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Councillor Marjory McQueen
"We will always be there for victims' relatives"
 real 56k

The BBC's Robert Hall
"Today's news from camp Zeist has again focused world attention on this quiet market town"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 14:49 GMT
Disaster town 'moves on'
Lockerbie plaque
Townsfolk say they will remember the victims
The people of Lockerbie say they have drawn a line under the tragedy which devastated their town, but they have pledged never to forget the victims.

At a news conference in Lockerbie on Wednesday - the day three Scottish judges convicted one of the Libyan accused and acquitted the other - politicians and members of the community spoke.

One word dominated comments from the eight-strong line-up - that of "closure".

Memorial garden
Fresh flowers were laid at the Lockerbie memorial garden
It is a term Americans are comfortable using and was adopted by councillors, officials and community representatives to describe the culmination of the eight-month-long trial.

Councillor Marjory McQueen said: "I think the town of Lockerbie has drawn a line under what has happened.

"The tragedy was some years ago and there has not been the depth of anticipation of the verdict which many in the media had expected.

'Ordinary town'

"Our thoughts continue to be with the relatives, they are our mainstay here.

"We are looking after the relatives, but the physical scars have healed, we are an ordinary market town, as we were 12 years ago.

Victims from Lockerbie
Joanne Flannigan (10) 16 Sherwood Crescent
Kathleen Mary Doolan or Flannigan (41) 16 Sherwood Crescent
Thomas Brown Flannigan (44) 16 Sherwood Crescent
Dora Henrietta Moffat or Henry (56) 13 Sherwood Crescent
Maurice Peter Henry (63) 13 Sherwood Crescent
Mary Browell or Lancaster 11 Sherwood Crescent
Jean Aitken Murray 14 Sherwood Crescent
John Somerville 15 Sherwood Crescent
Lynsey Anne Somerville (10) 15 Sherwood Crescent
Paul Somerville (13) 15 Sherwood Crescent
Rosaleen Leiter Hanney or Somerville (40) 15 Sherwood Crescent
"There is relief that the trial is over and the verdict has been given, I will be even more relieved when today is over and we can get on with our lives.

"Thankfully, for some of the relatives this will be closure and the final chapter."

As news of the outcome filtered through, it was very much business as usual for the small Scottish town where the bombed plane fell, killing all 259 on board and 11 on the ground.

There has been little public interest in the day-to-day legal wrangling at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands where two Libyans were accused of the atrocity.

During one of the most costly trials in Scottish legal history, few had travelled to Dumfries where a live television link-up had been established with the hearing in Holland.

At the Lockerbie news conference following the verdict, it was revealed by Councillor McQueen that just one direct relative of a victim now resides in the town itself.

Marjory McQueen
Marjory McQueen: "Moving on"
Despite that fact, councillor Joe Meechan made it clear that the community's "hearts and minds" had been with those bereaved in the tragedy.

But he said it was now time to move on from the events of 12 years ago.

He added: "We feel the verdict is a step on the road to the community putting this behind us. It is the end of a chapter, but not the end of the story."

The convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Andrew Campbell, said a great friendship between the people of Lockerbie and the victims' relatives had been borne out of a disaster.

'Search for answers'

He added: "The outcome of the trial does answer certain questions. To some it will bring closure, to others the search for answers will go on."

Local councillor Lavinia Vaughan said the 3,500-strong inhabitants of Lockerbie would always be around for the bereaved.

But she added that the town had "started to heal the scars" and people were getting on with their lives.

memorial garden
One woman pays quiet respects at the memorial garden
Dumfries and Galloway Council chief executive Philip Jones echoed those sentiments saying "victims would never be forgotten" but the trial outcome represented a "degree of closure".

Since the atrocity, the Tundergarth Kirk, the tiny Church of Scotland church near the town has become a place of pilgrimage for many relatives of the victims.

At Lockerbie's cemetery, which houses the formal memorial, there were fresh wreaths and tributes.

Reaction has come from all quarters - including the police officers who were on duty on the fateful night.

Retired police superintendent John Carpenter said he was "absolutely delighted" on hearing the verdict.

Mr Carpenter, 56, from Lockerbie, said: "I appreciate that only one man was found guilty but this vindicates all the work and effort that went into the inquiry."

'Justice done'

He added that the town had essentially come to terms with what had happened, but the trial outcome had brought back the painful memories of more than a decade ago.

Maxwell Kerr, who witnessed the disaster, has welcomed the verdict but said it should not be the end of the investigation into the tragedy.

Mr Kerr, 64, from Lockerbie, said: "Justice has been done. There is no doubt about that.

"However, I believe that the convicted man is just a small cog in a big wheel and there should now be an inquiry to assess all the evidence that was not dealt with in court."

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See also:

31 Jan 01 | World
Lockerbie wait is nearly over
30 Jan 01 | Lockerbie Trial
Fight goes on, say families
30 Jan 01 | Middle East
Libya's fate hangs in the balance
19 Jan 01 | World
A truly exceptional trial
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