Primary Evidence: Toshiba Owner's Manual

last update 23 October

Dedicated posts: 
Toshiba RT-SF 16 Radios and Libyan Guilt - why this is a clue at all
Timeline: Toshiba Radio Identification - Just try to make sense of this detailed chronology
Decky Horton and Her Find Details on that unusual evidence PK/689 (see below) and the possibility it is  other than what was  found after the crash.

Debris in Detail
Following are direct quotes, with minimal notes, from the trial transcripts. Testimony of Dr. Thomas Hayes and Mr. Allan Feraday, variously questioned by prosecution and defense. Primarily they are reading from their examination notes.

Overview of manual fragments from Feraday’s final report, read out:
"Many fragments originating from the owner's manual of a Toshiba RT-SF16 radio/cassette recorder have been recovered. These fragments, which are detailed below, are damaged consistent with their close involvement in a powerful explosion. They have been identified by a detailed comparison with the control sample of the owner's manual PT/1 (PR/111) which was removed from the box containing the sample Toshiba RT-SF16 radio/cassette recorder (PR/105). The original positions of the fragments upon each page clearly indicate that the manual was not folded at the moment of explosion, apart from at its original stapled centre fold." [transcripts, day 20, pp 3093-3094]

"These sheets appeared to have been violently impacted and disrupted and bore localised areas of blackening and scorching consistent with their close explosives involvement." [p 3098]
Control: PT/1 (PR/1111): Feraday's report, read out:
This consists of the owner's manual extracted from the Toshiba RT-SF16 radio/cassette recorder marked as item PR/105 (above). This manual, shown in photograph 236, was originally included with the radio inside its packing box and was extracted for investigational reasons and given the productions number PT/1."
[...] "The item was later renumbered by the Lockerbie police as Production No. PR/111."
[...] "The manual consists of a white paper booklet measuring 26 centimetres by 19 centimetres and incorporating three complete sheets of paper which are folded and stapled together in the centre to produce a booklet of twelve sides of paper. This booklet contains user instructions and diagrams in several different languages. The front cover of the booklet bears the title `Owner's Manual, Toshiba stereo radio/cassette recorder, RT-SF16 BomBeat SF16.' The manual was originally contained, together with the black mains lead, within a polythene bag inside the proprietary packing box of item PR/105."
[day 20, p 3079]
Ferraday's science guy, Dr. Thomas Hayes, carried out what little actual forensics work was done. He testified, under questioning by Mr. Keen for the defense on day 17, about some of the manual fragments he studied. [pp 2687 and onward]

- PK/689: Recieved RARDE 11 May, examined by Dr. Hayes 16 May by examination notes.
"When originally received at this laboratory, this item was apparently an irregularly shaped single fragment of paper, shown in photograph 266, which measured approximately 135 millimetres by 125 millimetres. Detailed examination revealed the fragment to consist of two overlaid sheets lightly adhering together, having the same irregular shape.

On the upper surface of the two sheets, shown in photograph 267, were depicted (a) the legend "... Hiba ... O cassette recorder ... SF16 ... BomBeat SF16" and (b) apparent sets of operating instructions printed in several languages."
[p 3079]
""... the two-page fragment of paper appears to have survived a close-range explosion involvement." [p 2544]

Above: PK/689 (bottom) compared to control model PT/1. RARDE photo, undated...
[alternate image source: Conspiracy Files, 38:41]
"Q What it is saying there is that this item was received at RARDE on 11/5/89, and then passed to a DC Jordan on the same date for non-destructive fingerprints, and then returned to RARDE on 16th May, passed to DC Jordan on 16th May for chemical treatment after photography –
A [Hayes] It does say all of that, yes, sir.
Q And would that chemical treatment, rather than chemical analysis, be a means of preserving the piece of paper? Perhaps I should simply ask, Dr. Hayes, do you know what is meant there by "chemical treatment"?
A I'm guessing, so I really can't answer your question, I'm afraid.
Q But it is in your hand?
A Oh, yes. Yes, I wrote it."
[p 2687]
On its discovery by Decky Horton and her Zeist testimony. It was completely intact when she turned it in. See also "Conspiracy Files" link above.

Another possible inconsistency from On the Trail of Terror (1991) by David Leppard:
"Incredibly, none of the search teams had noticed a partly burnt Toshiba radio instruction manual for a Bombeat SF 16 which had been recovered from the crash site. It was to be left lying in Superintendent Roxburgh's property store at the Dexstar warehouse for months. [...] Details had been logged on to the HOLMES computer, but were left forgotten, buried in a mass of data until August." [p 81]
Leppard is known to make both frequent mistakes and, on occasion, obliquely ingenious observations. Considering Hayes' record of examinations in May, the claim that PK/689 was at Dexstar until is August could be interesting. Proper paperwork suggests a third date yet between the two for reciept of an item that could only be PK/689:

"Q [Keen] If we look at page 107, halfway down, we see that what the report tells us is that "on 30th June 1989 some explosively damaged paper fragments which bore indications that they originated from the owner's instruction manual for a Toshiba were received at this laboratory, thus conclusively establishing which of the seven models of the Toshiba had been employed in the Lockerbie bomb. 

Q But we know that all of the dates predate the 30th of June. We've just looked at them, Dr. Hayes. 
A [Hayes] In which case we might reasonably assume that the date listed in this report is in error.
Q Well, there appear to be two alternatives, do there not, Dr. Hayes? One, page 107 of the report is referring to different fragments to those which you found during your forensic examination.
Q The alternative is that the -- this part of the report is simply completely erroneous in ascribing to the 30th of June the receipt of any fragments of the Toshiba owner's manual?
A It could be the date is in error, yes, sir." [p 2692-2697]

- PT/2: 12 May
For what it's worth, the exam notes show other remains of the manual appearing in the following days of May. But the next one is featured on the famous page 51, and that page seems clearly to have been inserted after the fact. By the scan of that page we can see this item was originally and more logically dubbed PT/35(d). Why it was changed is unclear, but it makes two totally different classes of evidence - a control sample and a surprise find from afield - end up numbered PT/1 and PT/2. It works as a nickname, and seems to have no relevance of its own, but the oddity is noteworthy. Perhaps that's a clue to the unusual re-classification of the manual, eventually changed to PR/1111.
"PT/2, fragments of white paper with writing in various languages. "This fragment was recovered from item PI/995 (a fragment of grey-coloured `Slalom' brand shirt (section 5.1.3)), together with other fragments identified as being of particular explosives significance.

"Photograph 273 shows what originally appeared to be a single fragment of paper (encircled) after its extraction from item PI/995. Detailed examination showed that the fragment consisted of five overlaid sheets of paper lightly adhering together. The five sheets appeared to have been violently impacted together and disrupted and bore localised areas of blackening and scorching consistent with their close explosives involvement."
The above image superimposes Hayes' famous page 51 notes for PT/2 before being separated. It's a match for size and shape with the lump in the photo. However accurate the lab entry's date, the photo was apparently taken before the lump was spread out into numerous sheets of type matching the manual in control sample PT/1 perfectly.

- PT/34: 16 May - “includes … pieces of paper … later thought to be parts of a Toshiba owner's manual” Same day the examination of PK/689 is recorded by Hayes. (I chose its earliest noted received date so it could start us off with a bang)

- ???: 18 May? "One small fragment of white paper bearing black printing" found in "the same blue and white Slalom shirt" PH/999 from which PT/40(b) was pulled. [day 20 p 3116] This would presumably be PT/40(something), and I don't have the time to figure out why I didn't figure this one out before.

- PT/56: 22 May
Feraday: "This consists of two very small blackened fragments of paper bearing a black printed legend. The fragments were recovered from a small fragment of the blue Babygro (item PI/1421, Section 5.1.8) and were identified as most probably having originated from the owner's manual for the Toshiba RT-SF16 radio." [day 20 p 3110]

- PT/31: 1 June 1989
"These ten small fragments of paper were separated from a fragment of the blue Babygro (item PK/2209, Section 5.1.8) along with other fragments of explosives significance, as shown in photograph 281. The ten fragments of paper are all approximately 2 millimetres square and appear to have been violently impacted and disrupted, bearing localised areas of blackening and scorching consistent with their close explosives involvement." [day 20 p 3105-06]
Three of these bore printing that, ittle surprise, also matched control sample PT/1 (PR/1111). Bits of the polythene bag were also found stuck to some of these fragments.

Zeist Judges on the Toshiba manual
forthcoming (volunteers? Opinion of the Court will do - check for reference to the cover PK/689.)


baz said...

In the Indian Head tests of mid-April 1989 the IEDs were built into a different Toshiba model 8016 as RARDE had in February 1989 identified the radio-cassette recorder as a twin speaker model 8016 or 8026.

Some commenters believe that the IED was similar in design and construction to the sample of Marwan Khreesat's handiwork (a single-speaker model 453 "bombeat" cassette-recorder) recovered from the boot of Hashem Dalkamoni's vehicle in Neuss on the 26.10.88. In "evidence" given by the FBI on Khreesat's behalf at Camp Zeist Khreesat claimed never to have used a twin speaker model as an IED).

I have the wacky theory that this was the actual device that destroyed flight PA103!

Caustic Logic said...

The 8016 / 8026? It could be. I've been meaning to look into the alleged problems with the white plastic as well. It was mostly found in one spot with a problem in how it got there.

I'm only sure the evidence it was a SF16 - the manual - was planted. It could be that model, or another, I just don't trust any of this evidence. It may have been a 453 that was vaporized enough to not contradict the planting.

baz said...

- and to steer the investigation away from Mr Khreesat and the PFLP-GC. So what became of the IED recovered from Dalkamoni's car on the 26.10.88? Why was it only the bomb-beat Toshiba radio-cassette that featured in the Aviation security warnings circulated when Khreesat used a variety of devices (three recovered in the "Autumn Leaves" arrests and two mysteriously turning up in April 1989.)

Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd said...

Further evidence was falsified to implicate Libya in the PanAm-103 bomb plot.

Why was the Toshiba radio manual shown to Decky Horton at Kamp van Zeist different from the original Toshiba radio manual found by the Hortons? Is it proof of a conspiracy?

Answer from MEBO Ltd:

Why to witness Decky Horten at the court in Kamp van Zeist were shown as evidence only some paper fragments of a Toshiba radio recorder manual, RT-8016-SF16 BomBeat? There is a logical explanation.

These paper fragments, did not descend from the Toshiba manual found by Decky Horton in Lockerbie; why?
The Toshiba manual found by Decky Horten was not belonging to a Toshiba radiorecorder type ever supplied to Libya by Toshiba!

The Toshiba manual found by Goeff and Decky Horton was undestroyed and was found together with a radio recorder fragment (AG/145). This proves that this fragment did not originate from an explosion, but was placed there deliberately with other pieces of evidence (PT-35; a;b;c;d)! This explains also why the fragment (AG/145) has never been tested for explosive residues by Dr. Hayes!

Thus was clear, in order to entangle Libya into the PanAm-103 assassination attempt, as proof, paper fragments of a Toshiba radio recorder manual were used, which descended from a Toshiba equipment delivered to Libya.

"What a coincidence", these paper fragments, sheet, no.1 to 5 were found together with the alleged PT-35 timer fragment (MST-13) and had been specified by chiropodist and "expert" Dr. Thomas Hayes (RARDE) in Ford Halstead on its manipulated auxiliary side no. 51 in his Examination Rapport of the 12th of May 1989 …

It is provable that the manipulated side no. 51, was later used by Dr. Hayes. The original sides numbers, 51 to 55, were overwritten by Dr. Hayes with no. 52 to 56; the original side No. 56, was destroyed!
The paper fragments from a exchanged wrong Toshiba manual were needed to proof the conspiracy against Libya.

by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland. URL:

Edwin Bollier MEBO Ltd. said...

Geoff and Decky Horton found a key piece of evidence after wreckage was strewn over their farm, located 60 miles from the crash site.
But the piece of paper — believed to be from the package which contained the bomb that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 — was damaged after it was handed over to investigators.
In a TV documentary to be shown today, conspiracy buffs claim the evidence was tampered with.
Geoff and Decky, of Morpeth, Northumberland, are interviewed in the BBC2 programme The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie.
The documentary highlights several theories about the tragedy which claimed the lives of 270 people almost 20 years ago in December 1988.
Geoff tells the programme: "On the night in question there was a strong gale, about 90 miles per hour, and the wreckage from Lockerbie was spread right across the North Sea."
"We were finding Christmas cards written by the bairns on board, letters, personal effects, things like that. Quite harrowing."
Decky said she found part of a radio cassette manual with the word Toshiba clearly visible.
She later gave evidence at the trial of the Libyan man accused of the terrorist attack, but the evidence bag she was shown contained several pieces of paper.
She said: "It was in one piece when I found it but in the bag there were several pieces and the name Toshiba was only just discernable by then."
"When I found the piece of paper it was more or less intact, a bit tatty round the edges, but it definitely had Toshiba written across it."
Police said the paper was damaged following a battery of forensic tests.
But the documentary says: "Why was the piece of paper so altered from when the Hortons found it?"
"Was it proof of a conspiracy or careless handling by the police? The mystery remains."
Conspiracy theorists believe key evidence was tampered with to implicate Libya in the bomb plot. The documentary also mentions several other theories, including allegations of involvement by rogue American spies.
It includes an interview with Siaf Al Islam Al Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, who attacks the families of victims for seeking compensation.
He claims Libya only accepted responsibility to end international sanctions.
by Ian Robson
delivered from Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd