[This is the headline over a letter from Fred McManus in today's edition of The Herald. It reads in part:]
I was a police inspector serving in Strathclyde Police B Division when the Lockerbie mass murder occurred. Strathclyde mobilised huge resources to support Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary in the management and investigation of this outrage.
Officers were sent from each territorial division of the force, but inspectors initially went only from alternate divisions – A, C, E, G and so forth – and so I thought that I would play no part in the massive operation. I was wrong.
Several weeks into the inquiry, it was decided that the bodies of each of the victims, including their individual limbs, should undergo X-ray examination. Two teams of police officers were established to facilitate this. I was in charge of the night shift team, working from 6pm-6am, and spent three nights in the Lockerbie temporary mortuary opening the caskets, removing the bodies and washing them before each was taken for X-ray examination, after which they were replaced in their caskets with all due dignity and respect.
My team of experienced officers were initially visibly distraught but got on with the job, as good police officers do. I was particularly impressed by the courage and stoicism of the radiographers, some of whom were young girls who looked about 19, in carrying out their duties.
Out of respect to all concerned I will not go into detail, but I will say that the experience left me with the passionate view, as strong today as it was almost 23 years ago, that those responsible had forfeited the right to be considered human and to be treated accordingly. I regard myself as a decent, compassionate man, but to this day I firmly believe that whoever perpetrated this atrocious mass murder, made even more disgusting by the cowardly means of its slaughter, should be afforded no compassion whatsoever, Christian or otherwise.
At this moment in time, as upon his release, the one person who stands convicted, proven beyond reasonable doubt in a Scottish High Court, as guilty of this inhuman act is Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi. Perhaps, and I emphasise perhaps, as some of your readers clearly believe, there is a prima facie case that he was not responsible. It also appears self-evident that he did not act alone. But until the due process of law shows otherwise, he is guilty of this most heinous and horrible mass murder. Having seen at first hand, and in graphic detail, the effects of Megrahi’s wicked criminality, I share the Americans’ outrage that he should have been released for any reason other than vindication under that due process.