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Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
'Malta link' in Lockerbie chain
Camp Zeist
Clothing fragments were shown on monitors
The Lockerbie trial has heard that fragments of a baby romper suit recovered from the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 were traced back to a clothes shop in Malta.

The blue Babygro was said to have been in the suitcase carrying the bomb which blew the plane apart above Lockerbie.

All the items were bought by a Libyan man who went into Tony Gauci's outfitters in the Maltese town of Sliema just days earlier, the trial judges heard.

Mr Gauci picked out one of the accused - Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi - as being someone who "resembled" the man who visited his shop, although he could not positively identify him.

The prosecution says the two Libyan suspects went to the shop in Sliema on 7 December, 1988, and bought clothes and an umbrella.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44
Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December, 1998, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the ground
The two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act
The trial, in Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands, is expected to last a year
About 1,000 witnesses are expected to be called
The case is being heard by three Scottish judges
The charred remains of the items were later recovered from the bomb debris in and around Lockerbie.

Mr Gauci told the Scottish Court in the Netherlands that a Libyan man came into his shop - Mary's House, Tower Road, Sliema - about a fortnight before Christmas 1988.

The man looked around and when Mr Gauci invited him to try on some trousers he said they were for someone else.

The man then bought two pairs of trousers, two shirts, two cardigans, two pairs of pyjamas, a blue romper suit and, because it was raining slightly at the time, an umbrella.

"He left the shop to go to the taxi rank to get a taxi. He came back in the taxi to collect the clothing, which I took out to the taxi," said Mr Gauci.

Clothing labels

It was not until September 1989 that Scottish and Maltese police officers went to the shop to confirm that the fragments of clothing linked to the suitcase holding the radio-cassette bomb had been purchased at Mary's House.

The court was shown pictures of the charred clothing, showing tell-tale manufacturing batch numbers and makers' labels.

A fragment of the sky-blue romper suit was displayed on courtroom monitors, burned and blackened apart from a bright red warning label "Keep Away From Fire".

The trial has resumed after a week-long break requested by prosecutors at the end of last month to allow them to examine last-minute defence witness statements.

The trial is now moving into a second stage of evidence, after spending the last two months examining detailed forensic testimony and items collected from crash site debris.

'Reasonable doubt'

The prosecution aims to prove that the two suspects worked for Libya's secret service and that, posing as Libyan Arab Airlines employees, they placed a suitcase containing a bomb concealed in a radio-recorder on board a plane in Malta.

The suitcase was then allegedly transferred from Frankfurt to London and onto the doomed New York-bound jet in London.

The defence is seeking to raise "reasonable doubt" in the minds of the three Scottish judges to secure a not guilty or not proven verdict, the latter being unique to Scottish law.

The Libyans' legal representatives are trying to incriminate Palestinian extremists operating in Frankfurt.

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | World
Libyans' passports examined
28 Jun 00 | World
Bomb timer maker faces court
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