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Diana jury visits scene of crash that killed princess

By Robert Verkaik in Paris

The last time such large numbers of paparazzi gathered outside the Ritz Hotel in Paris, events were to take a fatal turn.

Ten years after the tragic deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed, the media was out in force again, this time to witness the arrival of the British jury hearing the inquest into the events of the night of 31 August 1997.

In an unprecedented step the six women and five men of the jury set out to retrace the route the couple took that evening in order to give them a better understanding of the evidence they will hear during the six-month inquest, which began last week at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The day started inauspiciously, the jury's plane was delayed by fog and once they reached Paris their coach bumped into a bollard and clipped a police motorcycle rider. The officer was unhurt. The gathered media was briefly distracted when Victoria Beckham walked by.

Amid the hue and cry the jury proceeded to get down to work. At around 2pm, the jury, some court staff, lawyers and selected journalists, led by two French police motorbikes, set off on exactly the same route that Henri Paul had driven before losing control of the Mercedes and colliding with the 13th pillar of the Pont de l'Alma underpass.

Last night the jurors visited the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital , to the south-east of the crash scene, where the Princess was given emergency treatment before she died. Today the jury will visit the Ritz Hotel where Diana and Dodi dined in the hours before their deaths.

Irish Independent


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