Blue Babygro Controversies

July 8 2010
last update Oct 31

The “blue babygro” is a relatively famous piece of evidence in the Lockerbie case. It was originally a full-body pajama-type suit, perhaps of stretch material (hence “gro”), with foot covers built in. It bore a lamb motif in fluffy material across the chest. Bits and fibers of it were found everywhere in the blast-damaged luggage, suggesting it was in the bomb bag and perhaps wrapped around the bomb radio. It stands out as a morbid reminder that the plotters knew children might be killed, depending on the investigative phase a poignant in reflecting either Gaddafi’s infant daughter terminated by American bombs in 1986, or of the many children on Iran Air 655 more recently sent into the Persian Gulf by a Navy warship.

Among the numerous fragments of the item is the tiny body suit’s tag (left, from a video screen capture, "fire" line enhanced). Dubbed PK/669, it remained to show it was made in Malta (bottom line), spurring an early and fruitless visit to the island in the spring of 1989. On a second try in September spurred by the Frankfurt printout, investigators found that it was one of the more memorable items (along with the umbrella) that shopkeeper Tony Gauci recalled selling to the “mystery shopper” some weeks prior to the bombing. It was a breakthrough.

The following article from 2005 discusses arguments that Megrahi's lawyers were making to the Scottish Criminial Case Review Commission. The SCCRC was in the middle of a three year probe that resulted in a 2007 recommendation for a second appeal). Props to Buncrana at JREF for the tip.
Forensic mix-up casts fresh Lockerbie doubt
Tony Thompson
The Observer, Sunday 9 October 2005
Dramatic new evidence of forensic errors could see the man accused of planting the Lockerbie bomb win a new appeal against his conviction, The Observer has learned. Lawyers acting on behalf of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi are said to have uncovered anomalies suggesting vital evidence used to convict their client came from tests conducted months after the terror attack.
This refers to the Indian Head Forensic Tests, run largely by RARDE's Allen Feraday, a notorious manipulator of evidence. He oversaw the low end test and did not keep notes detailing the results and debris, relying instead on the notes of Scots policeman Harry Bell.

"Megrahi's lawyers now believe material produced during these tests was mistakenly presented to the court as if it were the original suitcase. One source told The Observer: 'To say that the evidence recovered from the ground at Lockerbie and the material produced during the tests became mixed up would be something of an understatement. They became thoroughly confused.

'It casts serious doubts over the prosecution case because certain items that should have been destroyed if they were in the case containing the bomb are now known to have survived the blast.'

In one instance a charred Babygro was produced as evidence that it had been used to wrap the bomb. However, new evidence has emerged which suggests the garment was completely undamaged when it was found. Instead, a similar Babygro used during the explosive tests was presented to the court.
Further tests are now set to be conducted to see how the mix-up happened.
The "new evidence" has never been explained that I know of, but it might be quite good. It's not clear what sort of "test"could find out why Allen Feraday might have slipped his test debris into the crash debris. If this mix-up happened, a "mistake' is one theory, but not the best.

SCCRC Findings:
At the time it may have seemed the SCCRC would follow such clues of frame-up, but in the end they denied all planting evidence allegations, their four public grounds (out of six total, two secret) all dealt with Tony Gauci's "identification"of Megrahi.

SCCRC news release, 28 June 2007
(PDF link)
"Main grounds that were rejected by the Commission [...] do not form part of the grounds of referral." The defense had "sought to challenge the origin of various items which the trial court accepted were within the primary suitcase,” including “a babygro” as well as the Slalom shirt, Yorkie trousers, and Toshiba manual.
“Underlying each of them was a suspicion about the conduct of the investigating authorities who, it was alleged, had manipulated, altered or fabricated statements, productions and other records in order to make out a case against the applicant. The Commission conducted extensive investigations into each of the allegations and is satisfied there is no proper basis for any of them. The allegations were further undermined by records recovered by the Commission from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory."
They presumably trusted the documents, so the finding is less than ideal. They did good by questioning Gauci's evidence, but get weak-kneed when it comes to active fabrication of evidence. How they could look at PK/689, hear Mrs. Horton's recall of it being even less vaporized when she found it, and still decide it really was in the bomb bag is beyond me, unless they were determined to avoid such a charge, to the point of being willfully obtuse.

Intact Discovery
I'll return when I've found the best sources that support the allegation the babygro was found in one piece at first.

Lab Notes
(Perhaps what the SCCRC looked at)
also forthcoming.

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