stay at Mr Al-Fayed’s holiday villa in St. Tropez.
Mr Sansum was not working the night Diana and Dodi died in the tragic car crash in Paris. And he believes if he had the princess might still be alive. In an interview with The Sun earlier this month, the former protection officer revealed what he thinks caused Diana’s death. He said: “It could have been me in that car. “We drew straws to see who would be accompanying Trevor [Rees-Jones, Diana’s bodyguard who was in the front seat of the car and the crash’s only survivor] that weekend. “When I learned they were not wearing seatbelts in the crash I understood why they didn’t survive. I always insisted on it.”
The expert in close protection added it was standard practice for the Al-Fayed family to wear seatbelts, a demand ordered by Mohamed. It has been reported that Mr Rees-Jones was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, while others claimed none of the passengers were wearing their seatbelts. In his book, Mr Sansum wrote: “There was an understandable focus on seatbelts at the inquest and the fact that the people who died in the crash — Diana, Dodi and Henri Paul — were not wearing them. “Only Trevor was and he survived, just.”
He continued: “My initial reaction to the news of the crash had been to question how this could have happened — they were travelling in a robust car and I couldn’t imagine how three people could have died on the streets of Paris like that. “But then I saw the state of the vehicle. Later, when I learned they were not wearing seatbelts, I began to understand why they didn’t survive.” Henri Paul, the driver of the black Mercedes, was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs when he got behind the wheel on the night of August 31, 1997.
Two investigations — one by the French police in 1999 and another by the Metropolitan Police in 2008 — concluded that Mr Paul was responsible for the crash, with the British investigators also finding the pursuing paparazzi contributed to the collision. Conspiracy theories surrounded the accident immediately after it happened, with many believing the tragic incident was not merely an accident, but a murder. Mr Sansum does not believe the princess’ death was deliberate but has claimed the presence of intelligence services following her before the incident could have been a contributing factor to the crash.
In his book, which hit shelves on Thursday, he said: “I don’t believe for one moment that MI6 arranged to have Diana killed. “There was no reason to do it and a car crash is not a reliable way to ensure the death of a target anyway. “Trevor was in that car. He survived and eventually recovered. “I don’t think they were trying to murder Diana but I do believe they were there and that would have been enough to implicate them in her death. “Perhaps they inadvertently caused Henri Paul to take evasive action.”
In 2007, the British inquest heard that MI6 agents were operating in Paris at the time of the crash, but denied any involvement in a conspiracy to murder Diana and Dodi. Mohamed Al-Fayed believed his son and the princess were deliberately killed by MI6 as part of a plot involving the Royal Family. He believed officers used stun guns to blind Mr Paul as he drove in the Paris road tunnel, causing him to crash into one of the pillars. Mr Al-Fayed also alleged the driver was an agent working for MI6, claiming the evidence was tampered with to portray him as a drunk. His theories were never proven.
Mr Sansum revealed he “felt sorry” for Dodi’s father, saying: “Some of his wilder theories, about there being a high-level conspiracy to assassinate Diana and Dodi, were born out of frustration because he wasn’t getting answers. “He had lost his son but the media had no sympathy for him and they mocked any notion that there may have been anyone other than members of the paparazzi at the scene as little more than a conspiracy theory.” The Bodyguard was written by Lee Sansum and published by Orion Publishing Co. It is available to purchase here.