Lockerbie bomber: Megrahi flew to Malta for sex with mistress

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi in 1992. Picture: AFP
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi in 1992. Picture: AFP
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THE Lockerbie bomber told investigators he travelled regularly from Libya to Malta to have sex with his mistress, without being required to carry his passport or identification papers.

The only man convicted over the deaths of 270 people after the explosion on Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 revealed he only needed his Libyan Arab Airlines uniform to fly as a “route checker” and used to visit a woman on the islands.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi made the admissions to Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) officials, who interviewed him in Greenock Prison.

The revelations are contained in the SCCRC’s 821-page report, which found six grounds for believing the conviction may have been a miscarriage of justice.

The 59-year-old reportedly told the SCCRC: “As a Libyan Arab Airlines employee and as someone well known, both at Tripoli airport and at the airport in Malta, I could get away with not using a passport or an identification card at all, but simply by wearing my Libyan Arab Airlines uniform.

“This may sound ridiculous, but it is true.

“If I wanted to do something clandestine in such a way that there would be absolutely no record at all of me going from Tripoli to Malta and back again – I could do it.”

He admitted he would visit his mistress for sex during the trips.

“He had had sexual relations with her on a number of occasions over several years, until 1989 or 1990,” the SCCRC report said.

Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has asked his Westminster counterpart Ken Clarke to lift data protection laws on a one-off basis so that the report can be released, and the Scottish Government now believes that it is “very likely” that this will happen.

David McLetchie, Scottish Conservative justice spokesman, said: “This raises further questions as to what other key facts Megrahi is holding back, such as the medical evidence which said he had three months to live when he was released by Kenny MacAskill.

“This constant drip-feed of information is merely a sideshow to the fact that Megrahi has now been at liberty for well over two years despite allegedly having less than a few months to live.

“With every day that passes, the SNP government looks more and more foolish and if Kenny MacAskill wants to prove that releasing Britain’s worst mass murderer was the right call, then he must make available all the medical evidence on which his decision was based.”

Megrahi’s admissions add to the controversy surrounding the case after John Ashton’s book Megrahi: You are my jury, claimed Mr MacAskill had said it would be “easier” to release the bomber on compassionate grounds if he dropped his appeal.

In a statement to Parliament last week, the justice secretary denied making the comments.

The book also revealed a key difference between a fragment of circuit board found after the explosion and 20 timers made by Swiss company Mebo for the Libyan intelligence services, which the bomber’s supporters argued “broke the chain between Megrahi and Lockerbie”.

They dismissed the suggestion that his ability to fly into Malta without requiring a passport made it more likely that he would have been able to plant the bomb on a plane that subsequently flew to Heathrow, before exploding over Lockerbie.

Mr Ashton said: “The SCCRC looked into this and decided there was nothing in it.

“If Megrahi had been the bomber he would have used this clandestine method on the dates in question.

“But on those dates he travelled on a passport and filled out embarkation cards.”

However, Susan Cohen, from New Jersey in the United States, whose daughter Theo, 20, died in the attack, said: “This makes Megrahi seem guilty.

“This explains how he got to Malta so easily. I’ve always said that the unanswered question is who else was involved in this.

“We want investigators to go to Libya to find out who else, besides Megrahi, was involved in this. Because we always believed the investigation was too narrow.”

A Crown Office spokesman added: “The criminal investigation relates to the involvement of others with Megrahi in the Lockerbie bombing.

“As the investigation remains live, it would not be appropriate to offer further comment.”

Megrahi first appealed against his conviction in January 2001. The appeal was unsuccessful.

In June 2007 the SCCRC gave Megrahi leave to mount a second appeal. This was abandoned in August 2009 as an ongoing appeal would have prevented him being moved to Libya under the Prisoner Transfer Scheme, which was being considered at the time.