Saturday 22 July 2017

Bookie pays out on Lockerbie bet

William Hill paid 500 pounds to Kelvin MacKenzie over a bet on the Lockerbie bomber
William Hill paid 500 pounds to Kelvin MacKenzie over a bet on the Lockerbie bomber

A bookmaker paid out more than a week early on a bet the Lockerbie bomber would still be alive a year after his release.

William Hill, the betting chain, wrote out a cheque for £500 to Kelvin MacKenzie, the former newspaper editor.

He placed the evens money wager when Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds on August 20 last year.

The Libyan, who has cancer, was diagnosed with three months to live, but despite the prognosis it is now almost one year since Megrahi was released from prison and flew back to his home country.

With more than a week to go before the one-year anniversary, the bookmaker is clearly confident Megrahi will not die in the coming days.

Asked if they were concerned the Libyan could die after they made the premature payout, spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "We very much doubt that is going to happen."

He explained how MacKenzie contacted them to make the wager, and why they took up his offer: "It was a bet request that Kelvin came up with and we offered it for him.

"It was a very topical event. He made us the request and we regarded it as a legitimate bet request."

Asked if William Hill had any reservations about taking the bet on such a politically sensitive issue, the spokesman said: "He was betting in a positive way and we were more than happy to offer him the bet."

In his weekly column in The Sun newspaper, MacKenzie wrote: "If you heard the sound of weeping as you passed the William Hill finance department, it was the chief executive writing me the £500 cheque for my Lockerbie bomber bet."

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