Diana Bodyguards Get the Blame

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LONDON: If the tragic death of Princess Diana has done nothing else in the past year, it has kept a lot of lawyers very busy. The official crash investigation is far from over, and investigators will soon be hearing from the manager of the Paris Ritz. Trevor Rees-Jones is considering a suit against Mercedes-Benz over airbags that may have exploded too early. And fellow bodyguard Kes Wingfield is to take Mohammed Al-Fayed to an industrial tribunal next week, claiming he asked Wingfield to back up his views that Di and Dodi died at the hands of a conspiracy -- and forced him to quit when he wouldn't.

Ironically, Al-Fayed is no longer blaming British intelligence for the crash -- he's decided Rees-Jones and Wingfield are responsible. The Harrods boss blasted his former bodyguards in an exclusive interview with TIME: "They are the people who caused the devastation and the accident through their incompetence and unprofessional practices," he says. Should security practice at the Ritz become the center of the investigation, Al-Fayed's about-face may turn out to be a bid to find culprits who, conveniently, no longer work for him. It's not hard to wonder what Diana would think of these legal wranglings.