[This is the heading over an item dated 14 May 1998 on The Pan Am 103 Crash Website. The subheading reads “Ian Black on a mother's search for truth behind PanAm tragedy” which is a strong indication that the article was published in The Guardian, though I can find no trace of it on the newspaper’s website. It reads as follows:]
The mother of a British victim of the Lockerbie disaster is going to the High Court after failing to force an inquest to reveal more about the case.
Nearly 10 years after PanAm flight 103 exploded, killing 270 people, Elizabeth Wright, a London psychiatrist, is seeking judicial review of the decision of a Sussex coroner that he could not conduct an inquest on her son Andrew.
Andrew Gillies-Wright, then 24, was flying to New York for Christmas when he died on December 21, 1988. He was cremated and his ashes interred in South Lancing, West Sussex. Dr Wright, like other Lockerbie relatives seeking movement after years of impasse, agreed to act as a test case, but was told "the lawfully cremated remains of a person (that is that person's ashes) do not constitute 'a body' for the purpose of... jurisdiction."
The British families want an inquest to raise questions which were not answered in the Scottish fatal accident inquiry in Dumfries.Those include events on the ground after the incident, whether intelligence agencies had warned of an attack, and how it was that initial suspicions that Iran, Syria or Palestinians were responsible gave way to charges against Libya.
Gareth Peirce, Dr Wright's solicitor, said: "There is potentially clear and compelling evidence setting out a scenario so different from the one that has been officially presented that it's a continuing national and international disgrace that it remains hidden, and that it falls to the families of the victims to unravel it."
Behind the legal arguments being prepared by Ms Peirce and Michael Mansfield, QC, lies the pain of bereaved families whose hope of seeing justice is diminishing almost a decade after the crime. "It shows what sort of position we find ourselves in when we have to discuss whether a cremated human being is a body," said Pam Dix, spokesperson for UK Families Flight 103.
She added: "We were not satisfied with the fatal accident inquiry, and we see the inquest as one way to further our quest to find out exactly what happened... We want information, not blame.
"We know intelligence won't be openly discussed in any court, but we would like to see how far we could go in getting these matters aired."
Jim Swire, whose daughter, Flora, died in the bombing, returned from Libya last month with "strong assurances" that the suspects would be handed over for trial in a neutral country. He accused the Government of "following slavishly in America's slipstream", despite the comment by Nelson Mandela that no nation should be "complainant, prosecutor and judge".
Roger Stone, the West Sussex coroner, wrote after refusing an inquest on Mr Gillies-Wright: "I hope, given time, that Dr Wright and other members of the family will find it possible to come to terms with their son's tragic death and take comfort from the loving memories they no doubt hold of him."
[RB: If a judicial review was in fact applied for (on which I can find no information) it clearly did not succeed.]