Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Questions in House of Commons about Dr Fieldhouse

[What follows is an exchange that took place in the House of Commons on this date in 1995:]

Mr [Tam] Dalyell:  To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland who (a) required the bodies found and pronounced life extinct by Dr David Fieldhouse, Bradford police surgeon, to be re-examined for signs of life in the presence of witnesses at a later stage, as described on page 36 of the determination by Sheriff Principal John Mowat QC in respect of Lockerbie and (b) ordered that two days, or a substantial part thereof, should be allowed to lapse between Dr Fieldhouse's confirmation of life extinct and the subsequent confirmation and certifications; and for what reasons many bodies were left out in the fields for that period of time.
The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr Ian Lang):  In the immediate aftermath of the Lockerbie disaster Dr. Fieldhouse found and pronounced life extinct in 58 bodies. Sheriff Principal John Mowat QC concluded in his determination on the proceedings at the fatal accident inquiry that Dr Fieldhouse verbally related information concerning his activities to a senior police officer at 7 pm on 22 December 1988. Although this information was also relayed in a letter from Dr Fieldhouse to the police dated 23 December 1988, the letter was not received at Lockerbie until 27 December 1988. The sheriff principal concluded that the verbal information given by Dr Fieldhouse had, as a result of the circumstances obtaining at that time, been understandably overlooked. In the intervening period arrangements had been made to recover the bodies of the victims by a systematic and meticulous search and recovery operation and all the 58 bodies dealt with by Dr Fieldhouse were recovered before his letter arrived. The process of search and recovery, unfortunately and inevitably, took some time.
Mr Dalyell:  Was any dead body taken from the scene, thereby avoiding its inclusion in the official list of those who died?
Mr Lang:  No.
[RB: More about the Dr David Fieldhouse story can be read here: A good man, a smear, and the Crown Office.]

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