Flaws in key Lockerbie evidence

Published on BBCnews, 6 January 2010.

An investigation by BBC’s Newsnight has cast doubts on the key piece of evidence which convicted the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Tests aimed at reproducing the blast appear to undermine the case’s central forensic link, based on a tiny fragment identified as part of a bomb timer.

The tests suggest the fragment, which linked the attack to Megrahi, would not have survived the mid-air explosion.  

Two hundred and seventy people died in the 1988 attack on Pan Am flight 103.

Megrahi was jailed for the attack in 2001, but he was controversially released from prison in Scotland by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in August 2009 on compassionate grounds.

Megrahi is said to be dying from terminal cancer and, according to reports from Libya, his condition continues to deteriorate.

But his release also scuppered Megrahi’s planned appeal and any hopes of challenging the evidence on which he had been jailed … //

… In each test the timer and its circuit board were obliterated, prompting Mr Wyatt to question whether such a fragment could have survived the mid-air explosion.

He told Newsnight: “I do find it quite it extraordinary and I think highly improbable and most unlikely that you would find a fragment like that – it is unbelievable.

“We carried out 20 tests, we didn’t carry out 100 or 1,000, but in those 20 tests we found absolutely nothing at all – so I found it highly improbable that you would find anything like that, particularly at 10,000 feet when bits are dropping into long wet grass over hundreds of miles.

Watch Peter Marshall’s full report on the Lockerbie bomb evidence on Newsnight at 2230 GMT on BBC Two, then afterwards on the Newsnight website. (full text).

Comments are closed.