Joined: 13 Feb 2006
|Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:11 pm Post subject: Death of Diana's bodygaurd 'not foul play'
|Death of Diana's bodygaurd 'not foul play'
By Dominic Yeatman
THE death of Princess Diana's former bodyguard and lover in a South Woodford car crash 19 years ago was not foul play, according to detectives investigating Diana's death.
Sgt Barry Mannakee, 39, died when the Suzuki motorbike on which he was riding pillion crashed with a car at the junction of Hermitage Walk and Woodford High Road in May 1987.
In a videotape recorded later by the princess's voice coach, she said that she had been deeply in love with the officer and that she believed he had been bumped off' by the security services.
It was a view echoed by the South Woodford teenager whose Ford Fiesta collided with Sgt Mannakee, from Loughton, breaking his spine in two places.
Nicola Chopp had passed her driving test only six weeks earlier, and was fined £85 for careless driving at the time, but she was unhappy with the inquest verdict of accidental death.
Her pursuit of answers has been featured in the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian over the past few years.
Now living in the United States, Ms Chopp told a Sunday newspaper: "I still feel that inconsistencies regarding witness statements remain unanswered."
Travelling directly in front of Sgt Mannakee's motorbike was an estate car that has never been traced.
After the crash a passer-by came to Ms Chopp's aid and walked her home but he was never called to the inquest.
Ms Chopp said: "Both I and Barry Mannakee's family deserve to know what really happened that night. No-one wants to discover the truth more than myself."
However, detectives attached to the team investigating the princess's death under former Metropolitan Police chief Sir John Stevens have told her that responsibility for the officer's death lies with her.
A statement released by the investigation team read: "We can confirm that the Metropolitan Police Service has written to the driver of the car that collided with Barry Mannakee to inform her that we have concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances.
"The letter follows a review of the incident as part of the Metropolitan Police's on-going inquiries into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed."
Diana, Princess of Wales is and always will be The People's Princess.