|[back] Diana murder
"drank Diet Coke."
A KEY new witness has come forward to
confirm that the chauffeur who drove
Princess Diana to her death "drank nothing
but Diet Coke and the odd beer".
The Daily Express can reveal that
41-year-old Henri Paul, pictured, had
started going out with a 25-year-old
French-Moroccan girlfriend three weeks
before the tragedy.
She has told police: "He was by no means an
alcoholic but a decent man who solely
enjoyed a social drink like everyone else."
The revelation follows a decision by French
legal authorities to reinvestigate the
circumstances surrounding Diana's
death after new doubts emerged over blood
tests carried out on Paul.
An original French inquiry concluded that he
was high on a lethal cocktail of drink and
prescription drugs when he drove a Mercedes
into the wall of a Paris underpass, killing
himself, Diana, and her boyfriend Dodi
Now, nine years after the crash, it appears
all but certain that they got it terribly
wrong. It has always been thought that Paul
had no girlfriend since he split up with
single mother Laurence Pujol, 32, just
before the crash. This led to the French
portraying Paul as a depressed bachelor who
turned to strong spirits to control his mood
But he was actually at the start of a new
relationship with a pretty Moroccan student
from Casablanca. The young woman, for whom
the French have requested anonymity, had a
key to Paul's
flat, regularly slept there and had arranged
to see him on the day before his death.
She was with him constantly as he visited
bars and restaurants around Paris. Rather
than order strong spirits � as some claim �
he chose nothing but beer and soft drinks.
A French detective said: "She told us Paul
had hardly drunk any alcohol and we see no
reason to disbelieve her."
The woman enjoyed a first date with Paul in
The Borgogne, a Paris bar, in early August
1997. Both drank Coke, although Paul also
had a single Pelforth beer.
The woman did not have any transport home so
slept at Paul's
flat, close to the Ritz Hotel, where he was
deputy head of security. In a statement to
police, the woman revealed that on a later
date they again went to The Borgogne.
She said: "I drank tea and a Devil Mint
cocktail and he had a beer or two." She
again slept at Paul's
flat but, because it was early in their
relationship, there were no sexual
relations. She told police: "I also want to
tell you that he acted like a very kind
Paris criminal brigade commander Jean-Paul
Copetti has handed the woman's
statements to British detectives working on
Operation Paget, the £4million inquiry into
The new evidence strengthens the view that
state became a convenient cover story to
explain away far more sinister goings-on.
Although French police devoted 20 officers
to Paul's last
hours, they found no explanation as to how
he allegedly built up 173 milligrammes of
alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood � three
times the legal limit.
The conspiracy theorists, led by Dodi's
father, Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed,
believe Diana and his son were murdered by
British security services because they were
expecting a Muslim baby � something which
was not acceptable to the Royal Family.