'Oh my God, Oh my God': Inquest told of Diana's last words as she lay dying

Last updated at 00:27 26 October 2007

Princess Diana's last words were 'Oh my God, oh my God', uttered as she lay dying in the wreckage of her crashed Mercedes, an inquest heard yesterday.

The traumatic details of the Princess's final moments emerged in evidence from a volunteer fireman who stopped at the scene to help.

A semi- conscious Diana apparently attempted to speak as she lay beside her boyfriend Dodi Fayed in the back seat of the car in the Paris tunnel.

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Damien Dalby, who happened to be driving past the scene with his brother, had stopped his car and leapt out to help.

Leaning into the Mercedes to assist Diana and her bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, he recalled hearing her gasp the words.

Mr Dalby, who does not speak English, enlisted the help of another onlooker to translate. The man was dressed in a suit and a tie and the fireman took him for a tourist.

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Ian Burnett, counsel for the inquest asked him: "Was it right the lady in the car was trying to speak?'

Mr Dalby replied: "Yes, she was saying 'Oh my God, oh my God'."

Speaking via videolink from Paris, he said: "There was smoke emanating from the vehicle. I wanted to stop the battery but I couldn't.

"There was a tourist who was around there and I asked him to translate to the bodyguard to not move because the emergency services were arriving.

"The man who translated what I said told me that he was following the vehicle and it had been travelling at a high speed."

As Mr Dalby attended to the Princess, the paparazzi swarmed around the car and crouched by the open rear door where she lay.

He said that the photographers refused to leave when they were ushered back, and he heard one say: "We are earning our money out of that, please leave us to do our jobs."

Mr Dalby said that one photographer kneeling by the rear door, Romuald Rat, stopped taking photographs as he saw Diana's worsening condition and attempted to get others to back off.

Mr Dalby said: "I remember a photographer shouting, "she is alive" and then taking the other photographers to task, shouting to them and pushing them away."

His brother Sebastien Pennequin told the hearing at the High Court in London that Dodi and Rees-Jones were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

He added: "We tried to give assistance then we did push the photographers away to get a safety area around the car."

He reported hearing one paparazzo shout: 'The people must know that Princess Diana is alive."

Diana was taken by ambulance to the Pitie Salpetriere Hospital but her condition deteriorated during the journey and she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Yesterday Richard Keen, QC, representing the parents of the driver of the Mercedes, Henri Paul, thanked Mr Dalby for aiding and comforting those in the car.

Earlier, the court heard a series of extraordinary allegations from a man who claimed to be a witness to the 1997 crash.

Jacques Morel said that Henri Paul, the deputy head of security at the Paris Ritz, was a paid M16 informant and also worked for the press.

He said he had seen secret files which proved that a French photographer working for the British and French intelligence services plotted to stop Diana and Dodi Fayed in the tunnel for a "scoop".

But when Michael Mansfield, QC, representing Dodi's father Mohamed al Fayed, suggested that the secret dossier did not exist, Mr Morel retorted: "How would like a bet? I could bet with you one million dollars, if you bet with me, I can send you the file within 24 hours."

The author claimed that the copies of his secret file were in Tunisia, Morocco and the U.S.

He refused to produce a copy at the hearing.

The witness also said he had a conversation with Mohamed al Fayed the day after the crash when he told the Harrods owner that he had stepped on the toes of a man in the tunnel wearing "Western-style boots".

Mr Fayed is said to have replied: "The bastards, I knew they were there... the Secret Service."

But yesterday Mr Mansfield, on behalf of Mr Fayed, denied this conversation had taken place.

The jury was told that Mr Morel had attempted to get money from Mr Fayed's representatives at a meeting at the Ritz in July this year and told an inquest official that he could provide the dossier of evidence if it could arranged for his family to live in the Caribbean.

Richard Horwell QC, counsel for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said: 'The truth is that you will write and say anything to make money won't you?

"I suggest, Mr Morel, that you have no interest in the truth whatsoever."

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