The chauffeur who drove Princess Diana to her death had an “alcohol problem”, her inquest heard yesterday (30.01.08).

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Henri Paul was behind the wheel of the car when it crashed into pillar 13 of Paris’ Pont d’Alma tunnel on August 31, 1997, killing himself, the princess and her lover Dodi Fayed, and post-mortem tests showed he had been drinking before the accident.

However, Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, did not believe the findings so hired scientists to question the samples of his blood alcohol levels. They concluded Paul had built up a tolerance to alcohol though heavy drinking, meaning he wouldn’t have appeared drunk before getting into the car even though tests found he was three times over the French drink-drive limit.

The jury at London’s High Court heard that such alcohol levels would have left an “average man” looking “markedly impaired”.

The court heard that Professor Vanezis later produced a joint report with forensic toxicologist Professor John Oliver, Swiss forensic pathology professor Thomas Krompecher and Patrice Mangin, professor of legal medicine at Lausanne University.

Their report stated: “Looking at the overall picture, it may be fairly clearly observed that Mr Paul had an alcohol problem and he drank high levels of alcohol regularly.”

Giving evidence to the inquest, Prof Vanezis said: “One of the things obviously we were considering, and obviously this was very much at the top of our minds, was whether or not that person that appeared normal in the CCTV images may well have built up a tolerance to alcohol.”

The report continued: “There is no doubt that the average man’s faculties would have been markedly impaired but a regular drinker like Mr Paul is likely to have been impaired less.”

Harrods owner Al Fayed believes blood samples were switched at the Paris morgue to cover up a murder plot orchestrated by British intelligence services, because Muslim Dodi and Diana were expecting a baby and about to announce their engagement.