Romuald Rat
Rat: "I did nothing wrong"

Three More Photographers Held - Two Others Deny Wrongdoing

Three more photographers, who were present at the scene of the car crash which killed the Princess of Wales, have been detained for questioning in Paris.

Court officials said the three photographers had presented themselves voluntarily to investigators.

Two of the photographers being investigated for manslaughter, and who were arrested on Sunday, have been protesting their innocence in their first interviews since the accident. Both insist that they have broken no laws.

Romuald Rat told how he gently spoke to the Princess in English after arriving at the scene, urging her to stay calm and saying that help was on the way.

"That was it. I did nothing wrong. I did not take any photos at all. It really was not the moment to take any pictures," he said.

The BBC's Andy Bell reports from Paris on the two photographers who plead innocent of any crime
Dur: 2'45"

Rat was one of six photographers and a motorbike driver who were put on notice by a French judge of manslaughter charges on Tuesday.

The world was shocked to learn that Rat had actually opened a door of the wrecked vehicle and reached in to Diana.

In a French TV interview on Wednesday, Rat explained how he and his bike driver decided not to chase the car containing the Princess as it sped through Paris after photographing her and Dodi Al Fayed leaving the Ritz Hotel. "In any case we could not catch her," he said.

The crash had already happened when they arrived at the Pont d'Alma. "I opened the door of the car and saw Princess Diana sitting on the floor. I took her hand. I tried to help her," he said, his voice full of emotion.

He said he did not call for help himself but heard someone say they had already called the fire brigade.

"I didn't deal with that. I went and opened the car door. I told her in English to stay calm, that I was there and help was coming."

But Rat did confirm that he "resumed my work" after rescue and medical teams arrived on the scene. "I went back to my profession. I took wide shots of the car."

Rat insisted it was a coincidence that he came across the crashed car because he had already given up attempts to tail it.

Rat and one other renowned photographer known for targeting celebrities, Christian Martinez, have both had to forfeit their cameras and equipment during the inquiries. The other four photographers have been allowed to carry on working.

Jacques Langevin
Langevin: condemns paparazzi who fled accident
In an interview for American TV, the French photographer Jacques Langevin, also arrested after the tragic accident that killed Princess Diana, said he was not among the paparazzi "killers" who chased her through Paris.

"I am not paparazzi," Langevin told CBS Television. "On this story, I work in the respect of the law. ... I arrived after the police, after the ambulance people. I am charged now and I cannot accept that."

Mr Langevin said he was assigned by the Sygma Agency to go to the Ritz Hotel on Saturday night and take photographs of Diana and her companion, Dodi Al Fayed.

"We knew she was coming out of the hotel. A car came quickly... so I shoot pictures of Diana leaving the hotel (and) of the two inside the car through the window," he told CBS.

Mr Langevin said Diana put her hands in front of her face to shield herself from flashes and after taking the photos he left to rejoin friends for dinner. He told CBS he had arrived at the scene of the accident by chance about 15 minutes later.

The award-winning photographer, who has covered combat in Bosnia and the Gulf, said he did not immediately recognize the wreckage as the car containing Diana, Al Fayed, their driver and Diana's bodyguard "because in my mind I couldn't accept that was the car I saw near the hotel".

Commenting on witness claims that some paparazzi who chased the vehicle took pictures of the victims after the crash and sped off before police arrived, Mr Langevin said: "It's unacceptable. They are not photographers. They are - I don't know, but they are not journalists. In a way, they are killers."

Judge Herve Stephan, who is leading the inquiry into the accident, has ordered a police search for those other photographers, some of whom have offered their pictures to newspaper pusblishers around the world - without success.

Preliminary police reports say that as many as 15 photographers were on the crash scene within seconds, many of them allegedly obstructing police and medical teams in their desperate bid for close-up pictures.