Lockerbie, 30 years on

In 2013, I heard that one of my father’s acquaintances had been on the ground the night of the Lockerbie air disaster. I interviewed John Parkes in his home in Edinburgh. Although growing up, I’d always been aware of Lockerbie, John’s account brought home the gruesome human tragedies at the heart of it:

The team were sent to a house where the police suspected that the bodies of passengers had fallen. It was in darkness, but the three men thought they could see the shape of a woman’s body on the roof. The air had a “strange, perfumey smell”. They went round the back of the building, and there they had the first inkling of the house of horrors they had stumbled into.

“There was half a face,” Parkes remembered. “It was very bizarre, just sitting on the windowsill as if one half had been sliced off.” He laid it on the ground.

I was too late to place the story for the 25th anniversary, but five years later, I managed to write it for the New Statesman.

You can read the full article here on the New Statesman website (metered paywall).

PDF: How the Lockerbie disaster haunts Scotland, 30 years on