A FORMER Bromsgrove doctor, whose daughter died in the Lockerbie bombing, said he was sad to learn of the death of his friend - the only man ever convicted of the atrocity.
Dr Jim Swire, formerly of Pikes Pool Lane and whose 23-year-old daughter Flora was among the 270 victims killed in the 1988 bombing, has always campaigned for justice for Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.
Dr Swire said after he heard the evidence he worked out in the middle of his trial, which he attended, that al-Megrahi was innocent.
The former doctor, who now lives in the Cotswolds, has always maintained evidence that could have helped clear the Libyan, including a possible break-in at Heathrow the night before the bombing, has been suppressed.
After his conviction al-Megrahi, known as the Lockerbie bomber, spent eight years in a Scottish jail. He was released on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Government in 2009, after being diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.
News of al-Megrahi’s death emerged on Sunday, (May 20), and he was buried in a private ceremony in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Monday.
There has been a mixed reaction from families of those who died in the atrocity, some welcoming his death while others support the view he was innocent.
Dr Swire said: “I counted al-Megrahi as a friend - it’s sad news.
“I last saw him at his home in Tripoli, in December, and we said our goodbyes.
“Even then he was thinking about how it would be possible for relatives like me, looking for the truth, to get documents from his defence.”
Dr Swire, who was the spokesman for the UK Families Flight 103 Group that represented the families, says al-Megrahi’s 2001 conviction came after a showtrial, and the focus on him became a distraction from finding the real perpetrators.
The former partner at Churchfields Surgery says the campaign to get his conviction reviewed, and for an inquiry to be held into the bombing, will continue despite al-Megrahi’s death.
“We (the relatives) have a right to know who killed our families,” Dr Swire said.
“It would be a terrible indictment of our society if al-Megrahi’s verdict is never reviewed - because I believe it would be overturned.”