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Parents of Diana' driver defend their son

Feb. 5, 2008 at 10:32 PM

LONDON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The parents of Henri Paul, the driver of the car in which British Princess Diana died in Paris in 1997, denied claims their son was a heavy drinker.

Testifying at a London hearing into Diana's death Monday through a video link from Paris, Jean and Giselle Paul said they had never seen their son drunk and said French police refused their request for an independent blood test, The Times of London reported.

The elderly couple said Henri Paul had passed a medical examination to maintain his private pilot's license three days before the car he was driving crashed into a Paris underpass.

The couple also denied accusations by Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Diana's lover, Dodi Fayed, who also died in the crash, that Paul had been paid by British security services. They said their son received as much as $15,000 a month in tips from wealthy guests at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

The inquest previously heard accusations that French police planted alcohol in Paul's apartment after the crash, the newspaper said.

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