Joined: 13 Feb 2006
|Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:27 am Post subject: DIANA SEATBELT SABOTAGE PROBE
|DIANA SEATBELT SABOTAGE PROBE
Did she and Dodi die because crash car had been tampered with?
25 Apr 2006
From Peter Allen in Paris
CLAIMS that the seatbelt which would have saved Princess Diana’s life was sabotaged are being investigated by detectives.
In an extraordinary development they are examining evidence that fastening pins were filed down, making it impossible for the road safety conscious royal to click her belt buckle shut before her fatal journey.
Instead, she and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were unrestrained when their Mercedes crashed in a Paris underpass, killing them and driver Henri Paul.
The one survivor of the 1997 tragedy was bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones – the only person in the car wearing a seatbelt.
SAFETY: Diana always wore her seatbelt, except for the night she died
“The safety belt issue is crucial,” said a lawyer close to the investigation. “We’ve all been in the back of a car and found a faulty buckle, but the fact that both Diana and Dodi’s belts appeared not to be working is extremely sinister. Without the belts they had no chance of surviving the crash.”
Diana wore a seatbelt every time, except that fatal night
Critics of those who claim the Princess was killed by shadowy intelligence officers have always insisted there could not have been a murder plot because the Princess could have saved her life by wearing her seatbelt.
But evidence that the locking mechanism may have been tampered with would shed startling new light on one of the enduring mysteries surrounding Diana’s death.
Seat belts are notoriously easy to sabotage, according to experts.
“It just involves snapping a pin or else filing it down,” said Raymond Hasse, a mechanic in Paris who has worked in the industry for a number of firms, including Mercedes.
“Rear seat belts are often unused, and therefore unchecked, which means they can be sabotaged long before an intended victim gets into the car.
“The buckles are notoriously sensitive and – worst of all – can be altered so that they appear to click shut when, in fact, they have not.
“Safety belt buckles go all the time, which also rids a saboteur of any suspicion.”
The pin that secures the seatbelt in position across the passenger’s lap can to filed down. The operation takes only a few minutes.
Diana and Dodi would never have known their seatbelts were “insecure” because a filed-down one still clicks shut.
Experts can also file the pins down to an exact specification to alter the pressure that is needed to release them.
Conspiracy theorists believe technicians could have been working on Diana’s Mercedes long before she used it.
Diana’s friends, police bodyguards, her children and anyone who had ever travelled with Diana in a car knew that she was meticulous about “belting up”.
Investigators believe it is beyond comprehension that as Ritz security officer Paul accelerated through the streets of Paris Diana would not have worn a seatbelt. ReesJones would have insisted that she did so.
Medics have established that Diana would be alive today if she had belted up.
The latest development comes as British investigators prepare to reveal the results of a nine-month probe into the black Mercedes S280, which was brought to England last July.
SAFE Diana was always meticulous about wearing a seatbelt as shown by these photos taken in 1993, above, 1995, below right, and 1997, below left. Her clunk-click habit adds to speculation that her belt had been tampered with on the night she died
The car had been stolen and then recovered before being used by Diana, adding to conspiracy theories that it may have been crucial in a sophisticated plot to have the Princess killed.
Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, is among those who believe that she was killed by British security officers because she was expecting a baby who would have been part-Muslim.
Since being transported from France in two giant containers, the Mercedes has been kept at a secret location on the south London/Kent borders. There it has been subjected to unprecedented tests by specialist police accident investigators.
Led by former Scotland Yard Commissioner Lord Stevens, who is heading Operation Paget, the £4million inquiry into Diana’s death, they hope the tests will help to establish once and for all what happened in the last moments before the crash.
WRECKED: The crumpled Mercedes is removed after the fatal crash in 1997
The £60,000 limousine, which was split into two sections by French investigators early in their inquiry, has been examined from “top to bottom”, according to one officer.
Officers have been looking for any clues that the safety belts, or other vital components including the brakes, were tampered with, and assessed whether the vehicle was generally roadworthy. As well as being stolen it is known that the Mercedes had been involved in a “shunt” about nine months before Diana’s death. Investigators want to find out whether this affected its performance.
Despite all the hard work by the British, detectives remain furious that it took almost eight years for the car to finally reach Britain.
After a series of huge delays caused by behind-the-scenes diplomatic wrangling, it was moved from a police pound in Rosny-sous-Bois, on the outskirts of Paris, where it had been left rusting for years.
The last time the car was seen by the public was on August 31 1997 – the day it was driven at high speed into a concrete pillar in the Pont d’Alma tunnel by Paul who, the French allege, was high on drink and drugs.
Diana, Princess of Wales is and always will be The People's Princess.