GIVEN WHAT RESEARCH psychologists know about the malleability of memory, many of Trevor Rees Jones' recent recollections should be treated with a dose of healthy skepticism.
"Even in a normal situation, memories start to fade pretty quickly after an eyewitness event. And as they fade, they become more and more vulnerable to post-event suggestion," said Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology and law at the University of Washington. "This (the Rees Jones recollection) isn't a normal situation; it's worse."The only survivor of the Paris car crash that killed Princess Diana, her companion Dodi al Fayed and driver Henri Paul, Rees Jones has had amnesia for most of six months. Last week, however, Diana's former bodyguard said that with psychiatric treatment, he is "starting to remember more and more."
Those remembrances include the princess moaning and calling Dodi's name after the crash. He also recalled blinding flashes, presumably from cameras, from in front of the speeding Mercedes.
That al Fayed's father has paid for Rees Jones' medical and psychiatric care strikes some people as reason enough to discount what he remembers. Mohamed al Fayed has angered the royal family by contending all along that the spectacular auto crash on Aug. 31 was not an accident.
In short, while the world might want the only person who survived the crash to remember and solve all mysteries, the whole truth of the night of Aug. 31 may have died along with Henri Paul, Dodi al Fayed and Princess Diana.