Diana author ‘knows nothing’ says al-Fayed

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The former Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed has criticised a new book about his son Dodi, who died in a car crash with Diana, Princess of Wales, as he paid tribute weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

Mr al-Fayed condemned the book, Inside Studio 54, as “cheap and tawdry” and accused author Mark Fleischman of “knowing nothing about my son”.

Mr al-Fayed also accused unnamed newspapers of highlighting the claims in the book because he had “dared to take on the Royal Family and tell the truth about the deaths of my son and Princess Diana”.

Diana, and her then boyfriend Dodi Fayed died in Paris in the early hours of August 31 1997.

They were killed when the Mercedes they were travelling in hit a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.

They were being pursued by the paparazzi after leaving the Ritz Hotel. Their driver Henri Paul, who was also killed, was drunk and driving at high speed.

Mr al-Fayed, who has previously claimed his son and Diana were murdered, pledged to continue fighting for “the truth” about their deaths.

He said in a statement: “Twenty years ago, I lost my beloved son, Dodi, who was taken from me at the age of 42, an innocent victim who was slaughtered in the streets of Paris.

“I have been grieving ever since and have dedicated my life to fighting for the truth about his death to be revealed. I will never give up this fight.”

Of media coverage around the book, which is due for release in September, he said: “This is just the latest example of their attempts to re-write history, burying my allegations about what really happened in Paris 20 years ago and relegating Dodi to a bit part in the story or, if they cannot do that, trying to destroy his reputation.

“They have not an ounce of compassion for me or my loss - a stark contrast to the fulsome and fawning coverage devoted to the feelings of Prince William and Prince Harry in the media coverage this week.”

He added: “I will fight until my dying breath to tell the world about the real Dodi: a kind, gentle, courteous man, who was loved by all who knew him, brought great happiness to Princess Diana in her final days and a cherished son whom I will mourn for the rest of my life.”

A report by former Met Police commissioner Lord Stevens published in 2006 rejected the murder claims voiced by some, including Mr al-Fayed.

The inquests into the deaths finished in 2008, with a jury returning a verdict that the ‘’people’s princess’’ and her boyfriend were unlawfully killed.

In 2013 Scotland Yard concluded that there was “no credible evidence” of any SAS involvement in the death, following claims that the couple were murdered by a member of British special forces.

Earlier this week, Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, said he still had nightmares about her funeral, but added that the event must have been a “million times worse” for William and Harry.