[What follows is excerpted from a review by Alan Taylor in the Scottish Review of Books of John Ashton’s Megrahi: You are my Jury:]
For the police, the key breakthrough in this many-tentacled investigation came on 15 February 1991 when they put twelve photographs in front of Tony Gauci and asked him if any of them showed the man who had come into his shop. Gauci, writes Ashton, ‘studied all the photographs, then told [DCI Harry] Bell, “They are all younger than the man who bought the clothes.” Bell asked him to try to allow for any age difference and to judge which most closely resembled the man. Gauci looked again, at one point picking up the card. He studied Abdelbaset’s photo three times. [DC] Crawford subsequently described thinking to himself, “He’s gonna pick him.” And sure enough, Gauci did. “I would say that the photograph at No. 8 is similar to the man who bought the clothing,” he said, adding, “the hair is perhaps a bit long. The eyebrows are the same. The nose is the same and his chin and shape of his mouth at are the same. The man in the photograph No 8 is in my opinion in his thirty years. He would perhaps have to look about ten years or more older and he would look like the man who bought the clothes. It’s been a long time now [two and a quarter years] and I can only say that this photograph No. 8 resembles the man who bought the clothing, but it is younger.” At the end of the statement he added, “I can only say that of all the photographs I have been shown this photograph No. 8 is the only one really similar to the man who bought the clothing…other than the one my brother showed me.”’
This, adds Ashton, is a reference to Mohamed Abu Talb, another suspect whose photograph had appeared in the Sunday Times and which Paul had shown to Tony. But the police were not interested in that. They had their man, or so they supposed. (...)
It would be wrong to suggest that it was only Tony Gauci’s testimony which led to the conviction of Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing. Equally it would be wrong to say that his conviction would have been obtained and upheld without it.