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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 12:31 GMT
'Break-in' before Lockerbie bombing
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow, where the defence say the bomb was loaded
A breach of security occurred at London's Heathrow Airport 18 hours before a bomb exploded on a Pan Am jumbo jet over Scotland, the Lockerbie appeal has heard.

Former security guard Ray Manly said in a sworn statement that he found a padlock on a baggage store cut.

The affadavit was submitted to the court by Bill Taylor QC, on behalf of Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, the Libyan man convicted exactly a year ago of murdering 270 people in the 1988 bombing.

Mr Taylor asked the five appeal judges to hear Mr Manly's evidence, which was not available to the original trial at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands.

The padlock was on the floor to the left of the doors and had been cut through in a way which suggested that bolt cutters had been used

Ray Manly
Ex-security guard

He said if it had been admitted, it would have been a "material consideration" for the court.

In a statement read to judges, Mr Manly said he discovered the break-in, at a padlocked rubber door known as CP2, at 0030 on 21 December.

He said: "The padlock was on the floor to the left of the doors and had been cut through in a way which suggested that bolt cutters had been used.

'Unsecured' bags

"In the area on the airside side of CP2, baggage containers for several aircraft were left.

"It was often the case that loose baggage would be left in that area. Such baggage would be tagged for loading into the flights.

"I am also able to say that in the check-in area, Pan Am baggage labels of various types were left unsecured at the check-in desk.

Baggage container
The rebuilt baggage container which held the bomb
"I believe it would be possible for an unauthorised person to obtain tags for a particular Pan Am flight and then, having broken the CP2 lock, to have introduced a tagged bag into the baggage build up area."

The prosecution case, which the three trial judges accepted, was that the bomb had been loaded onto a flight from Malta to Frankfurt, where it was transferred to a feeder flight for Pan Am 103.

Mr Taylor said records from Luqa airport in Malta showed no evidence that an unaccompanied bag had been placed on board.

'Reasonable doubt'

He said: "There was a substantial body of evidence and inference which suggested that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow.

"Had the court known that someone had taken the trouble to force a padlock on a door giving access to airside at Terminal 3, then they would have a material consideration for the court in determining whether the bomb was introduced at Heathrow.

Luqa Airport in Malta
Luqa Airport in Malta
"Such a doubt would have given rise to a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the appellant."

Mr Taylor also said the court had wrongly taken al-Megrahi's association with the head of a Swiss electronics firm as evidence of his guilt.

Edwin Bollier, who was a key witness at the trial, told the court his Zurich-based company, MEBO, manufactured timers which were used in bombs and had sold equipment to al-Megrahi.

He said he had witnessed the timers being used in bombs during tests at a special forces training area in Libya.

But Mr Taylor argued there was no evidence to show Mr Bollier ever sold such a timer to the Libyan.

Reevel Alderson reports
"How the bomb got on the doomed flight is the central issue for the appeal."
Lockerbie megapuff graphic


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