Lockerbie victims' families welcome Gaddafi's death

BOMBING: 270 people died when PanAm flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
BOMBING: 270 people died when PanAm flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

Families of victims killed in the Libyan bombing of a PanAm jet over Scotland in 1988 say justice has been served with the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday, but they also hoped it would reveal others behind the attack.

"I hope he's in hell with Hitler," said Kathy Tedeschi, whose first husband, Bill Daniels, was among the 270 people killed in the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. "I just can't stop crying, I am so thrilled."

"I am sure (Gaddafi) was the one who pushed to have this done, the bombing," said Tedeschi, 62, whose three children were aged 10, 7 and 2 when their father was killed.

Gaddafi's death sparked wild celebrations in Libya that eight months of war may finally be over. His killing was announced by several officials of the National Transitional Council and backed up by a photograph of his bloodied body.

Bob Monetti, whose son Richard, 20, was killed in the Lockerbie bombing said: "The world is a much better place without Gaddafi and Libya is certainly much better off."

"I hope we can get some more information and get on with our lives," he said. "I am way past vengeance."

The PanAm airliner exploded as it flew to New York from London on December 21, 1988. All 259 people aboard the aircraft were killed and 11 others on the ground in Lockerbie also died from falling wreckage.

'GADDAFI HIMSELF ORDERED THIS'

Libyan agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was convicted in bombing of the airliner in January 2001 by a three-judge Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. The court acquitted his co-defendant, Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said that al-Megrahi did not act alone.

"Our police and prosecution authorities stand ready to investigate and follow any new lines of inquiry that may be emerging in Libya at the present moment," Salmond said.

Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of PanAm 103 group, said now that Gaddafi was dead he hoped that more evidence would turn up to prove the involvement of other people.

"But it was clear that Gaddafi himself ordered this," he said.

Al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison but released by Scottish authorities on health grounds in August 2009, a decision that infuriated members of the victims' group.

"Sure the guy is supposedly dying, but he also knows who else is behind it and he should be in prison and that's where he should die," said Brian Flynn, vice president of the Victims of PanAm 103 group.

"There were other people behind the bombing, it wasn't just al-Megrahi and it wasn't just Gaddafi," said Flynn, whose brother J P Flynn was killed in the bombing.

But he said the families of the victims could feel a sense of accomplishment with the death of Gaddafi.

"We have been saying for more than 20 years ... that (Gaddafi) would continue to haunt the world until he was brought to justice," said Flynn. "We can take a certain sense of accomplishment that we were able to honour our loved ones and not give up." 

Reuters