16 OCTOBER 2007

The dramatic moments before Princess Diana’s fatal car crash in a Paris tunnel have been relayed to the inquest jury in London. French witness Francois Levistre, who was driving in front of the Princess’ Mercedes, told how her car was overtaken by a motorbike in the underpass and watched events unfold in his rear-view mirror. "I realised there was this major white flash of the motorbike in front of the Mercedes, in front of the car,” he said through a translator via video link from Paris.

He went on to liken the bright light to a police radar and described how Diana’s car veered across the road. "When I saw the light, I looked into the mirror... I saw the car going from left to right to left again to get within the pillar,” said Mr Levistre. “And then the car had no light any longer. Everything was switched off,” he added. The Frenchman then saw the motorcycle passenger get off the bike and approach the car, look inside and gesture to the bike’s driver before they drove away.

Another eye-witness account was provided by French couple Jean-Claude and Annick Catheline who were walking near the underpass entrance in the early hours of August 31, 1997. They told the jury how they saw two cars enter the tunnel side by side. “When they were already in the tunnel, under the bridge we heard noises like two cars bumping each other,” recalled Mrs Catheline.

Her son-in-law David Le Ny who was walking with the couple added that he saw a large dark car speeding towards them into the tunnel. “It was going very fast, I remember the noise coming from the engine... I certainly made a comment, stating that they were crazy or something like that.”

Photo: ©
French witnesses have told of events in the Paris underpass moments before and after Princess Diana and her lover Dodi, seen leaving the Paris Ritz just minutes before, were involved in the fatal car crash Photo: © PAClick on photo to enlarge