Lockerbie bombing victims remembered on 20th anniversary

December 21st, 2008 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 21 (IANS) Memorial services and stoked memories in Britain Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, when the Pan Am Flight 103 from Heathrow to New York exploded in the skies above the Scottish town on this date in 1988.All 259 people on board were killed and a further 11 died in Lockerbie where the plane crashed.

Services were held in two churches in Lockerbie and a commemorative wreath was laid at the Dryfesdale cemetery garden of remembrance. There was also a private memorial at Heathrow Airport chapel led by Rev. John Mosey, whose daughter Helga died in the disaster.

The Times spoke to the wife of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi - the Lockerbie bomber who is serving a life sentence - who maintained he was innocent and said that he became a sacrificial lamb for the whole of Libya when he agreed to be tried for a crime that he says he did not commit.

Aisha said al-Megrahi surrendered his freedom so that his country, accused of the bombing, could free itself from United Nations sanctions and improve its global image.

But the cynosure of all eyes on Sunday was 11-year-old boy Luke Nesfield. He is the last descendent of a prosperous Lockerbie family devastated by the bombing.

Luke’s grandfather Tom Flannigan, then 44, his wife Kathleen and daughter Joanne, died when the fuselage of the Pan Am aircraft slammed into their home.

Luke’s father Steven, then 14, survived as he was in a neighbour’s garage building a cycle as a Christmas present for Joanne. Steven’s elder brother David survived too, as he was not in the house at that time.

Steven and David got a 2 million-pound compensation from Pan Am.

David drank himself to death with his share, dying of a heart attack in Thailand in 1993, consumed by rage and guilt at the destruction of his family.

Steven inherited his brother’s remaining wealth and became a dad when partner Lisa Gregory gave birth to Luke in August 1997, nine years after the atrocity.

Steven died after being hit by a train in 2000, leaving Luke the heir to the money. As the only direct descendant of the Flannigan family, Luke became entitled to £6million in blood money from the Libyan government paid as compensation to all the victims. By the time he accesses it in 2018, it will be worth more than £18million.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail, Luke said: “I’ve no idea what I’ll buy with the money. I don’t really think about it that much. Maybe a Gibson Les Paul guitar. It’s not that great that when I’m older I’ll get all the money, because I would rather have my dad than all the money.”

He has only the faintest memories of his father, who died days after his third birthday. “The nice thing is that next August he’ll go to Lockerbie Academy, the same school his father attended,” Luke’s mother Lisa said.

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