Lockerbie Trial : BATF Richard Louis Sherrow’s Trial Evidence

Below, you will find the answers given by BATF Richard Sherrow at the trial. I have highlighted a few answers that may be of interest later on. I have added some pictures to help the readers to follow the questions/answers. I have just made one comment at the end of this post.


You may want to read again these posts in order to “compare notes”.


Attempted Coup in TOGO (23 /09/1986)



Togo Failed Coup Archives: Can you find a MST-13 Timer?


Richard Sherrow: Memories from Togo


Day 18

LORD SUTHERLAND:  Advocate Depute.

9            MR. TURNBULL:  My Lords, the first witness

10  this morning is number 528 on the list, Richard Louis

11  Sherrow.

12            THE MACER:  Richard Sherrow, Your Lordships.

13                 WITNESS: RICHARD SHERROW, sworn

14            LORD SUTHERLAND:  Advocate Depute.


16            Q    Mr. Sherrow, are you Richard Louis

17  Sherrow?

18            A    Yes, sir.

19            Q    We have your address as care of Omega

20  Group Limited.  Is that a company?

21            A    Yes, sir, it was.  I have since retired.

22            Q    Thank you.  And we have the address as

23  5735 East Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, Colorado, in the

24  United States of America?

25            A    That has also changed since my


1  retirement, sir.

2            Q    When did you retire, Mr. Sherrow?

3            A    Approximately one month ago.

4            Q    Thank you.  A number of years ago, Mr.

5  Sherrow, were you in the United States Army?

6            A    Yes, sir, I was.

7            Q    For how long?

8            A    Twenty and one-half years.

9            Q    When you were in the United States Army,

10  did you specialise in any particular area?

11            A    Yes.  My primary specialty was explosive

12  ordnance disposal.

13            Q    And when did you retire from the army?

14            A    In November of 1984.

15            Q    On leaving the army, did you take up a

16  position with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and

17  Firearms?

18            A    Yes, sir, I did.

19            Q    And is that a law enforcement agency

20  within the United States of America?

21            A    Yes, sir.

22            Q    And within that bureau, did you have any

23  specialty?

24            A    I was an explosives enforcement officer.

25            Q    Thank you.  And in the course, then, of


1  your experience in the army, and with the Bureau of

2  Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, did you gain experience

3  in the use of explosives?

4            A    Yes, sir, I did.

5            Q    And did that also extend to items

6  associated with explosives?

7            A    Yes, it did.

8            Q    Such as detonators?

9            A    Yes.

10            Q    Did you also have experience with a

11  range of detonating mechanisms?

12            A    Yes, I did.

13            Q    In 1986, were you requested by the

14  United States Department of State to go to West Africa?

15            A    Yes, I was.

16            Q    Do you recollect where you were asked to

17  go?

18            A    Yes, sir.  To Lome, Togo.

19            Q    Is Lome the capital of Togo?

20            A    Yes, sir.

21            Q    Do you remember when in 1986 it was that

22  you went to Lome?

23            A    It was the end of the year, I believe,

24  October —

25            Q    About October —


1            A    September, October, the end of the year.

2            Q    Thank you.  Did you go on your own, Mr.

3  Sherrow?

4            A    No, I didn’t.  I went with a delegation

5  of another person from our department and a gentleman

6  from the State Department.

7            Q    Was there a gentleman by the name of

8  Mr. Owen with you?

9            A    Yes, sir.

10            Q    Was he the gentlemen from your own

11  department?

12            A    Yes, he was.

13            Q    And did you also go in the company of a

14  gentleman by the name of Mr. Casey?

15            A    Yes, I did.

16            Q    When you arrived in Togo, did you make

17  contact with your own embassy?

18            A    Yes, we did.

19            Q    And thereafter, did you go to the

20  presidential palace in Lome?

21            A    Yes, we did.

22            Q    And who did you see there?

23            A    President Eyadema, president of Togo.

24            Q    Thank you.  Now, I’d like you to answer

25  the next question yes or no, please, Mr. Sherrow.  Did


1  he give you an account of incidents that had happened?

2            A    Yes, he did.

3            Q    Thank you.  Having been given that

4  explanation by the president, were you then taken

5  somewhere?

6            A    Yes, we were.

7            Q    Where were you taken?

8            A    We were taken to the headquarters, army

9  barracks.

10            Q    And at the army barracks, were you shown

11  something?

12            A    Yes, we were.

13            Q    What were you shown, Mr. Sherrow?

14            A    We were shown a hut that contained what

15  was said to be captured ordnance.

16            Q    Now, by “ordnance,” what do you mean?

17            A    It was explosives, firearms, ammunition,

18  military equipment.

19            Q    I see.  And were these items laid out

20  for you to observe within this hut?

21            A    Yes, they were.

22            Q    Thank you.  Were you permitted to

23  examine the items that were there?

24            A    Yes, sir.

25            Q    And were you permitted to photograph


1  them?

2            A    Yes, sir.

3            Q    Did you yourself take some photographs?

4            A    Yes, I did.

5            Q    Were your photographs taken only in

6  Lome, or also when you returned to the United States?

7            A    Both.

8            Q    Thank you.  When you examined the items

9  laid out in the hut, Mr. Sherrow, were there any

10  particular items that took your interest?

11            A    Yes.  The explosive items and some

12  electronic timers.

13            Q    I see.  Can we talk about the electronic

14  timers for a moment.  How many did you see?

15            A    I saw two.

16            Q    Two?

17            A    Yes.

18            Q    Were these items the same or different?

19            A    They were the same.

20            Q    I see.  Had you come across electronic

21  timers in any of your previous experience?

22            A    Several times, yes.

23            Q    Had you ever seen electronic timers

24  similar to the ones you saw in Lome?

25            A    Not exactly similar, no, sir.


1            Q    I see.  So did you take a moment or two

2  to examine those and to take an interest in them?

3            A    Yes, sir.

4            Q    How long did you stay with your

5  colleagues in Lome, Mr. Sherrow?

6            A    I believe it was approximately a week.

7            Q    And during the course of that week, what

8  did you do?

9            A    We examined the materials that they had

10  on display, took some of the items of firearms and

11  explosives out to their firing range.  I disposed of

12  some hazardous materials for them.

13            Q    And did there come a stage where you

14  were considering returning to the United States?

15            A    Yes.

16            Q    And at that stage did you express any

17  interest in taking any of the items back with you?

18            A    Yes, sir.

19            Q    What were you interested in taking with

20  you?

21            A    I was interested in the timers, also in

22  samples of explosives.

23            Q    Did you liaise with anybody as to

24  whether it would be possible to do that?

25            A    Yes.


1            Q    Who was that?

2            A    The State Department representative, the

3  embassy personnel.

4            Q    Now, the State Department

5  representative, was that somebody who had travelled

6  with you from the United States?

7            A    Yes.

8            Q    Was it Mr. Casey?

9            A    Yes, it was.

10            Q    I see.  And what was the result of these

11  negotiations?

12            A    Subsequently, we were allowed to — I

13  was allowed to take one timer and a sample of, I

14  believe, three different types of explosives.

15            Q    Thank you.  And how were these items

16  taken away from Togo?

17            A    They were placed in the United States

18  diplomatic pouch and returned.

19            Q    And who had custody of that?

20            A    Mr. Casey.

21            Q    So does it follow from that, then, that

22  the items which you were given permission to remove

23  were taken from the country in his custody?

24            A    Yes, sir.

25            Q    And on your return to the United States,


1  did you see any of the these items again?

2            A    Yes, I did.  Once we returned to the

3  United States, they were turned over to my custody.

4            Q    I see.  Was that all of the items?

5            A    Yes, sir.

6            Q    And therefore including the timer?

7            A    Yes, sir.

8            Q    How many timers did you remove?

9            A    Only one.

10            Q    And what did you do with it when you

11  returned to the United States?

12            A    I examined it at the headquarters of

13  Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, performed bench tests,

14  functioning tests.

15            Q    Did you photograph it at the

16  headquarters?

17            A    Yes, I did.

18            Q    Had you also photographed that same

19  timer in Lome?

20            A    Yes.

21            Q    And having performed these tests and

22  photographed it, what did you then do with it?

23            A    I was requested to take it to CIA

24  headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and give a briefing

25  on what I found.


1            Q    And did you do that?

2            A    I did.

3            Q    And did you take the timer with you in

4  order to give that briefing?

5            A    Yes.

6            Q    Did you return to your own headquarters

7  after that briefing?

8            A    I did, yes.

9            Q    And did you take the timer back with

10  you?

11            A    No, I didn’t.  That was released to

12  their custody.

13            Q    I see.  Would you look for me, please,

14  Mr. Sherrow, at Label 420.  Do you recognise the item

15  that I’ve given you?

16            A    Yes, sir, I do.

17            Q    What as?

18            A    It appears to be the same type of timer

19  that was returned from Lome.

20            Q    I see.  Do you know if it’s the actual

21  one that was brought back?

22            A    I believe it is.

23            Q    I wonder if we can advance that a

24  little, perhaps, by looking at the photographs you’ve

25  just told me about.


1            A    Uh-huh.

2            Q    Could we look at Production 283.  Now,

3  do you have those photographs in front of you,

4  Mr. Sherrow?

5            A    Yes, sir.

6            Q    And are you able to identify them as the

7  photographs you’ve been describing to me?

8            A    Yes.  These were a series of photographs

9  that I had taken.

10            Q    Some at Lome and some at your own

11  headquarters?

12            A    Correct.

13            Q    Could we look firstly at photograph 31.

14            A    Yes.


15            Q    Now, we will see them on the screen,

16  Mr. Sherrow.  So if you just bear with us for a second.

17  And if we can appreciate that what we are seeing here,

18  in our view, is three separate shots; is that correct?

19            Can you see on the screen in front of you?

20            A    Nothing on the screen yet.

21            Q    All right.  I wonder if it might be

22  possible for you to press the button to your right

23  which says “Evidence.”

24            A    Yes.

25            Q    It’s on.  And there is nothing showing


1  on your screen?

2            A    No, sir.

3            Q    Well, are your photographs individually

4  numbered, Mr. Sherrow?

5            A    Yes, they are.

6            Q    On our screen at the moment we have

7  three photographs numbered 31, 32, and 33?

8            A    Yes.

9            Q    Do you have them in front of you?

10            A    Yes, I do.


11            Q    What do these photographs show us, Mr.

12  Sherrow?

13            A    Photograph 31 shows the inside of the

14  hut in Lome, Togo, the headquarters, with tables of

15  some material laid out on display.

16            Q    Are those the items that you were taken

17  to examine?

18            A    Yes.

19            Q    And do we see further views taken inside

20  the hut in 32 and 33?

21            A    Correct.

22            Q    Thank you.  And do we see then that

23  there are a range of items, just as you told us a

24  little earlier on?

25            A    Yes, sir.


1            Q    Does that include weapons?

2            A    Yes, it does.

3            Q    Guns?

4            A    Yes, sir.

5            Q    Did it include explosives?

6            A    Yes, it did.

7            Q    Other items associated with explosives?

8            A    Yes.

9            Q    Such as what?

10            A    Detonators, fuse, detonator box.

11            Q    And was there also ammunition?

12            A    There was ammunition, yes.

13            Q    Thank you.  Can we look now at image 43,

14  please.

15            A    Yes.

16            Q    Again, if you bear with us just for a

17  moment, Mr. Sherrow, it will appear on our screens.

18            We have three views again.  It’s the bottom

19  view, numbered 45, that I am interested in.  Do you

20  have that photograph, Mr. Sherrow?

21            A    Yes, I do.


22            Q    What are we looking at in photograph 45?

23            A    We are looking at the timer that had

24  been brought back.

25            Q    Is this photograph one that was taken at


1  Lome, or on your return to the United States?

2            A    This was taken on return.

3            Q    Thank you.  And do we see, then,

4  Mr. Sherrow, that the object is generally

5  square-shaped?

6            A    Correct.

7            Q    And green in colour?

8            A    Correct.

9            Q    It has a number of switches on it?

10            A    Yes.

11            Q    And it has dials, presently showing two

12  zeros?

13            A    Yes.

14            Q    Do we see that there appears to be some

15  sort of designation on the face of the timer?

16            A    Yes.

17            Q    Can you read that?

18            A    There is one designation, “Test,” and

19  there is another, “MST 13.”

20            Q    Thank you.  Now, on the face of the

21  timer, as we look at it, there appear to be some marks

22  of some sort above and below the area where the two

23  dials are?

24            A    Yes.

25            Q    Do you know what caused those marks?


1            A    Some marks were scratches; other marks

2  were dirt or mud blemish.

3            Q    Thank you.  And do you see to the right

4  of the device, there is an on/off switch?

5            A    Yes.

6            Q    And just above where the word “on”

7  appears, there is a screw?

8            A    Yes.

9            Q    And between the screw and the word “on,”

10  there appears one of these marks?

11            A    Yes.

12            Q    Now, is it possible for you to look at

13  Label 420, the timer I asked you to examine a moment or

14  two ago, and compare it with the photograph.  And in

15  particular, perhaps, look to the mark that we’ve just

16  spoken of.

17            A    It’s rather difficult to see inside the

18  plastic.

19            Q    I see.  Well, just bear with me for a

20  second, and perhaps turn again to the photograph.  Do

21  you see over on the left-hand side of the photograph

22  there is another switch with apparently the

23  abbreviation for “minute” at the bottom and “hours” at

24  the top?

25            A    Yes.


1            Q    And above that switch there is also a

2  screw?

3            A    Yes.

4            Q    And again in the photograph we can see a

5  mark running just to the right of that screen?

6            A    Yes, I see that on both.

7            Q    Now, is it possible to look at the

8  timer, Label 420, and see whether either of these marks

9  are present?

10            A    Yes, I do see that.

11            Q    You do see them?

12            A    Yes.

13            Q    All right.  And does that help you to

14  answer the question of whether Label 420 is indeed the

15  timer that you took back to the United States?

16            A    Yes, it does.

17            Q    And what view do you come to?

18            A    That it is.

19            Q    In photograph 45, in addition to the

20  face of the timer, we can see to the right of it what

21  looks like a battery; is that correct?

22            A    Yes, sir.


23            Q    And there’s also a black lead of some

24  sort disappearing off to the right of the photograph?

25            A    Yes.


1            Q    If we look on at some more photographs,

2  perhaps we’ll see a little more clearly what these

3  objects are.

4            Can we look at image 46, please.

5            A    Yes.


6            Q    Now, if we look at photograph numbered

7  46 to begin with, do we again see the battery,

8  Mr. Sherrow?

9            A    Yes, sir.

10            Q    But do we see a different view of the

11  timer this time?

12            A    Yes, sir.

13            Q    What are we looking at in this view?

14            A    This is the internal view of the timer,

15  the — one of the cover portions has been removed for

16  visibility.

17            Q    And can we see that there are electronic

18  components soldered to the underside of the face we

19  were looking at a moment ago?

20            A    Yes, sir.

21            Q    And can we see that there are green

22  leads running from the battery to the area of these

23  components?

24            A    Yes.

25            Q    And do we also see, again, the black


1  lead that we saw a moment ago?

2            A    Yes.

3            Q    And can we see that it runs away from

4  the timer and appears to be associated with the black

5  lead that comes away from the battery?

6            A    Yes.

7            Q    And can we look, then, at photograph 47.

8            A    Yes.

9            Q    Again we are seeing a view of the

10  underside of the face that we first saw, are we?

11            A    Correct.

12            Q    And we are seeing more of the

13  componentry?

14            A    Yes.

15            Q    We can see the same battery and the same

16  black leads?

17            A    Yes, sir.

18            Q    And then, perhaps, if we look at 48.

19            A    Yes.

20            Q    What are we looking at now, Mr. Sherrow?

21            A    At the back of the timer with an

22  adhesive strip.

23            Q    So is the timer, then, essentially

24  square-faced, with two plates that are connected by the

25  four squares that we can see in that photograph?


1            A    That is correct.

2            Q    And, as you say, there is obviously some

3  sort of green tape for some reason on the back of the

4  timer there?

5            A    Yes.

6            Q    Can we look now at image 52, please.

7            A    Yes.


8            Q    Now, we are looking again at a group of

9  three photographs.  I think the first of the three, 52,

10  shows the battery, does it?

11            A    Yes, sir.

12            Q    Can we then look at the next one, 53.

13            A    Yes.

14            Q    And this time do we see again a view of

15  the front face, but the entire view of the black lead?

16            A    Correct.

17            Q    And we can see that it runs away from

18  the timer and ends in some sort of square-shaped device

19  with a little red attachment to it?

20            A    Correct.

21            Q    Did you understand what that was?

22            A    Yes, I did.

23            Q    What was it?

24            A    The — there are two screws for

25  attaching an external wire, such as the detonator


1  wire.  And the red item is a light-emitting diode, a

red light which indicates actuation of the device, a

test light, if you will.

4            Q    And using your own experience in the

5  field of explosives, did you form a view as to how a

6  timer of this sort could be used in the process of

7  detonating an explosion?

8            A    Yes, I did.

9            Q    How would that happen, Mr. Sherrow?

10            A    You would determine whether you wanted

11  the explosion to take place in minutes or in hours.

12  The device is selectable, 0 to 99 minutes or 99 hours.

13  Attach it, set the timer, turn it on.

14            Q    And how would you — what would you

15  attach it to in the first place?

16            A    An electrical detonator.

17            Q    Which would be in turn connected to

18  where?

19            A    To an explosive charge.

20            Q    I see.  And how would you connect the

21  timer to the electrical detonator?

22            A    You would loosen the — both screws and

23  insert a lead wire from each detonator into one of the

24  screw sockets, tighten it down.

25            Q    I see.  And what would happen once the


1  selected time period had expired?

2            A    Then an electrical current would

3  transfer from the timer into the detonator, causing it

4  to function.

5            Q    Which would in turn set off the

6  explosive?

7            A    Yes, it would.

8            Q    Thank you.  Perhaps we can close the

9  current productions.

10            And let me ask you about another matter,

11  Mr. Sherrow.  You mentioned that you left the timer in

12  the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency?

13            A    Yes.

14            Q    In your own experience of these matters,

15  did you sometimes receive reports from the Central

16  Intelligence Agency?

17            A    Occasionally.

18            Q    And did such reports sometimes provide

19  technical analyses of items which had come into the

20  custody of the Central Intelligence Agency?

21            A    At times they would.

22            Q    Could I ask you to look at a document

23  for me, Production 284.  And if we look at the image

24  which contains the certificate.  It’s 284-CRT.

25            Can I ask you, firstly, Mr. Sherrow, if


1  you’ve ever seen this document before?

2            A    I believe I have.  It’s been some time.

3            Q    Yes.  Can I ask you to look at the

4  certificate which is attached to it and which we have

5  on our screens.  And do you see from this certificate

6  that it is indeed a document which was in the

7  possession and control of the Central Intelligence

8  Agency?

9            A    Yes, I do see that.

10            Q    And do you — are you able to recognise

11  the format as being a report of the type prepared by

12  the Central Intelligence Agency?

13            A    Yes.

14            Q    Thank you.  And do you see that it is a

15  report into the capabilities and functioning of a

16  timer?

17            A    Yes, it is.

18            Q    And maybe look at image 2, please.

19            A    Yes.

20            Q    Bear with us just a second, please,

21  Mr. Sherrow, and we’ll have it on our screens.

22            Now, we are looking at a page of the document

23  with two photographs of a timing device?

24            A    Yes.

25            Q    Do you have that page also?


1            A    Yes, I do.

2            Q    The upper photograph shows the front

3  face and the entire black lead, and the lower

4  photograph shows the back.  Do you recognise these

5  photographs, Mr. Sherrow?


6            A    Yes.  It appears to be the same timer

7  that I’d recovered.  I see the scratch that we’d

8  earlier mentioned.

9            Q    I see.  Thank you.  And indeed, of

10  course, you told me that you left the timer which you

11  brought back to the United States in the possession of

12  the Central Intelligence Agency?

13            A    Yes, I did.

14            Q    Thank you.  Can we close that document,

15  then, please.

16            You mentioned to me a little time ago,

17  Mr. Sherrow, that when you were in Lome, you saw two

18  timers?

19            A    Yes, I did.

20            Q    And you thought that they were the same?

21            A    Yes, they appeared identical.

22            Q    Were you able to photograph both of the

23  timers?

24            A    I don’t recall.  I believe so, but I’m

25  not positive.


1            Q    Well, you yourself have spoken to us

2  about the photographs that you took?

3            A    Myself, I took the photo of one.

4            Q    I see.  And how many timers were you

5  able to remove from Lome?

6            A    Only one.

7            Q    And that’s the one that we’ve been

8  looking at and discussing?

9            A    Yes, sir.

10            Q    Can I ask you to look at another object

11  for me, please, Label 438.

12            And can you tell me what the item is that you

13  have in front of you now?

14            A    It appears to be a similar type timer.

15            Q    Now, do you see that it has attached to

16  it a buff label, which gives a description of it and

17  contains some signatures?

18            A    Yes.

19            Q    Can you just, for our assistance, read

20  to us the description on the label.

21            A    It’s a description –“MST 13 timer.”

22            Q    And on the label, does it say where it

23  came from?

24            A    It says:  “Handed over by Judge

25  Bruguiere, Paris, Ministry of Justice.”


1            Q    Thank you.  And is there a date for

2  that?

3            A    It is 27/10/99.

4            Q    Thank you.  Have you seen that timer

5  before, Mr. Sherrow?

6            A    No, sir, I haven’t.

7            Q    Is it in any way different from either

8  of the timers that you saw in Lome?

9            A    Outside of some plastic being cut away,

10  it appears to be identical.

11            Q    Does it have the same type of black

12  connecting lead?

13            A    Yes, it does.

14            Q    Thank you.  Can you look at the back of

15  it for me?

16            A    Yes.

17            Q    Is there something there?

18            A    I see what appears to be the same type

19  of double-sided tape.

20            Q    What colour is it?

21            A    This is kind of a tan.  It appears the

22  backing strip has been removed.

23            Q    I see.  Is it possible for you to show

24  us that, perhaps by using the projector just to your

25  side?


1            We have a view which is rather poorly focused

2  just at the moment.  Is it possible — that’s fine.

3            Is it possible, perhaps, for you also,

4  Mr. Sherrow, to place Label 420 beside the item which

5  is currently on the projector.  If it’s possible, I

6  would like this one to be put alongside the one which

7  is currently on the screen.  Could you turn it around

8  so that the tape strip is facing in the same direction?

9  Thank you.  I’m grateful.

10            Now, Mr. Sherrow, the one with the green tape

11  is the one that you brought back to the United States

12  of America?

13            A    Yes, sir.

14            Q    And the one I am now asking you to look

15  at is to its left and also has some sort of marking on

16  the back?

17            A    Yes.

18            Q    Is there any difference in the size of

19  the marking that you can tell?

20            A    They appear to be the same size.

21            Q    The one I’ve more recently asked you to

22  look at is a different colour, though, isn’t it?

23            A    Yes.

24            Q    What was it you said to me, you thought

25  something had been peeled off?


1            A    The tape that was on the back was a

2  double-sided tape.  The green backing would be peeled

3  off so the item could adhere to another surface.

4            Q    I see.  Thank you very much.  And so if

5  we peeled back the green tape on the timer you took to

6  the United States, would we see something similar to

7  that which we see on the other timer?

8            A    You should, yes, sir.

9            Q    Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Sherrow.


When asked where the pictures (DE33) were taken, Sherrow answers that some were taken in Lomé, some in Washington. ( p2860)

In his “Statement” S5757, Sherrow clearly said that all the photos of the MST-13 timer within DE33 were taken in Washington. He made that point again specifically about photo 45. He repeats this at p 2862.




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