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Thursday, 14 March, 2002, 12:49 GMT
Town breathes sigh of relief
The aftermath of the disaster in Lockerbie
Parts of Lockerbie were devastated
Lockerbie breathed a "collective sigh of relief" as the Libyan man found guilty of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 above the town was told that his appeal had failed.

Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi will be brought to Scotland to serve the remainder of his 20-year life sentence following the decision by five Scottish judges.

Eleven local people were among the 270 people who died after the Pan Am Flight 103 exploded above the Scottish town in December 1988.

There are many people who are already 13 years into their own life sentences

Cllr Marjory McQueen
Local councillor Marjory McQueen said: "I think that everyone will have breathed a collective sigh of relief at the decision of the appeal judges.

"I am sure for some of the families of the victims, it will mean closure at last.

"As Mr Megrahi goes on to continue his life sentence, we remember the relatives of those who died here.

"There are many people who are already 13 years into their own life sentences."

She voiced the hope that those touched by the tragedy would now be able to "draw a line in the sand".

Final chapter

"As a town and as a community, Lockerbie wishes them all well," she said.

Thirty-five of those who died were students at America's Syracuse University.

On the day that the appeal judgement was announced at the special Scottish Court in the Netherlands, 15 photography and media students from the university were in Lockerbie to make a book about the disaster.

Al-Megrahi failed in his appeal
Among them was photography student Alicia Hansen, 27, who thought the judgement could represent the closure of the final chapter for the victims' families.

She said: "Our university has close ties with the families of those who died. I don't see much more happening now.

"We never thought we'd be here in Scotland on the day the appeal decision was heard."

Lockerbie Academy head teacher Graham Herbert said his school's close ties with Syracuse University were one of the positive things which had come out of the disaster.

"We remember the Lockerbie disaster when it is appropriate to remember, before Christmas and at other times, but today is a perfectly normal day in the life of the school," he said.

Great relief

Meanwhile, the area's MP has called for a full public inquiry into the bombing.

Russell Brown said the judges' ruling would come as a great relief.

But he believed that the convicted man did not act alone and said it had to be recognised that governments were often behind such actions.

The Labour MP said he would be contacting Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to discuss the need for all the evidence to be produced at a public inquiry.

Lockerbie megapuff graphic


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See also:

14 Mar 02 | Europe
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14 Mar 02 | World
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13 Mar 02 | Lockerbie appeal
Lockerbie bill reaches £75m
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