Princess Diana would still be alive if her boyfriend’s father had provided her with sufficient bodyguards, her inquest heard yesterday (29.01.08).
Ken Wingfiled, one of two men employed to protect the princess and her lover Dodi Fayed on the night the couple died in a Paris car crash, on August 31, 1997, claims their deaths could haven been prevented.
He said Dodi’s father and Wingfield’s boss Mohamed Al Fayed had turned down repeated requests for extra backup and the bodyguard believes he should take responsibility for the fatal crash.
Wingfield told the jury at the High Court: “If we had been allowed to do our jobs properly, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”
He claimed he and the other bodyguard Trevor Rees, the only survivor of the crash, said they were hampered by a lack of cooperation from Dodi and his father over plans to avoid the waiting paparazzi outside Paris’ Ritz Hotel.
He said Dodi overrode their objections, insisting: “It’s been okayed by my father.”
He added to the inquest: “Once Mr. Al Fayed was mentioned in any capacity like that, the argument was pointless.”
Dodi had initially wanted both bodyguards to take part in a decoy plan at the front of the hotel while Diana, Dodi and driver Henri Paul escaped through the back entrance. When they objected, it was agreed Rees would travel with the couple while Wingfeld would go in the decoy.
However, Al Fayed’s lawyer insisted the Harrods owner had never been asked for extras help.
Wingfield also revealed how Al Fayed “exploded” with rage and blamed Diana’s former father-in-law Prince Philip when he heard the princess had been killed.
He explained: “Mr. Al Fayed said, ‘I hope the British government and Prince Philip are happy now.’ At first I thought I had misheard him. I said, ‘That’s not the case, sir, no one would have wished this,’ and he sort of slumped back in his seat.”
Wingfield quit his job when Al Fayed fumed at him after Wingfield refused to appear on a TV programme about conspiracy theories over the deaths.