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Henri Paul's Parents Fight Back

Ask For Blood Samples from Princess Diana Investigation

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Updated June 10, 2006

The parents of Henri Paul, the driver blamed for the car crash that killed Princess Diana almost five years ago, launched a legal campaign last week in an attempt to clear their son's name.

Within hours of the announcement by Jean and Gisele Paul, Mohammed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi was also killed in the wreck along with Paul, instructed his lawyers to launch "a parallel legal action on the same issue."

The legal moves by the Pauls and Al Fayed are aimed at forcing French authorities to turn over blood samples taken during the autopsy of Henri Paul for independent analysis and DNA testing. The Pauls believe the blood samples used to prove their son was drunk on the night of the infamous crash, were mixed up in a busy Paris morgue and do not belong to their son.

"We want to know the truth. We're certain that our son wasn't drunk," Paul's mother, Gisele Paul, told BBC radio. "We don't accept it. ... They say parents can be biased, but everyone he knew would say the same."

Gisele Paul said 30 autopsies were done at a Paris morgue on the day Paul's body was taken there. "You can imagine how they could have been mixed up. You can see how there could have been a mistake," she told the BBC.

"They said his liver was in perfect condition and we would have known, we would have seen, if he had been drinking." she said. "On the 28th of August he passed his medical exam for his pilot's licence. Everything was fine. Three days later he was labelled alcoholic."

Al Fayed has always contested the French court's findings, which exonerated photographers who were pursuing the princess's car August 31, 1997. He told reporters he had been refused permission for his own scientists to test the samples in the past and remained convinced that the blood sample was switched.

The Pauls insist that the blood samples showing their son's BAC level at .175 were not from his blood, because the high level of carbon monoxide found in the tested blood would have made him incapable of walking, much less driving a car.

But the blood tests were not the only evidence pointing to Henri Paul's intoxication on the night of the crash. Hair samples showed he had been drinking for at least a week and had been on prescription drugs for months. Earlier tests showed that Henri Paul's blood contained "sub-therapeutic levels" of tiapride -- a drug commonly used in the treatment of alcoholics -- which he had apparently stopped taking.

Also, independent investigations by CNN and Time magazine found that Henri Paul started bar-hopping at 4 o'clock that afternoon and continued to drink even after being called back to work at the Paris Ritz Hotel at 10 p.m.

"Historically the impression left was that our son was Princess Diana's assassin. That's false," said Jean Paul.

The 1997 Investigation:

Henri Paul: A Drunken Game? The tragic death of Princess Diana may have been the result of a game being played in the mind of a drunken Henri Paul.

Bodyguard Rees-Jones Interviewed In an interview with French investigators, Trevor Rees-Jones said it was Dodi Fayed's idea to call drunk driver Henri Paul back to work.

Bar-Hopping Driver? The man who drove Princess Diana to her death may have started bar-hopping at 4 o'clock that afternoon.

Hotel to Face Charges? French authorities may be considering filing charges against the Paris Ritz Hotel while Henri Paul's former employers continue to try to distance themselves from responsibility.

Blood Alcohol Content The latest blood test shows that Paul was not only drunk, he was also taking an antidepressant drug and may have stopped taking one prescribed for alcohol abuse.

Conflicting Reports In the early stages of the investigation, conflicting reports and finger-pointing dominated.

How Drunk Was Henri Paul? A study of just what it means to have a.175 blood alcohol content and try to drive.

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