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French owner wants back car that killed Diana

By Venkata Vemuri, IANS,

London : Princess Diana’s children are unhappy with a French car rental which wants the crashed Mercedes that killed their mother back to be sold as a memorabilia.

The wreckage of the black S280, which hit an underpass wall killing Princess Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul, has been in a secure Metropolitan Police compound in South London since July 2005.

It was shipped from France for examination prior to the inquest into Diana’s death, which five months ago ruled it was accidental.

The wreckage still bears blood stains from the night of Aug 31, 1997, when Henri Paul hit a concrete pillar in the Pont d’Alma tunnel at 65mph while photographers chased the car on motorcycles.

Jean-Francois Musa, manager of Paris-based Etoile Limousines, is demanding the car back, saying: “It’s worth a great deal of money. We have never received anything financially following this dreadful accident. The authorities involved seem to have no conception of property rights. Nobody has the right to dispose of the car except us.”

He also says he will offer it to Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, although the Harrods owner Saturday night rejected the idea as “disgusting”.

Senior Royal sources disclosed Saturday night that William and Harry want the Mercedes disposed of “privately and discreetly” to prevent it from falling into the hands of ghoulish souvenir hunters.

It is believed the car – which cost 70,000 pounds new – could fetch as much as 1 million pounds.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that informal offers to buy the wreck have come from all over the world, mainly the US, where it has been compared with the cars in which actor James Dean died and former president John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens, who headed the Operation Paget investigation into Diana’s death, revealed Saturday that he is negotiating with the French judiciary and police to return the Mercedes to Paris.