LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – British jurors involved in the Inquest into Princess Diana’s death descended into the traffic tunnel where she died to examine the site of her fatal car crash today, followed by the paparazzi.
The Guardian reports that heart-shaped pictures of Princess Diana and graffiti reading “Goodbye English Rose” still decorated the Pont de L’Alma bridge in Paris yesterday as The inquest into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed yesterday travelled to Paris to trace the couple’s last journey from the Ritz hotel to the traffic underpass where their driver’s Mercedes slammed into a pillar 10 years ago.
The jury and coroner spent 15 minutes walking through the cordoned-off tunnel and inspecting the crash site in near silence. Jurors and court officials formed a semi-circle around the 13th pillar which the car hit just after midnight on August 31, 1997. A large chunk of concrete was missing from a corner.
As the group continued along the underpass, jurors stopped at another column pointing at a graffiti message reading: “Diana on t’aimera toujours” – “Diana we will love you forever.”
The jury was driven by coach from the Ritz along the route to the crash site in daylight, to get to know the settings in preparation for months of testimony from witnesses.
The highly unusual journey by a British jury venturing outside its jurisdiction took place amid tight security, with gendarmes and French riot police on stand-by. After flying to Paris on a privately chartered plane, the jury of six women and five men checked in to a hotel that was kept secret. They were then driven in an unmarked coach to the Ritz in Place Vendôme, where Diana and Dodi had dinner before their fated journey towards Dodi’s flat, driven by Henri Paul and pursued by paparazzi.
A crowd of cameramen and photographers gathered behind metal barriers to see the jury’s coach arrive at the Ritz. Court staff had warned that the jurors’ identities must be protected and the coach’s curtains were closed. But one Norwegian tourist, part of a crowd of onlookers, thought the media were so eager that they were actually a group of actors recreating the original paparazzi.