No celebration for Col Muammar Gaddafi victims

WPC Yvonne Fletcher
Image caption PC Yvonne Fletcher was fatally shot outside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984

A police officer who was on duty with PC Yvonne Fletcher when she was murdered has said Col Gaddafi's death is no cause for celebration.

John Murray described the former Libyan leader's death as "the worst result I could imagine" and said it left many questions unanswered.

The dad of a Lockerbie bombing victim said it was "no form of justice".

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain's involvement in Libya would continue "until there is no threat".

He said thousands of people in Britain had suffered because of the Gaddafi regime.

"To all of those people a cloud has now been lifted. Gaddafi has gone and he can no longer export terror to the rest of the world," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Former PC John Murray was on duty with PC Fletcher when she was fatally shot outside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984 and vowed to trace her murderer.

"When we found out he (Col Gaddafi) had been confirmed dead for me it was no celebration," he told BBC Breakfast.

"It was the worst result that certainly I could ever imagine. The death of Gaddafi has left so many questions unanswered."

But Mr Murray, who recently travelled to Libya to meet members of the country's new government, the National Transitional Council, said there was Libyan will for "closure and justice" in the case.

He said he was hopeful that Matouk Mohamed Matouk, the only one of three suspects still alive, would face trial if he was caught.

"(Matouk) survived these last few months under the protection of Gaddafi. Now he's got no-one to look after him so I think there's a reasonable chance that very soon he will be detained and stand trial for Yvonne's murder," he said.

Mr Murray said he had not yet spoken to WPC Fletcher's family but would do shortly.

He added: "I wanted to see Gaddafi in a court of law. I wanted the answers to many many questions that I've been fighting for for the last 27 years.

"Why did it happen? Who gave the orders? What did the whole incident achieve? We've never had answers to those questions and they need to be answered."

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the 1988 Lockerbie atrocity, said Col Gaddafi should have been kept alive and put on trial.

"I think he did take with him questions that he might have been able to answer," he told BBC Breakfast.

"As far as justice being done is concerned the pictures seem to show that he was first captured and then essentially lynched or shot once in captivity.

"If that is the case, as opposed to what the committee are putting out publicly, then it was no form of justice and I think it would have been much better if he could have been kept alive so that he could have been perhaps extradited to the Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague in order to have a fair trial and to answer the questions that he could."

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi remains the only man convicted of the atrocity which killed 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie four days before Christmas.

He was freed from Greenock prison in August 2009 on compassionate grounds because he had terminal prostate cancer. Despite doctors determining at the time that he had around three months to live, he is still alive.

Dr Swire has always maintained that Megrahi is innocent, but thinks Col Gaddafi would have known who committed the crime.

He said: "I don't have any evidence that Gaddafi was involved either, but I think at the very least Gaddafi would have known who was going to do Lockerbie and how they were going to do it."

The Scottish government has previously said it is ready to re-open the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, saying the Libyan intelligence agent who was convicted "did not act alone".

Other relatives of those who died said Col Gaddafi's death should not become an obstacle to the continuing investigation into the atrocity.

American Brian Flynn, who lost his brother John Patrick in the bombing, told the BBC News Channel that he held Col Gaddafi "directly responsible" for his brother's death and the deaths of all 269 innocent civilians.

But there were lots of other people involved, he said, and this evidence "had not died with Gaddafi".

"That evidence exists, the witnesses exist and I think that information can be found out," he said.

He said he would rather have seen the former Libyan leader stand trial, but added: "I think it was up to the Libyan people to decide his fate."

Colin Parry, whose 13-year-old son Tim died in the 1993 Warrington bomb attack, in which Semtex provided by Col Gaddafi's regime was used to make the IRA bomb, said if Col Gaddafi had gone on trial it would have been a "better outcome".

"I hope we are closer to a conclusion. It has been a long campaign," he said.

"The temporary government has been helped considerably by the British and the French in overcoming Gaddafi's regime. And in a sense the new the emerging nation of Libya owes a debt to this country.

"So I would hope that factor, allied to the natural justice of our claim, would lead to a speedy settlement (of legal claims for IRA victims)."

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Media captionJim Swire: 'No form of justice'

Following Col Gaddafi's death Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of the toll on victims, saying Thursday was "a day to remember" WPC Fletcher, those who died at Lockerbie, and people killed by IRA terrorism.

Philip Hammond said Nato officials were meeting on Friday to discuss their next move on Libya and the UK would stay in the country "as long as there is any threat to the Libyan civilian population".

He said he was proud of the contribution of Britain's armed forces and hoped there would now be a "stable Libya" on Europe's southern border.

He added he expected British sales directors to pack their suitcases and head to Libya to take part in the reconstruction as soon as possible.

Mr Hammond said the prime minister had taken a "very bold decision" to protect the Libyan people from "imminent disaster".

"David Cameron is a very cautious and thoughtful person. I don't think there is any danger of him charging around in a gung-ho frame of mind," he said.

"He will look very carefully around the world. If we see civilian nationals being threatened, if we see people like Col Gaddafi, who pose a real and present danger to the UK's own national security, then of course we will look to do what we can to end those situations."