Woman discovers her son was among 270 Lockerbie bombing victims almost 25 years later

Carol King-Eckersley tells of her 'double tragedy' after deciding to track down her only child, put up for adoption 45 years ago

A woman whose son was killed in the Lockerbie bombing has only just found out about his death, almost 25 years later.

Carol King-Eckersley, 65, gave up her only child for adoption in 1967 but said she had always dreamed of one day being reunited with him.

With only the name Kenneth Bissett and a date of birth to go on, Ms King-Eckersley decided earlier this year to try and track him down after a grief counsellor suggested she do so in the wake of her husband’s death.

Looking online, she found someone matching his profile in a remembrance page for Syracuse University, New York.

It listed the 35 students who were among the 270 people killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Dumfries and Galloway.

Telling her story as part of a BBC documentary marking the 25th anniversary of the disaster, Ms King-Eckersley, from Oregon in the US, said it “became a kind of double tragedy. I found him and I lost him on the same day.”

Kenneth had been among a group of students from Syracuse who spent a term studying in London, and were on the Boeing 747 heading home four days before Christmas.

He knew he was adopted but had never met his birth mother, a then-unmarried 19-year-old who gave him up for adoption to preserve the reputation of her high school principal father.

She said: “I gave up Ken for adoption at birth and even though I was told his name I never looked for him because I had given my word.

“There was always the hope and dream that some day there would come a knock on the door and I would open it and there would be this tall, handsome gentleman saying ‘Hi, I guess you're my mum’.”

Undated handout photo issued by BBC Scotland of Kenneth Bissett, whose birth mother, Carol King-Eckersley, 65, from Oregon, is only now beginning to grieve for the child she gave up for adoption A photograph of Ms King-Eckersley's son  

Kenneth's adoptive parents have both now died, but they left a detailed tribute and account of his childhood in Syracuse’s archives, where his mother saw a baby picture for the first time.

She said: “I had never seen him, except wrapped up in a yellow blanket on the day we left hospital.”

“In a way, I'm going backwards...because the getting to know him makes it sharper, makes the regret deeper. He was an incredible artist. I saw comic strips that he drew when he was 11 years old.”

She described the feeling of never having felt like a proper parent as a result of giving up her son. She said: “I have carried that stigma around. It's just a real regret that I'll never, in this life, see him.”

1988: The wreckage of the New-York-bound Pan Am Boeing 747 1988: The wreckage of the New-York-bound Pan Am Boeing 747  

Though campaigners continue to lobby for a new inquiry into who committed the Lockerbie bombing, Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of the terrorist act in January 2001 and given a life sentence. He died from cancer in Tripoli last year after a Scottish jail released him on compassionate grounds.

BBC One Scotland’s Living with Lockerbie will be screened on Monday at 10.35pm.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings