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\'Amateurish\' security led to death of Princess Diana, says French policeman who watched over her in final moments
Retired French crime squad policemen recounts his final moments with Diana, Princess of Wales, after guarding her in her final hospital moments and at the morgue after fatal crash 17 years ago
The wreckage of Princess Diana\'s car in the Alma tunnel of Paris Photo: PIERRE BOUSSEL/AFP
"Amateurish" security led to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, according to the policeman who guarded the wounded royal in a Paris hospital and then watched over her body, lying "as if asleep" in the morgue.
Daniel Bourdon, a retired officer with Paris\' anti-criminal brigade, was picked "by chance" to guard "a high-profile personality" on the night of 31 August, 1997 who, he was told, had been in a "serious" accident in a tunnel under the pont de l\'Alma.
"I understood who it was when I got the hospital", said Mr Bourdon, whose book, Diana, That Night, was released on Thursday – just three days before the 17th anniversary of her death.
The book recounts how he had to guard the basement of the Salpêtrière hospital where Lady Diana was taken after the crash in an underpass in which the Princess\'s boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul, also died. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived.
"We had to stop any paparazzi from stealing any photos," said Mr Bourdon, who described the agonising wait as the ambulance carrying the Princess crawled towards the hospital, often stopping as emergency teams desperately tried to keep her alive.
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Finally, he said: "The doors opened. There she was lying on a stretcher. She was asleep. Inside the ambulance was strewn with medical equipment, waste and blood."
"I saw her pale face, her eyes closed and her eyelids seemed to be made up with a night blue."
"She had a ripped pulmonary artery and I know today that it was almost impossible to save her. Yet I never thought she was going to die."
He knew it was over when the surgeon came out, miming a "heart massage in the air" to explain her heart wouldn\'t start.
He was then asked to guard the morgue where the body lay, "covered in a white sheet, her blonde locks on the pillow".
"I remained by her side for a quarter of an hour. It was a poignant moment," said the ex-officer whose first wife and mother of his two children also died in a car crash.
"Her face was magnificent, as if she were sleeping. I spoke to her. I told her just how sad I thought her fate was. It felt such a waste," he said.
Mr Bourdon insisted his book was not yet another "counter-inquiry" to the official investigations in Britain and France, which concluded that she had died in a car accident.
A 2008 British inquest found the chauffeur, Mr Paul, guilty of "gross negligence" in driving the car whilst three times over the drink-drive limit. The pursuing paparazzi were also guilty of "unlawful killing".
But he said after speaking to fellow French policemen and other "direct witnesses" he was convinced that poor security led to her death.
"The princess did not have a level of security and protection that such an icon deserved," he told the Telegraph.
"It was amateurish, as there were a lot of bad choices made by those tasked with her personal security."
He added: "Whoever decided to go out the back to escape the paparazzi in the wrong kind of car with a chauffeur who wasn\'t in a state to drive with the idea of losing the photographers at breakneck speed made some bad calls."
"All this led to a chain of events with a tragic outcome."
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