On the 22nd anniversary of Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, McLaren — host of the upcoming podcast “Fatal Voyage: Diana Case Closed” and co-author of the book Diana: Case Solved — spoke exclusively to Us Weekly.
“Over the years I kept pushing for answers, asking the French authorities for further and better particulars,” he told Us.
“My perseverance paid off when I was invited to the forensic laboratory and met the man that inspected my key suspects’ Fiat Uno,” he said, referring to “the driver of the second car.”
“To my utter disbelief, I was told the expert failed to properly inspect the Fiat for damage along the left side of his car. Damage that I knew was there.”
How this played out is revealed page by page in Diana: Case Solved as the book details how the “official cover-up was exposed.”
When did the story surrounding Princess Diana first spark your interest?
As a lecturer of crime scene principles and procedures, I was glued to the TV news channels watching the aftermath of the crash that would take the life of Diana. I watched the horror. Not so much the twisted, wrecked Mercedes but what the French cops were failing to do, failing to preserve this complex crime scene. I couldn’t believe their ineptness, their investigative arrogance. I knew I needed to jump on a jet airliner and go to Paris to investigate the death of the mother to the future king of England.
At what point did you realize there is more to the story than was told to the public?
The instant I stepped into the crime scene, the busy Cours Albert roadway, the forensic scars lit up like a Christmas tree. On the roadway were bright black skid marks, a signature that two cars had been involved. Up high, on the capping of a retaining wall, was more black tire residue, proving that Diana’s car was airborne, for a time. And on it went, one forensic fact after another — this was no ordinary car accident. An unknown play of two or more cars had been involved, and the French cops seemed to have missed it all.
What is the most shocking revelation that you will share in the book and podcast?
Over the years, I kept pushing for answers, asking the French authorities for further and better particulars. My perseverance paid off when I was invited to the forensic laboratory and met the man that inspected my key suspects’ Fiat Uno; the driver of the second car. To my utter disbelief, I was told the expert failed to properly inspect the Fiat for damage along the left side of his car. Damage that I knew was there. How this played out is revealed page by page in Diana: Case Solved as the official cover-up was exposed.
How did you manage to track down Le Van Than, the man who drove the Fiat Uno that reportedly clipped Diana’s car ahead of the accident? What did he tell you about his motives to not speak up until now?
For all the bad press the paparazzi get, I have nothing but praise for them. Like nightly ghosts who chase the famed in a gray world of celebrity, they are both street smart and highly connected. Within hours they had an address on the driver of the Fiat Uno. Within two days I was talking to the elusive man that sprayed his car red hours after the accident. As the only person in the world to ever speak to him — twice — I soon realized his motives for leaving the scene of a deadly accident; fear of imprisonment.
Do you think Princess Diana’s case should be reopened?
Another key thing the driver of the Fiat told me was that the French cops encouraged him not to assist the investigation. Advice that shook the foundations of my investigative beliefs. For this reason alone, and for closure for the billions of people that want transparent answers, the case of how Diana died must be reopened. And this book will ensure this!
McLaren and investigative journalist Dylan Howard recently returned from Paris where they spoke with Le Van Than, who reportedly was driving a white Fiat Uno that clipped Diana’s car before the fatal Paris crash.
Their book — and a companion podcast series — will reveal the first-ever interview with Van Than, who has turned down several requests for a formal interview from British police.
McLaren’s demand for the inquest to be reopened follows the same claim from Michael Cole, a former spokesman for Mohamed Al-Fayed, whose playboy billionaire son, Dodi Al-Fayed, died in the fiery crash alongside Diana and driver Henri Paul on August 31, 1997, inside the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
Cole told McLaren and Howard: “As a matter of urgency, this information should be conveyed to an officer of the court. If it is reported to the French police or the British police, then there will be the temptation, or the possibility anyway, that somehow the information will be buried. … But it certainly is prima facie cause for a new thoroughgoing look at what went on, because if this was going on, what else was going on?”
The soon-to-be-released book, titled Diana: Case Solved, touts itself as “the definitive account and evidence that proves what really happened” on that fateful night. It hits shelves on September 17.