Lockerbie families welcome new police inquiry

Forensic science evidence to be reviewed as Scottish detectives seek fresh leads

The review of Lockerbie bombing evidence announced by Scottish police was cautiously welcomed yesterday by relatives of those who died in Britain's worst terrorist attack. But victims' families also repeated their demand for a full independent inquiry.

An email sent to families by the Scottish authorities said that detectives were still following several lines of inquiry into the deliberate downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988 which led to the deaths of 270 people.

The email from Lindsey Miller, a senior Procurator Fiscal with the Scottish judiciary, said that a review of the case was taking place, including a potential re-examination of the forensic science evidence. Only one person, former Libyan intelligence operative Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, has been convicted of the attack which the authorities insist was carried out by Libya. But many British families of those who died believe the full truth of the attack has yet to be revealed.

Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, was released from his life sentence in the summer on compassionate grounds after he abandoned his appeal against his conviction. Victims' families had hoped that his reappearance in court would either lead to his exoneration or shed fresh light on who else was responsible for the carefully co-ordinated attack. His release sparked outrage in the US where victims' families are generally more convinced of Megrahi's guilt.

In the letter to British families, Ms Miller said that a new review of the evidence was being carried out "with a view to identifying further lines of inquiry that can be pursued". Any review would look into who might have helped Megrahi and there was also the suggestion that the forensic evidence would be re-examined. "You will, of course, appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to elaborate on these lines but please be assured that this is not simply paying lip service to the idea of an 'open case'," she wrote.

The Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary's Chief Constable, Patrick Shearer, insisted the case had always remained open and that evidence reviews were carried out regularly by detectives. Pamela Dix, whose brother, Peter, was killed in the attack, said: "As far as we understand it, there are avenues which are being pursued, and that should be interpreted as a good thing. Expectations around Megrahi's appeal were quite high but hopes were profoundly dashed when the appeal was abandoned."

Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter in the bombing and has long been convinced of Megrahi's innocence, was more cautious. "If they are really going to [do] a meaningful investigation, then that is all well and good and long overdue," he said. "But if it is a dodge to prevent an investigation into why the lives of those killed were not protected, then I would be livid."

In a separate development, Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi said during an interview with Sky News that he was "sorry" about the death of Wpc Yvonne Fletcher. Fletcher was killed by a shot fired from within the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984. Her killer has never been caught.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices