Witness says Diana was saying: “Oh my God, Oh my God” following collision

  • Witness says Diana was saying: “Oh my God, Oh my God” following collision
  • Witness: I tried to stop photographers from taking pictures at the scene
  • Another witness claims that photographers were waiting in tunnel for car
  • Inquiry, in its fourth week, to decide how Diana and other occupants of vehicle died

Damian Dalby told an inquest into Diana’s death that he and his brother rushed over to the wreckage of the princess’ Mercedes after it crashed in the Pont d’Alma tunnel on August 31, 1997.

Dalby, who was a volunteer French firefighter at the time, told the inquest by videolink from Paris that the car was surrounded by photographers.

“The car’s rear, right-hand side door was open, and a photographer was close by, but he did not stop me from doing my assistance job,” Dalby said.

Ian Burnett, lead lawyer for the inquest, asked Dalby: “Was it right the lady in the car was trying to speak?”

“Yes, she was saying: ‘Oh my God, Oh my God,”‘ Dalby said.

Dalby said police arrived and moved the photographers away.

The inquest is examining the deaths of Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, in Paris, where the couple had been pursued by paparazzi. Witnesses have testified that photographers were among the first to reach the scene of the crash.

The jury heard Thursday from a statement given by Dalby’s brother, Sebastien Pennequin, shortly after the crash. Pennequin said he tried to help police move photographers away.

“They continued taking photographs, it was then I spoke to them telling them to stop,” the statement said. “‘The people must know that Princess Diana is alive,’ one of them said.”

The inquest — required by British law when someone dies unexpectedly, violently or of unknown causes — had been delayed for 10 years because of the two exhaustive investigations by French and British police.

Both concluded that the couple’s driver, Henri Paul, was drunk, driving too fast and that the deaths were an accident. Paul also died.

Fayed’s father contends that the couple were the targets of a plot orchestrated by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Earlier Thursday, a French man who claims Diana died in a trap set by photographers faced skeptical lawyers.

Jacques Morel alleges that the late French photographer James Andanson organized a plan to stop the car carrying Diana and Fayed in the tunnel so paparazzi could take photos and get interviews. He says he has written a book on the subject, so far unpublished.

Morel, who began testifying Wednesday, said he saw a line of 10 to 12 photographers and a man with a video camera just inside the tunnel before the crash. No other witness has claimed to see photographers waiting in the tunnel, though several have said photographers were quickly at the scene.

Morel claimed he had seen secret papers supporting his contention, but Michael Mansfield, a lawyer for Fayed’s father, Mohamed al Fayed, questioned whether such a file existed.

“How would you like to bet?” said Morel, who testified via video link from Paris. “I can bet with you 1 million U.S. dollars, and if you bet with me, I can send you the file within 24 hours.”

Morel claimed he had given a copy of the file to Fayed’s legal team, which Mansfield denied.

Mohamed al Fayed has alleged that Andanson, who died in 2000, was involved in a plot to kill his son and the princess and was the driver of a white Fiat Uno that collided with the couple’s car before the crash.

That car has never been traced.


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Oldest club Sheffield FC turns 150

  • FIFA President Sepp Blatter among guests marking Sheffield FC’s 150 years
  • English side Sheffield FC recognized as the oldest football club in the world
  • Club is one of two to win FIFA’s Order of Merit — the other is Real Madrid

LONDON, England (CNN) — Football dignitaries gathered in Sheffield, northern England, on Wednesday to kick off the 150th birthday celebrations of Sheffield FC — the sport’s oldest club.

Guests of honor at a service at Sheffield Cathedral included Sepp Blatter, president of football world governing body FIFA, and Massimo Moratti, president of Italian giants Inter Milan who are scheduled to play a friendly against Sheffield FC next month.

Other guests attending a dinner in the club’s honor included Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon and England and Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton.

Pele — widely recognized as the greatest footballer ever to play the game — is also due in town next month to attend Sheffield FC’s clash with Inter.

Blatter was unveiling a bust of the club’s co-founder William Prest — one of two cricket fans who founded Sheffield FC, then known simply as Sheffield Club, on October 24, 1857 after deciding they needed a new sport to keep them active during the winter.

Many more football clubs soon sprung up and by 1862 there were said to be 15 in and around the Sheffield area.

The Football Association — which codified the basic rules of the modern game — was established in London the following year.

Sheffield FC was instrumental in developing set rules for the game. The club studied existing rules and laid down a code of laws, which formed the foundation of the first commonly-accepted set of rules for the sport, according to the Sheffield FC Web site.

The team was also responsible for several innovations in the game — including heading, which was unheard of until 1875, when Sheffield traveled to London for a game.

According to the team’s Web site, the sight of the Sheffield players using their foreheads in addition to their feet reduced the London crowd to hysterics.

Other innovations attributed to the team include the solid crossbar on the goal, corner kicks, free kicks for fouls, and playing a match under floodlights.

Despite its celebrated place in the history of the world’s most popular sport, Sheffield FC has never played at a professional level. The club currently competes in the Unibond League’s First Division South, seven divisions beneath the English Premier League.

The city of Sheffield has two professional clubs — United and Wednesday — who both currently play in English football’s second tier, the Coca-Cola Championship.

Sheffield FC’s proudest achievement on the pitch came in 1904 when the team beat Ealing 3-1 to win the FA Amateur Cup in front of 6,000 people.

But 100 years later in 2004, Blatter presented Sheffield FC with FIFA’s “Order of Merit” — an honor previously awarded only to the nine-time European champions Real Madrid.

Related links:

Official Sheffield FC Site
The 150th website

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