Henri Paul
A security camera shows Henri Paul returning to work at the Ritz

The Driver

Henri Paul had worked for the Fayeds for 11 years and was, according to their spokesman, Michael Cole, an "exemplary employee".

He had twice been to Stuttgart in Germany on courses run by Mercedes-Benz on how to handle their cars; these included anti-terrorist and anti-kidnapping evasion techniques.

Accounts of him vary. Some portray what amounts to a boozy braggart; someone who liked to tell his friends in his home town of Lorient, Brittany, about his swish lifestyle in the big city; a "speed freak" with a big fast motorcycle.

Others present a conscientious worker, proud of his job, keen to impress, very professional - a man who liked a drink but who restricted himself to mineral water or orange juice when working. The problem was, he did not think he was working on Saturday night.

He was almost universally described as "a former French air force pilot" - a captain. The air force denied this. The Harrods spokesman, Michael Cole, said in passing later - while defending the man - that he had been "a navy lieutenant".

He held a private pilot's licence and liked to hire aircraft to fly over to Lorient.

He did not have a limousine licence. In Paris, anyone is entitled to drive a limousine provided of course they have an ordinary driving licence.

But in addition, companies using limousines can register the vehicles with the police, which makes them subject to special annual tests. The car may then carry a GR ("grande remise") plate on its front, as a form of quality assurance.

Such a car should be driven only be a similarly licensed driver. Getting the licence involves a medical check, a character assessment, and a check on criminal records. The company does a verbal test and assures itself that the driver is presentable and has a thorough knowledge of local places and routes.

An aspect of the police investigation is that Mr Paul was technically in breach of the law by driving a GR car without himself being licensed - though this is rather academic alongside the allegation of excessive drinking.

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