Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Mohamed al-Fayed pays tribute to ‘kind, gentle’ Dodi and condemns new book

The former Harrods owner claims the book Inside Studio 54 is “cheap and tawdry”.

Mohamed al-Fayed has hit back at claims in a new book, as he paid tribute to his “kind, gentle, courteous” son Dodi weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of his death.

The former Harrods owner condemned the book Inside Studio 54 as “cheap and tawdry” and accused author Mark Fleischman of “knowing nothing about my son”.

Mr al-Fayed also accused unnamed newspapers of highlighting the claims in the book because he had “dared to take on the Royal Family and tell the truth about the deaths of my son and Princess Diana”.

bpanews_98cd0fc8-89f6-486f-bc7a-ac26a8206198_embedded766775
Al-Fayed appeared at the High Court in 2007 for the inquest into the death of the Princess of Wales and his son Dodi Fayed (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Diana, Princess of Wales and her then boyfriend Dodi Fayed died in Paris in the early hours of August 31 1997.

They were killed when the Mercedes they were travelling in hit a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.

They were being pursued by the paparazzi after leaving the Ritz Hotel. Driver Henri Paul, who was also killed, was drunk and driving at high speed.

bpanews_98cd0fc8-89f6-486f-bc7a-ac26a8206198_embedded766780
Princess Diana and her son William in 1994 (Martin Keene/PA)

Mr al-Fayed, who has previously claimed his son and Diana were murdered, pledged to continue fighting for “the truth” about their deaths.

He said in a statement: “Twenty years ago, I lost my beloved son, Dodi, who was taken from me at the age of 42, an innocent victim who was slaughtered in the streets of Paris.

“I have been grieving ever since and have dedicated my life to fighting for the truth about his death to be revealed. I will never give up this fight.”

bpanews_98cd0fc8-89f6-486f-bc7a-ac26a8206198_embedded766800
Al-Fayed says the coverage devoted to the feelings of Prince William and Prince Harry on the 20th anniversary of their mother's death has been "fawning" (Joe Giddens/PA)

Of media coverage around the book, which is due for release in September, he said: “This is just the latest example of their attempts to re-write history, burying my allegations about what really happened in Paris 20 years ago and relegating Dodi to a bit part in the story or, if they cannot do that, trying to destroy his reputation.

“They have not an ounce of compassion for me or my loss – a stark contrast to the fulsome and fawning coverage devoted to the feelings of Prince William and Prince Harry in the media coverage this week.”

He added: “I will fight until my dying breath to tell the world about the real Dodi: a kind, gentle, courteous man, who was loved by all who knew him, brought great happiness to Princess Diana in her final days and a cherished son whom I will mourn for the rest of my life.”

A report by former Met Police commissioner Lord Stevens published in 2006 rejected the murder claims voiced by some, including Mr al-Fayed.

bpanews_98cd0fc8-89f6-486f-bc7a-ac26a8206198_embedded766790
Lord Stevens with the official British police report into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales ( Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The inquests into the deaths finished in 2008, with a jury returning a verdict that the ”people’s princess” and her boyfriend were unlawfully killed.

In 2013 Scotland Yard concluded that there was “no credible evidence” of any SAS involvement in the death, following claims that the couple were murdered by a member of British special forces.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph