Diana Mercedes wreckage disappears in France

Mercedes

The Mercedes that Princess Diana died in has disappeared after it was returned to France.

The wreckage had initially been sent to a Metropolitan Police compound in 2005 so tests could be carried out for the inquest into the Princess’s death. Following the hearing, the plan was to have the Mercedes destroyed, to save it falling into the hands of souvenir hunters.

A statement by the Metropolitan Police has now revealed that the car – owned by Etoile Limousines – was sent back to France in 2009.

The spokesman said: “The vehicle was returned to the custody of the French Judicial Authorities in September 2009.”

It is believed that the wreckage is in the possession of the French Government, but its precise location is unknown.

A spokeswoman for the French embassy in the UK said : “My understanding is that it still is with French judicial authority (Cour d’appel de Paris).”

The owner of Etoile Limousines, Jean-Francois Musa, said in August that it’s his desire that the car returns to Paris so it can be given to the US museum as a ‘mark of respect’ to the tragic royal.

Experts have estimated that if the Mercedes was to come up for auction, it could be expected to fetch up to £10 million.

One auctioneer, who was asked to comment on the idea of putting the car up for sale said he found the idea “downright disgusting”.

John Markey of H&H Classics added: “I condemn it in the strongest terms.

“I suppose there is a market for anything but no respecting auctioneer would go near an item like this, it’s a sick sideshow.

“I don’t personally believe it should be given a value, but it could be worth one, two, even £10 million or maybe more depending on who bought it. It’s worth what anyone is willing to pay for it and there’s a market for everything.

“But I couldn’t see any British or French museum taking it. I think it is just abhorrent.”

Mr Musa’s firm provided cars to the Paris Ritz, where Diana and Dodi Fayed left from on the night they died on August 31, 1997.

Mr Musa, 58, said: “The car is still legally mine, but I haven’t seen it for almost 20 years.

“It was shipped to Britain for the police and judges to inspect it. It should have been sent back to me when all the inspections were completed, but it never was. It could be given to a museum.

“People in places like America are very keen on these type of cars. The Mercedes is piece of history which could be used to recall a terrible tragedy. The British should just hand the car back.”

Diana’s sons William and Harry want the car disposed of “discreetly”, a source said.

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