Lockerbie: QC read names of all the victims. It took an hour

The list of passengers and crew, given as evidence, provides possible clues as to why bombers attacked Pan Am flight 103

First came the names of the passengers. They were read out along with their addresses in alphabetical order, starting with John Ahern of Sherman Avenue, New York, and ending with Mark Zwynenburg, from a suburb of the same city.

Next was read a list of the 16 crew who had been on board the Pan Am jet as it took off from Heathrow on 21 December 1988, bound for America. And then, finally, read at the same slow pace, came the names of the 11 residents of Lockerbie who died when flight 103 exploded above their town. All had lived in the same street.

There were 270 names in all and it took Alistair Campbell QC 13 seconds shy of an hour yesterday afternoon to work his way through them at a dignified pace. He stumbled just once.

The identity of those who were killed by the Lockerbie bombing is no secret. But as their names were read to the Scottish Court in the Netherlands yesterday - technically lodged as a piece of uncontested evidence - they took on a power far outweighing that of a simple list.

For the families of those whose names were read out it was an emotional event. This week, they have seen the two Libyans accused of murder - Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah - and heard the outline of the evidence against them. But yesterday appeared to be much more upsetting.

"Today, the prosecution brought in it's most important 270 witnesses - in absentia," said Bert Ammerman, one of the relatives. He could barely speak for tears.

Mr Ammerman's brother, Thomas, 36, a shipping executive with two daughters, was fifth on the list. He had been travelling back alone on flight 103 to his home in New Jersey after a business trip. Others were travelling in groups: couples, mothers with their babies and families.

The bombers of flight 103 did not discriminate on grounds of nationality. Most of the victims were Americans, but the dead included South Africans, Swedes and French. Three of the names belonged to a family from Koto Utca in Hungary.

The list also contained possible clues as to why the plane was brought down. Name 110 was Khaled Jaafar, 20, a Lebanese-American and allegedly a member of a drug-producing family from the Bekaa Valley who had been ordered by Hizbollah to take heroin to America. One theory says that, unknown to him, the package was swapped for a bomb at Frankfurt by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command.

A few moments later, the court was read the name of Charles McKee, a senior officer with the US Central Intelligence Agency, returning from Beirut. Another theory says Major McKee was working to free the Lebanon hostages and was murdered to stop him getting back to America with information. Major McKee was name number 137: half an hour had passed and we were only half way through the list.

Afterwards, the court adjourned for the weekend, and the families filed out. "Normally you would expect a prayer after the list of the dead," said Bruce Smith, whose British wife Ingrid was among the victims. "But in some ways I suppose it was a prayer in itself."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
healthMeet the volunteer users helping to see if the banned drug can help cure depression and addiction
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Life and Style
tech
News
i100
News
Foo Fighters lead man Dave Grohl talks about the band's forthcoming HBO documentary series
people
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The officials are caught in the web of US legal imperialism - where double standards don't get in the way

Caught in the web of legal imperialism

The Fifa officials ensnared by America's extraterritorial authority are only the latest examples of this fearsome power, says Rupert Cornwell
Bruce Robinson: Creator of Withnail and I on his new book about Jack the Ripper

'Jack the Ripper has accrued a heroic aura. But I'm going after the bastard'

The deaths of London prostitutes are commonly pinned on a toff in a top hat. But Bruce Robinson, creator of Withnail and I, has a new theory about the killer's identity
Simon Stephens interview: The playwright on red-blooded rehearsals, disappointing his children - and why plays are like turtles

Simon Stephens interview

The playwright on red-blooded rehearsals, disappointing his children - and why plays are like turtles
Holidaying with a bike nut: Cycling obsessive Rob Penn convinces his wife to saddle up

Holidaying with a bike nut

Cycling obsessive Rob Penn convinces his wife to saddle up
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef pays homage to South-east Asia's palate-refreshing desserts

Bill Granger's fruity Asian desserts

Our chef's refreshing desserts are a perfect ending to a spicy, soy-rich meal
Fifa presidential election: What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison