Police ready to probe new lines of inquiry into Lockerbie bombing

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Police and prosecutors are poised to investigate any new lines of inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing that may emerge following Gaddafi’s death, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said.

Only one man has been convicted of the atrocity which killed 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town four days before Christmas in 1988.

But it has always been accepted that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was freed on compassionate grounds in 2009 because he was said to have only months to live with prostate cancer, did not act alone.

Last month officials from Libya’s National Transitional Council told the UK Government they would co-operate with Scottish prosecutors and police investigating the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

And al-Megrahi, who was an intelligence agent during Gaddafi’s rule, said “new facts” about the bombing would be announced in the coming months.

Mr Salmond said Gaddafi was a “brutal dictator” who had met “his just deserts”.

He added: “The Crown Office have always said that the Lockerbie atrocity remains an open case, The only person convicted, al-Megrahi, acted in his capacity as a Libyan intelligence agent.

“He was found guilty of an act of state-sponsored terrorism and did not act alone. Therefore our police and prosecution authorities stand ready to investigate and follow any new lines of inquiry that may be emerging in Libya at the present moment, just as Scotland’s justice system has dealt with all aspects of the Lockerbie atrocity over the last 23 years according to the precepts of Scots law and no other factor.”

But a family member of one of the victims of the atrocity said “standing ready” was not enough.

Pamela Dix, who lost her 35-year-old brother Peter, said: “It must be a very chaotic time in Libya at the moment and of course this (the Lockerbie bombing) is not going to be a high priority for the authorities there just now.

“But when it has settled down I do not want the Scottish Government just to stand ready. I want them to be pro-active and not just wait to see what emerges.”

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing, believes al-Megrahi is innocent and said Gaddafi’s death meant an “opportunity has been lost” to find out the truth.