Eight Lockerbie suspects were never interviewed
Lorraine Davidson and Anil Dawar
A detective who headed the original Lockerbie investigation has revealed that eight other potential suspects in the bombing were identified at the time but they were never interviewed.
Stuart Henderson, a former detective chief superintendent with Lothian and Borders Police, led the Lockerbie Incident Control Centre from 1988 until 1992. He told The Scotsman newspaper: “We submitted eight other names of people that we wished to interview that were strong suspects. Unfortunately, we never got that opportunity. I am delighted they are making moves to see if there is anything further, because no matter what anybody says, we did not ever say it was just Megrahi we were after. We never said that. We were after his bosses.”
It is thought that the “high level” suspects were all male and have never been ruled out of the investigation into the explosion onboard Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 on December 21, 1988.
News of the new suspects comes as relatives of those who died in the disaster said they feared the police investigation was being stepped up in an attempt to scupper demands for a full public inquiry.
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Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the bombing, said: “The argument which has been consistently used against us having the public inquiry we want is that there is an ongoing criminal investigation. I find it an extraordinary coincidence that the latest development in the police case emerged on the same day the families demanded a proper investigation from Gordon Brown.”
Fears that the police investigation was being used as a delaying tactic were last night dismissed by a leading Scottish QC. Paul McBride said: “What would they rather have, a public inquiry or three other people involved in the bombing of their children convicted and put in jail? A public inquiry would be completely inappropriate and could jeopardise a trial.”
The Crown Office confirmed yesterday that the fresh lines of inquiry would not review evidence used to convict Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi but would concentrate on the involvement of others.
Detective Chief Inspector Michael Dalgleish, who was part of the original team that brought the case against al-Megrahi, is heading the Lockerbie investigation. Al-Megrahi dropped his appeal against conviction shortly before being released from prison on compassionate grounds. Doctors agreed that he probably had less than three months to live. Some British families feared that this would mean that some questions about the bombing would remain unanswered.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said it would be a matter for the Scottish authorities if they wanted to hold a public inquiry.