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Survivor of Car Crash That Killed Diana to Be Questioned

September 18, 1997| From Times Wire Services

PARIS — The British bodyguard who survived the crash that killed Princess Diana has recovered sufficiently to be questioned Friday by a French judge probing the accident, sources close to the inquiry said Wednesday.

Trevor Rees-Jones, sole survivor of the Aug. 31 Paris car crash that killed Diana, her companion, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, has taken his first steps since the accident, his family said. Rees-Jones, 29, recently underwent 10 hours of surgery to reconstruct his smashed face.

The answers Rees-Jones gives Herve Stephan, an investigating magistrate, could shed light on the final moments before the crash, including Paul's apparent drunkenness, the part played by pursuing photographers and Diana and Fayed's last conversation.

"He can now sit out of bed for a few hours a day and has taken his first steps," his parents said in a statement released to the press by the British Embassy.

The statement made no mention of whether he had spoken yet about the crash. His parents have denied all interview requests, and Rees-Jones' room is guarded by police.

French police sources said Wednesday that authorities are seeking the owner of a small blue Fiat that may have been bumped by Diana's Mercedes before the luxury car slammed into a concrete pillar in a Paris tunnel.

The revelation came after tests on pieces of a taillight and car paint traces found at the scene showed that they did not come from the Mercedes, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The evidence is leading investigators to consider the possibility that a second--and possibly a third--car was involved in the accident.

Paul's family announced in death notices to be published today that he will be buried Saturday in his hometown of Lorient on France's Brittany coast.

Meanwhile, British newspaper editors paved the way Wednesday for "wide-ranging and rigorous reforms" in their self-regulatory code after charges that photographers contributed to the accident.

The editors of 12 leading British newspapers met with the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Lord Wakeham.

David English, editor in chief of the Daily Mail, said on behalf of his fellow editors: "We support Lord Wakeham's calls for wide-ranging and rigorous reforms and recognize that there is a shared determination to rid our publications of practices which we all deplore."

British newspapers have already promised either not to print paparazzi photographs of Diana's sons, Princes William, 15, and Harry, 13, or else not to breach their privacy with unauthorized photographs.

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