Lockerbie is a town located in the Dumfries and Galloway region in the south-western area of Scotland. Many people were unaware of its existence. However, it instantly acquired international attention in December of 1988, when a terrorist bomb attack took place in the Pan Am Flight 103, which resulted in the wreckage of the plane crashing into the town.
The Lockerbie Bombing
Lockerbie is now known internationally as the crash site of the Pan Am Flight 103 wreckage that took place on the 21st of December, 1988. In the United Kingdom, this event has been called many different names, including Lockerbie, the Lockerbie disaster, and the Lockerbie bombing. 11 of the town’s residents were killed in the site where the wings and the fuel tanks of the plane plummeted and exploded, the site being known as Sherwood Crescent. In addition to the 11 who were killed, there were 259 other victims, all of whom were on passengers on the plane.
The Lockerbie Bombing – The Largest Criminal Inquiry in UK
The Lockerbie bombing was described by the Lord Advocate of Scotland as the largest criminal inquiry in the United Kingdom. After three years of joint investigations done by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, indictments for the murders were issued on the 13th of November, 1991.
The accused were Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was the head of the security department of the Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA) and was also a Libyan intelligence officer. Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, on the other hand, was the station manager in the LAA’s Luqah Airport, Malta at the time.
Both of the accused did not provide evidence in court. However, on the 31st of January 2001, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of murder by a panel comprised of three Scottish judges. The sentence that was given to him was life imprisonment. Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, on the other hand, was acquitted of all charges.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi served only a little over than 8 and a half years of his sentence in the Greenock Prison. Throughout his time in prison, he maintained that he did not do any of the crimes he was charged with and that he was completely innocent. On the 20th of August 2009, he was released from the Greenock Prison on compassionate grounds.