All six were recovered, and from the incoming passenger records, the evidence of how the container was packed and the pattern of damage to each case, their positions in the container can be identified. None of them was under the bomb. (Bedford’s second “extra” case was a documented passenger item, apparently repositioned in his absence.)
Three baggage handlers who saw the container before the Frankfurt luggage was added were asked to reconstruct the loading as they remembered it. All needed seven suitcases to make it look right, not six.
There was an extra, undocumented case in that container that afternoon, and it was the one lying to the front left, the one virtually bang on the position of the subsequent explosion, the one John Bedford described as a brown Samsonite hardshell.
Further evidence cements the conclusion that the bomb was in the suitcase on the bottom layer. Although “pitting and sooting” were absent from the container floor itself, they were present on the section of the airframe under the floor, demonstrating that it was not protected by another intervening suitcase.
Examination of the two suitcases behind the explosion, which were loaded upright, shows the most severe damage right down at floor level, not halfway up the sides.
The Lockerbie bombing was a crime that happened at Heathrow airport, at about 4.30pm – not on Malta at nine in the morning. At 4.30 pm on 21st December 1988 Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was verifiably in Tripoli. Where does that leave the Lockerbie investigation, in 2016?
There are two Police Scotland investigations currently open, one operating on the assumption that the bomb was somehow smuggled on to KM180 on Malta and attempting to identify Megrahi’s alleged “accomplices”, the other looking at matters from an entirely different perspective.
The search for a resolution continues.