Having re-vamped EDGE OF TREAON I will of course be looking to re-vamp my take on the tragic death of Diana Princess of Wales. I thought all the angles (except my new approach) had been covered, and then today I read the Daily Express only to find the headlines full of my latest version.
Major Tallon keeps saying I'm always one step ahead of the news, but this is quite spooky...especially with a "Diana" film coming out soon
French authorities failed to hand over a key part of the Mercedes from the Paris tragedy.
And an official report was omitted from inquiries into the 1997 crash – with clues highlighted by a top British investigator withheld from the inquest into Diana’s death.
World renowned accident examiner David Price meticulously deconstructed the luxury car. But he told last night how he was “surprised” never to have been called to give evidence at the hearing. The shambolic handling of the initial investigation into the accident even saw parts of the car destroyed while in the possession of the French authorities.
But the most explosive revelation to emerge from his report was that a foot-long section of brake pipe – leading to the front right brake – was never handed over to British investigators, making it impossible to disprove tampering.
The revelations come after claims Diana was killed by an elite team of SAS and MI6 agents on motorbikes acting on orders from Buckingham Palace.
Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators expert Mr Price conducted a forensic examination and his report was used by the authors of Operation Paget, the police probe into the fatal crash.
But the blunders cast fresh doubt on the credibility of official inquiries after Diana died alongside her Muslim lover Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.
The vehicle’s brake fluid was found to contain a level of water that could have interfered with braking efficiency, but it was brushed off as post-crash contamination.
Its front right tyre contained “a considerable quantity of water”, which was never measured or analysed to determine its origin, potentially affecting the handling of the vehicle.
Reports that the car had been handling poorly before the crash were never recorded as part of Operation Paget, the inquiry led by Lord Stevens which investigated conspiracy theories surrounding the accident.
Mr Price, 55, who worked for the Forensic Science Service for 31 years, told the Daily Express from France last night: “It was a surprise I was not called to deal with some of these issues.
“The inquest spent a lot of time with witnesses who saw things and heard things but it didn’t ask questions about the car itself. Issues were being raised such as brake tampering so I was surprised not to have been called.
“The frustrating thing for me is that my report is not freely available because this was such a high-profile case and I’m not trying to hide anything.”
In his report he wrote: “I am not able to exclude the possibility of brake pipes having been cut prior to the incident, although I consider it highly unlikely that they had been, as it should have been readily obvious to the French investigators when they removed the ABS modulator.
The aftermath of the crash in the Paris
The frustrating thing for me is that my report is not freely available because this was such a high-profile case and I’m not trying to hide anything
Examiner David Price
Chauffeur Olivier Lafaye drove the car hours before the crash and reported the back end “slewing out” at speed. His comments were not recorded in Paget and he was not called at the inquest.
“Whilst I did not observe any signs of staining that I considered might have resulted from brake fluid having been ejected during use, I consider the extent of the damage and the existence of smashed oil-containing items, such as the engine, precluded me from being entirely certain.”
The report, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, showed the car’s Electronic Control Unit, responsible for the brakes, had a “fault” code stored.
Mr Price wrote: “I consider it most probable that one or more wheels had skidded. I am not an expert in electronics and so I consider it probable the only persons who could provide expert evidence in the precise functioning of the units would be design engineers.”
He added: “Only they are likely to have knowledge of the precise operating parameters.” But Paget ignored this lead, simply stating: “David Price concluded that no additional testing was possible.
“He considered that the conclusions reached by the French investigators, that the codes had been created at the time of the crash, were most probably correct.”
Paget concluded both the French and British examinations of the Mercedes showed there were “no mechanical issues with the car that could have in any way caused or contributed to the crash”.
Paint taken from the tunnel and the car and its front right door were lost in an “unexplained fire” in 1999. Its front wing was also destroyed on the orders of a French judge in 2003.