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Diana Mercedes Crash -Police delayed by paparazzi

Paparazzi who took photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales, dying in a car wreck stopped police from getting to the scene, her inquest has heard.

Eyewitness Clifford Goorovadoo said: "It is true that when the first police officers arrived the journalists would not let them through. They were pushing."

Mr Goorovadoo, a chauffeur who was parked down the road from the 1997 Alma Tunnel crash in Paris, later recognised photographer David Odekerken from a picture line-up.

He told police: "He was taking photographs of the victims and the vehicle. He was also one of those who ran away when the police arrived. He therefore can not be one of those photographers who hindered the police."

Alerted by the "roar of a Mercedes car engine" Mr Goorovadoo looked up and spotted a motorcycle in hot pursuit of a Mercedes Benz which was carrying Diana.

The pillion passenger on the motorbike was taking photographs just before the Mercedes Benz crashed, according to Mr Goorovadoo. He was not certain if a flash gun was being used.

There was "a tremendous noise" moments later and Mr Goorovadoo rushed to help the victims. He was quickly identified as a key witness by the press, the inquest heard.

It is believed that Mr Goorovadoo has refused to appear at the central London inquest, but the hearing heard evidence from his police statements made at the time.

Tom de la Mare, for the Ritz Hotel, raised the possibility that Mr Goorovadoo may have been "got at" by the paparazzi to change his account so as not to paint them in such a bad light.

Mr Goorovadoo made six police statements, the first at 2.30am on August 31 1997 just two hours after Paris crash which killed Diana, her lover Dodi Fayed and mercedes driver Henri Paul. His statements, including variations on the possible distance of the motorbike to the Mercedes, were read out to the jury.


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