Until a few years ago, I had entertained no desire or compunction to write a book about Diana. In truth, I considered that some, if not most, of the staggering number of books that have been authored to date were penned purely to cash in on the demise of the most photographed woman in the world and probably the most popular member of the Royal Family at the time. Once I began to look into the circumstances of the crash, I realised that most of these books were based entirely on unsubstantiated theories or spurious information from unnamed and probably non-existent sources. The same can be said about the hundreds of websites that claimed to be investigations or factual accounts. Yet here I am having written The Diana Jigsaw, an investigation into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and I feel I should explain why.
Between 2004 and 2007 I had worked on a screenplay, based on a book purporting to be an investigation into Diana’s death. A producer had purchased the film rights and was planning to produce a film based on it. To cut a very long saga short, I eventually found myself trying to edit the author’s screenplay. The book contained no story whatsoever. All the author’s sources were unnamed, except for a known fraudster. In 2007, I realised that the project’s legs had fallen off. The producer couldn’t attract a director, cast or investment. I resigned and got back to my own neglected writing projects.
In 2011, I received an email from another film producer who my partner and I had worked with on a different film project. He had teamed up with one of the authors of the aforementioned book and asked if I could help him raise the money for a film based on a new script. I was somewhat surprised. The new script was said to be the true story of the author’s investigation, which went some way to confirming my assessment of the first book. One of the companies I approached asked for the script, which duly arrived. This time, I was not merely surprised; I was profoundly shocked. It not only purported to be an autobiographical work, but it also contained sections of the script that I’d written, as well as a character I had invented. However, I let the producer know my thoughts and sent it to the company. Two weeks later I was pleased to report that they had passed on it. End of story?
In 2013, I was in for another surprise. I received another email from the second producer, attached to which was a Cease and Desist Notice telling me to stop work on the Diana film. Having thoroughly checked the original producer’s contracts, quite a few emails of a legalistic nature went back and forth through the ether. Finally, I received another email from the second producer, saying that he had come up with a solution. He would buy my script and make the film. I politely refused his offer and wrote a new and completely different script.
Meanwhile, a very experienced Executive Producer joined the project, but just as we were progressing nicely, “Diana” the movie was released. I cringed as I watched the trailers, then somebody decided it would be a good idea to put a poster advertising the film above the Alma Tunnel in Paris where the crash occurred. Oh dear! Suddenly, in addition to those who were worried about the conspiratorial nature of the previous story, we acquired a new group of naysayers. Talent agents, directors, co-producers and distributors decided that they wouldn’t touch anything involving Diana with the proverbial bargepole. But were we discouraged? Absolutely.
In view of this and the Cease and Desist nonsense; a completely new course of action was required. I set out to prove or disprove the popular conspiracy theories; discover exactly what had happened on that final journey from the Ritz Hotel to the Alma Tunnel; expose the person or persons responsible for the fatal crash; examine the driver’s blood tests; establish any secret services conspiracy and establish the extent of any cover-up. There were also a few loose ends that I wanted to tie up, such as the extremely suspicious death of French photographer, James Andanson, who was supposedly driving the mysterious white Fiat Uno.
I began to analyse all the information that I’d gathered over the preceding nine or so years, the French inquiry report; all 840 pages of Lord Stevens’ Report of the Operation Paget inquiry findings, plus all the available evidence and photographs from the 2007 Inquest. I hate to think how many pages of downloads and A4 books of notes it amounted to, but when it’s eventually recycled, it should, along with all those earlier rejected and edited scripts, produce a few million rolls of toilet paper.
Having gone through all that information, I realised why people, including myself, found it impossible to visualise what had happened on the night of the crash. I needed a way to present the evidence that was understandable. Inspiration eventually hit me in the middle of the night. The resulting half-second by half-second animation, which took more than two years to complete, obviously could not be included in the book, so I constructed a website that contains all my evidence, diagrams, spreadsheets, photographs and, of course, the animation. You can take a look for yourself here.
The conclusions that I have reached are based on a holistic view of the evidence as it was presented to the French inquiry, Operation Paget and the British inquest, as well as patient collection and collation of articles and interviews and the analysis of data from original sources. Some of the conclusions will come as no surprise to the reader, others are shocking.
Find out more in The Diana Jigsaw, available HERE