[What follows is excerpted from an article published in 2007 by Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer:]
The Discovery of the MST-13 Timer Fragment
In the months following the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, someone discovered a piece of a gray Slalom-brand shirt in a wooded area about 25 miles away from the town. According to a forensics expert, the cloth contained a tiny fragment -- 4 millimeters square -- of a circuit board. The testimony of three expert witnesses allowed the prosecutors to link this circuit board, described as part of the bomb trigger, to Megrahi.
There have been different accounts concerning the discovery of the timer fragment. A police source close to the investigation reported that it had been discovered by lovers. Some have said that it was picked up by a man walking his dog. Others have claimed that it was found by a policeman "combing the ground on his hands and knees."
At the trial, the third explanation became official. "On 13 January 1989, DC Gilchrist and DC McColm were engaged together in line searches in an area near Newcastleton. A piece of charred material was found by them, which was given the police number PI/995 and which subsequently became label 168."
The Alteration of the Label
The officer had initially labeled the bag "cloth (charred)" but had later overwritten the word "cloth" with "debris."
The bag contained pieces of a shirt collar and fragments of materials said to have been extracted from it, including the tiny piece of circuit board identified as coming from an MST-13 timer made by the Swiss firm MeBo.
"The original inscription on the label, which we are satisfied, was written by DC Gilchrist, was 'cloth (charred).' The word 'cloth' has been overwritten by the word 'debris.' There was no satisfactory explanation as to why this was done."
The judges said in their judgment that Gilchrist's evidence had been "at worst evasive and at best confusing."
Yet the judges went on to admit the evidence. "We are, however, satisfied that this item was indeed found in the area described, and DC McColm, who corroborated DC Gilchrist on the finding of the item, was not cross-examined about the detail of the finding of this item."