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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Lockerbie bomb 'in suitcase'
Wreckage area
Tiny fragments from the plane were analysed
A forensic expert has told the Lockerbie trial that he located the plane's bomb inside a radio cassette recorder placed in a suitcase.

Alan Feraday said the explosion, which destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 and killed 270 people, exploded 25 inches inside the fuselage

He explained he had pinpointed the precise location of the blast after a detailed study of damage suffered by all 24 cases in the same hold as the bomb.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44
They deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act
The trial is expected to last a year
About 1,000 witnesses are expected to be called
The case is being heard by three Scottish judges
Mr Feraday said during the trial of the two accused Libyans that he found that at least 13 items of clothing and an umbrella were inside the Samsonite case at the time of detonation.

It was on the second layer of luggage, resting in the angled container overhang - roughly parallel to the fuselage - or leaning upright, propped against another luggage stack.

The 400 grams of "high performance" Semtex plastic explosive inside the Toshiba radio cassette recorder was attached to a long-delay electronic timer.

The timer was made by the MEBO company of Switzerland, Mr Feraday - former head of the forensics explosives laboratory at the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in Kent - told the trial at Camp Zeist in Holland.

I can't think of any other position. I am not saying there isn't any other position, I just can't find it myself."

Alan Feraday
Mr Feraday, now retired, said that such a long-delay timer would not require any other attachment in order to act as "a viable improvised explosive device capable of repeated flights before detonating at a pre-set time".

Asked by defence lawyer Richard Keen QC whether the bomb could have been in any other position than set out in his forensic conclusions, Mr Feraday replied: "I can't think of any other position.

"I am not saying there isn't any other position, I just can't find it myself."

Lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44, are challenging claims that they were responsible for placing the suitcase containing the bomb on board an Air Malta flight from Malta to Frankfurt on 21 December 1988.

Airport workers

Both men worked for Libyan Arab Airline at Malta's Luqa airport.

The prosecution alleges the bomb in the suitcase was transferred to Pan Am Flight 103 to Heathrow.

It was on the flight's next leg, from Heathrow to New York, that the device exploded at about 30,000ft, sending blazing wreckage raining down on Lockerbie, and killing all 259 people on the plane and 11 residents of the Scottish town.

Both men deny charges of murder, conspiracy and breaching an aviation security Act.

Mr Keen asked Mr Feraday if he was aware that the Lockerbie inquiry had centred for a time on a possible connection between the bomb and a Palestinian terror group.

'No influence'

At the start of the trial last month the court heard that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command quickly became the "focus of attention" for the inquiry team because of arrests of some of its members in Germany just two months before the Pan AM 103 explosion.

The forensics expert agreed today that there had been a strong belief that the PFLPGC was behind the bomb, but he added: "It played no part in my thoughts at all."

Mr Feraday acknowledged that early in the inquiry he had produced a report stating that the Lockerbie bomb had been contained inside a white Toshiba RT 8016 or 8026 radio-cassette player, and not, as he now testifies, inside a black Toshiba RT SF 16 model.

The hearing has been adjourned until Friday

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14 Jun 00 | World
Trial shown cassette 'bomb'
13 Jun 00 | World
Judges issue 'slow down' plea
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