Barry Mannakee

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Barry Mannakee
Barry Albert Mannakee[1]

(1947-06-01)1 June 1947
Died15 May 1987(1987-05-15) (aged 39)
Cause of death

Barry Mannakee (1 June 1947 – 15 May 1987) was a police officer with the Royal Protection Squad and bodyguard to Diana, Princess of Wales. Mannakee was transferred from his role as bodyguard for Diana following what was described as an "inappropriate" relationship between the two, with Diana speaking about being "in love" with him. Mannakee died in a road traffic accident in 1987, leading to a conspiracy theory that his death was not an accident. Diana believed he had been "bumped off" by the security services, though this has never been proven.

Personal life and career[edit]

Mannakee was a police officer with the Royal Protection Squad. In 1985, he became bodyguard to Diana, Princess of Wales. In 1986, he was transferred to Diplomatic Protection Group based in central London.[2] Mannakee had a wife, Susan, they had two children.[2]

Diana, Princess of Wales[edit]

In a tape recorded by Diana, Princess of Wales's voice coach Peter Settelen in 1992, Diana admitted herself that in 1984 through to 1986, she had been "deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment."[3][4] Although she never used his name, it is thought she was referring to Mannakee. In 1986, Mannakee was transferred to the Diplomatic Protection Squad after his managers had determined his relationship with Diana had been "inappropriate,..."[3][5] with Diana saying in the tape that Mannakee had been "chucked out" from his role as her bodyguard following suspicion that the two were having an affair. She said "I was only happy when he was around" and that his death was "the biggest blow of my life."[6][2][7]


Shortly after 10pm on the night of 15 May 1987, Mannakee was killed when the Suzuki motorbike he was riding as a passenger, driven by a fellow police officer Steven Peat, crashed into a Ford Fiesta driven by 17-year-old Nicola Chopp, who had only passed her driving test six weeks earlier, in Woodford, north-east London on the A11 road. Mannakee was on the way to his home in Loughton. After waiting for a car to turn left, Chopp pulled out, turning right across the motorbike's path. Peat swerved to avoid the car, but a collision occurred and Mannekee was catapulted into the rear side window of Chopp's car and died almost instantly after breaking his spine in two places. Peat and Chopp both survived. An inquest into Mannakee's death concluded it was an accident.[3][2][5]

Conspiracy theories emerged surrounding the death of Mannakee, due to the manner he was replaced as Diana's bodyguard; these theories were fuelled further when a tape emerged, recorded by Diana's voice coach in 1992, in which Diana alleged Mannakee had been "bumped off" by security services to protect the royal family from embarrassment following suspicions that Diana and Mannakee were having an affair.[2] It has also been reported that some of Mannakee's family believe that the security services were behind his death.[8]

Chopp claims that she had been pressured into making the admission she was responsible for the collision, describing how on the night of the incident, she saw "dazzling lights" from a 'mystery car' and said: "I have always wondered if some more sinister forces were at work that night, although I could never prove it. I believe, with conviction, I was not the cause of Barry Mannakee’s death.” However, no other vehicles were found to be involved.[2][5][3]

In 2004, Lord Brocket claimed that while serving a prison sentence for fraud, a former police officer also in prison told him forensic evidence in a secret file show the Suzuki bike had been deliberately tampered with.[3]

However, Peat says the crash was "nothing more" than an accident, a view shared by Mannakee's former wife and the police officers who originally investigated the crash. William Langley of The Telegraph wrote that the ride home with Peat had been impromptu to save time and therefore unlikely the crash could have been planned.[3]

The death of Mannakee was reinvestigated during the inquiry into the death of Diana, as part of Operation Paget, overseen by Sir John Stevens.[3]


  1. ^ "MPF | Metropolitan Police Federation | In Memoriam". Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Christodoulou, Holly (30 July 2017). "Who is Barry Mannakee? Princess Diana's bodyguard who died in a motorbike accident". The Sun. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Langley, By William. "The Mannakee file". Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  4. ^ Yaqoob, Janine (30 July 2017). "Princess Diana's fears bodyguard 'she was deeply in love with' was "bumped off"". mirror. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Milmo, Cahal (8 December 2004). "Conspiracy theorists feast on inquiry into death of Diana's minder". The Independent. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  6. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | Diana 'wanted to live with guard'". Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  7. ^ Joseph, Claudia. "the curse of diana Princess Diana was the most desirable woman on earth, yet her lovers were stalked by scandal, embarrassment and death". The Sun (UK) 15 July 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017. When Diana, just 23, suffered post-natal depression after the birth of Harry in September 1984, 37-year-old Mannakee became a father figure and confidant...
  8. ^ "'British police told me Princess Diana was murdered': Death crash driver's dad claims son was 'collateral damage' in plot". Daily Mirror. 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.