Key Lockerbie Witness Dies

Key Lockerbie Witness DiesKey Lockerbie Witness Dies

A Maltese shopkeeper whose evidence helped convict Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi of the Lockerbie bombing has died.

Tony Gauci died in Malta of natural causes, a retired senior police officer involved in the case told BBC.

Gauci said he had sold Megrahi clothing found wrapped around the bomb that exploded, as flight Pan Am 103 flew over Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people.

Doubts have been raised about his reliability.

Convicted in 2001 before being flown to Scotland to serve his sentence, Megrahi maintained he was innocent until his death in 2012.

The Libyan lost one appeal against the conviction in 2002. Five years later, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled that there were six grounds for a second appeal.

The commission questioned the evidence regarding the date on which the prosecution said the clothes were bought from Gauci's shop.

It also said that evidence, which cast doubt on Gauci's identification of Megrahi, had not been made available to the defense, a breach of rules designed to ensure a fair trial.

In particular, it said there was evidence that four days before he identified Megrahi, Gauci had seen a photograph of him in a magazine article about the bombing.

There have also been questions raised about money reported to have been paid to Gauci in connection with his participation in the inquiry.

In November 2013, the Crown Office said: "No witness was offered any inducement by the crown or the Scottish police before and during the trial and there is no evidence that any other law-enforcement agency offered such an inducement."

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