Exposed: photographers' grim determination

The age-old question of what lengths a photographer should go to in order to get the ‘money shot’ shows no sign of abating.

Last week, Clarence House accused paparazzi snappers of aggressively pursuing Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton as they left a London nightclub.

A Clarence House spokesman said photographers were so intent on capturing images of the couple they went from being on foot to using vehicles and motorbikes.

He added: “The aggressive pursuit was potentially dangerous and worrying for them. It seems incomprehensible, particularly at this time, that this behaviour is still going on.”

The comments are a veiled allusion to the conduct of the paparazzi, many of whom are freelance, on the night the Prince’s mother, Diana Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in Paris.

Yesterday, the first witness testimonies at the third inquest into Diana’s death were publicised by British newspapers. They are remarkable because of the grim impression they give of on-scene photographers.

Speaking via a video link, Ana Simao, who passed the scene of the accident on August 31, 1997, said two photographers mounted the smashed car holding Diana to get better pictures as she lay dying inside.

Ms Simao’s boyfriend, Antonio Lopes-Borges, who was with her at the time, was then asked if either of the photographers tried to help the people inside. “No” he replied.

Ms Simao was also asked how close the photographers were to the wreckage inside the Alma tunnel. She confirmed: “They were on the car.”

Moreover, even when paramedics and police arrived at the scene the paparazzi failed to flinch, Ms Simao reportedly explained.

She said: “I remember that despite the presence of the emergency services the photographers were still taking photographs as I could see their flashes.”

The couple, who are the first witnesses to give evidence to the inquest, said the chaotic scene made them think a movie was being staged.

In describing the fleet of paparazzi that were tailing the Mercedes occupied by the Princess, Mr Lopes-Borges recalled he thought he was witnessing a terrorist attack.


12th October 2007

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