Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lockerbie faces Megrahi death

[This is the headline over a report in today’s edition of the Dumfries &  Galloway Standard, a newspaper circulating in the Lockerbie area.  It reads as follows:]

Tears won’t be shed in Lockerbie for convicted mass murderer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Local reaction to his death has been subdued with the regret that his passing will “change nothing.”

It leaves many questions unanswered and an ongoing investigation for Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary.

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell said: “Mr Meghrahi’s passing is the end of a chapter but not the end of a story that has unfolded since that terrible night in 1988. “It will not bring closure to all those bereaved or otherwise caught up in that tragic event and who want answers.”

Former Lockerbie councillor Marjory McQueen (pictured) became a public face for the town in the wake of the Lockerbie Disaster and in 2010 received an MBE for her work.

She said: “There will be no tears shed in Lockerbie but there won’t be dancing in the streets either.

“Lockerbie has moved on since the disaster. As far as the town is concerned we are a generation on from it and we are getting on with our lives.”

Marjory, whose husband, Ken, was a GP in Lockerbie at the time of the disaster, said: “It has been noted that he has died. We were expecting that. It does not alter anything for the victims and their families and for Lockerbie. Nothing will change with his death – 270 innocent people have still lost their lives.

“We have a humanitarian role in Lockerbie to look after the memorials and the visitor centre so that we are welcoming to the loved ones who want to come.”

Annandale North councillor Ted Brown said: “The members of our close community will differ in the way that we respond to this news.
“Those who felt that he was guilty may obtain some closure now that he has died.

“Those who were not convinced of his guilt may feel that his passing means that we may never know the full truth of who was involved in the 1988 bombing.”

A local councillor at the time of the disaster, former teacher David Wilson said: “I don’t think there will be a tear shed or a celebration.

“So many of us lost friends and even neighbours that day and remembering those who died is the most important thing.
“His death might draw a line under some things but it won’t provide anyone with any closure.”

[A further report in the same newspaper reads in part:]

The family of Scotland’s worst ever mass murderer could seek an appeal in a bid to clear his name. (…)

His death has led to fresh calls for answers into the Lockerbie Disaster and comes as the Scottish Government is funding the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary’s investigation team to seek the truth in Libya after the death of Colonel Gaddafi.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who publicly opposed Megrahi’s release, has rejected calls for further review into his conviction.

However, First Minister Alex Salmond said on Monday there is nothing to stop Megrahi’s family from seeking a fresh appeal.

He said: “It is open for relatives of Mr Megrahi to apply to the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission to seek a further appeal. And the best, indeed the only, place for guilt or innocence to be determined is in a court of law.”

Mr Salmond added: “His death does, however, put to rest some of the conspiracy theories which have attempted to suggest that his illness was somehow manufactured.

“Mr Megrahi’s death ends one chapter of the Lockerbie case, but it does not close the book.

“The Lockerbie case remains a live investigation, and Scotland’s criminal justice authorities have made clear that they will rigorously pursue any new lines of inquiry. Scotland’s senior law officer the Lord Advocate recently visited Libya, and we have been offered the co-operation of the new Libyan authorities. It has always been the Crown’s position that Mr Megrahi did not act alone but with others.”

His thoughts were echoed by Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown [Labour], who said: “There are still so many unanswered questions about the bombing of Pan Am 103. Megrahi’s death means that the possibility of getting all the truth about the disaster may have died with him.”

Elaine Murray MSP [Labour] said: “The Scottish Government still need to come clean about the medical evidence that led to the three month prognosis being made, but today our thoughts are with those who lost their lives.”

Jim Hume, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP, said: “It should act as spur to establish the facts.”

And Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell [Conservative] said: “There are so many unanswered questions surrounding this tragedy and it is crucial that we continue to seek vital answers.”

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