Jul 15, 2007

French photographer files complaint over Diana death photos

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PARIS - A French photographer who took one of the last pictures of princess Diana after her Paris car crash 10 years ago has lodged a complaint for theft of the photograph, his lawyer said Saturday.

Fabrice Chassery, a 40-year-old freelancer, maintains that a photograph showing Diana slumped in the back seat of the black Mercedes while a paramedic tries to slip an oxygen mask on her was stolen from police files.

Chassery had refused to sell the photograph after Diana's death on August 31, 1997, and to grant rights to reproduce the image, said lawyer Jean-Louis Pelletier.

"We are able to prove that this photograph belongs to Mr Chassery. There are people who are fraudulently using this photograph or duplicates of it," Pelletier told AFP.

The lawyer hopes that an investigation into the complaint will shed light on the perpetrator of the alleged theft.

The photograph has been published in a report by the US television network CBS and on the cover of a book by a French journalist, according to the lawyer.

Chassery and another photographer, David Kerr, had last month asked Britain's Channel 4 network not to use the images in a documentary on Diana's last moments.

Diana, 36, her companion Dodi Fayed, 42, and their driver Henri Paul were killed when their Mercedes crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel as they tried to shake off pursuing paparazzi photographers after leaving the Ritz Hotel.

Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor, but suffered serious injuries.

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