After several years of painstaking investigation one man, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was convicted of the bombing on 31 January 2001, even though there were serious doubts, which remain today, that he was guilty. Although he died in May 2012 campaigners for justice continue to press for the case to be examined.
Last month efforts to secure a third appeal against his conviction received a setback when the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission refused to proceed unless his family, virtually incommunicado inside war-torn Libya, provided them with a specific document which doesn’t actually exist under Sharia law.
Quite separately, however, a major police investigation is underway into formal allegations of wrongdoing against individuals involved in both the original investigation and the later court proceedings.
A third strand is public petition PE1370 calling for an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie affair, laid before the Scottish parliament in October 2010.
Last October the disaster was again in the headlines when the Lord Advocate revealed he was on the trail of two of Megrahi’s alleged accomplices.
Pan Am flight 103 left Heathrow airport on December 21 just after 6pm, heading for New York. At 7.03pm Alan Topp, an air traffic controller at Prestwick, saw a blip of green light on his radar screen fragment into three, then into nine, then into many.
Moments later an all-enveloping roar engulfed the small town of Lockerbie below as death and destruction rained from the skies.
A terrorist attack was immediately suspected, and senior police officers insisted the crash site be treated as a crime scene. Detectives reviewing the case in 2015 have remarked that even today it’s unlikely the evidence-gathering could be handled any better, and it’s hard to argue with that. Meticulous records of where every item was recovered yielded a detailed picture of how the plane broke up and what caused it.