24 JANUARY 2008

Trevor Rees, the sole survivor of the 1997 accident in which Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed lost their lives, told the crash inquest that allegations he'd been part of an MI6 cover-up in the wake of the incident were untrue.

Mr Rees, who was employed as Dodi's bodyguard at the time of the crash, denied the claims to counsel for the inquest - after the QC for Dodi's father, Mohammed Al Fayed, had failed to raise the issue. The Harrods boss had previously accused the bodyguard of having been "paid off" by security services to "suppress the truth" about the accident.

This led the coroner to ask why Mr Al Fayed had not withdrawn his remarks. "Because they are grave allegations, I would have thought a man with any decency who was not going to pursue them would have withdrawn them," said Lord Justice Scott Baker.

Mr Rees, who was speaking for the first time about the tragedy in court, also insisted he never saw any evidence that the car's driver, Henri Paul, was under the influence of alcohol. He would never have let him drive if he'd known the driver had done so, he added.

Under cross-examination he conceded it was Mr Paul who gave him details of the plan the couple used to escape photographers waiting outside the front of the hotel, rather than Dodi as the bodyguard has always maintained. However, he insisted the plan was Dodi's idea.

Photo: ©
Mr Rees, who was the sole survivor of the fatal accident, denied allegations of an MI6 cover-up while insisting it was Dodi Al Fayed who instigated the back-door exit from the hotel to fool paparazziPhoto: © AFP Click on photo to enlarge