[This is the headline over a report published in today’s edition of the Sunday Mail. It reads as follows:]
Lawyers for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi had wanted to the new technology to be used but the work was cancelled when he was released from prison.
Advanced forensic technology could reveal the fingerprints of the Lockerbie bomber.
Lawyers for convicted bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who died in May, had wanted to use the new technique to show their client was innocent.
Cartridge Electrostatic Recovery and Analysis can find fingerprints on metal and a source close to the Libyan’s defence team said parts of the suitcase that contained the bomb and an umbrella could have yielded vital clues.
The source said: “They wanted to see if the bomber’s prints were on there.”
Dr John Bond, who developed the technique, said he was asked to examine evidence but the work was cancelled when Megrahi dropped his appeal and was released from jail.
[I am grateful to journalist Bob Smyth for drawing my attention to the following article in today’s edition of The Sunday Post:]
Advanced fingerprint technology could reveal the prints of the Lockerbie bomber.
It has emerged that the defence team of the Libyan convicted of the downing of Pan-Am Flight 103 wanted to test key items for fingerprints in a bid to show their client was innocent.
They were planning to use a breakthrough technique that finds fingerprints on metal rather than the usual surfaces such as glass or walls.
However, the plan collapsed when Megrahi dropped his appeal and was then allowed out of jail on compassionate grounds because he was dying of cancer.
Last night a source close to the Libyan’s defence team said parts of the suitcase that contained the bomb and bits of an umbrella that was among clothing in the case could have yielded vital prints.
The insider said: “The defence hoped to get a few items tested using advanced fingerprinting techniques, such as the suitcase lock and bits of the umbrella handle.
“They wanted to see if the bomber’s prints were on there, whoever he may be.
“But by the time Megrahi abandoned the appeal it hadn’t happened.”
The Lockerbie link to the advanced fingerprint machine emerged last week. It was revealed the pioneering forensics machine which was developed by a UK police force to uncover hidden fingerprints on metal has sold for the first time abroad – earning thousands of pounds.
Northamptonshire Police Authority has confirmed it made “several thousand pounds” in royalties from the sale of a Cartridge Electrostatic Recovery and Analysis (CERA) unit in the US recently.
The machine was created by Dr John Bond, the former scientific support manager at the force, and patented by Northamptonshire Police Authority, which granted a licence to manufacture and sell it worldwide.
It uses the technique, pioneered by Dr Bond, of fingerprint visualisation on metal – allowing previously undiscovered fingerprints, especially on gun shell casings, to be revealed.
CERA was created in 2008 and Dr Bond has now revealed he was later called by the defence team of the Lockerbie bomber to examine pieces of evidence in relation to the case. But, he said, the work was cancelled when Megrahi was freed.
He explained: “When there was talk of being an appeal we were asked to examine the evidence and there was one piece of evidence that looked promising – but then the Scottish Government went and released him.”
[The story featured on this blog on 31 October 2012.]