LOCKERBIE ORPHAN KILLS HIMSELF; Lone survivor Steven jumps in front of train.
He jumped off a bridge in front of a train just days before his 26th birthday.
He was only 14 when Pam Am flight 103 was blown out of the sky and crashed into Lockerbie. His parents Tom and Kathleen and sister Joanne died when flaming debris ploughed into their home in the town's Sherwood Crescent.
Seven years ago, his older brother David died after a drink-and-drugs binge.
Now Steven has become the last member of the Flannigan family to die as a result of the Pam Am tragedy.
He suffered massive injuries after he jumped in front of a works locomotive on his way home after a night out with friends.
The young father was discovered lying on railway tracks close to his home in the village of Heywood, near Westbury, in Wiltshire. He had suffered severe head and leg injuries.
Steven, who had battled with a long-term drink problem following the air disaster, was found early on Friday morning. He was rushed by ambulance to the Royal United Hospital in Bath but lost his fight for life early yesterday - on his 26th birthday.
Steven escaped the carnage which engulfed Lockerbie in December 1988 because he was out of the house.
He had been helping a neighbour to repair his sister's bike when parts of the doomed jumbo crashed on his home in Sherwood Crescent.
A total of 270 people in the plane and on the ground were killed.
The surviving Flannigan brothers were shattered and found it hard to cope.
In 1993, David was found dead in a seedy hotel room in Thailand.
Last night, Steven's uncle Lawrence Doolan, and friend and business partner John Boyce, said: "Steve's family and friends are devastated by this latest tragic event.
"It happened on the footpath crossing closest to his home when he was coming back from a drink with friends in the next village. A celebration of his own 26th birthday was planned for the weekend.
"This is the most appalling tragedy. He will be dreadfully missed by his many friends."
Steven moved to Wiltshire from Lockerbie four years ago to rebuild his shattered life following the nightmare of the Pan Am outrage.
He was in the final stages of building his dream home in the quiet village of Heywood.
Lockerbie councillor Marjory McQueen said the town would be shocked to learn of Steven's death.
She said: "The town will be stunned that this family, who have gone through so much, have suffered another death - it must be so hard to bear.
"The last time I saw him he was just a fine young man who I thought had a bright future. I'm sure the whole of Lockerbie will be saddened to hear of his death.
"He was a classmate of my daughter and his brother David, who is also dead, was a good friend of my son, so I knew him very well."
The young father had only returned to England after attending his son Luke's third birthday party in Lockerbie, when the tragedy happened.
He had been out celebrating with friends and was in good spirits ahead of his birthday.
However, Steven caused outrage when he split from the boy's mother three years' ago when the baby was five weeks' old.
Yet the young dad who was said to dote on his son and kept in regular contact with both Luke and the boy's mother, divorcee Lisa Gregory, 32, who still lives in Lockerbie.
Steven has struggled to pick up the pieces of his life since Lockerbie.
After his brother's death, he announced plans to become an airline pilot but those ambitions never materialised.
Unlike David, who never forgave himself for not patching up the rift with his parents before they were killed, Steven had a strong bond with his family.
But that bond only made his suffering worse as he struggled throughout the last decade with little happiness or direction in his life.
After the Pam Am disaster, both brothers were awarded millions of pounds in compensation
David blew his money on doomed business ventures, property and cars.
He also splashed out on lavish holidays in the West Indies.
But, on a darker note, there were court appearances and drunken pub brawls until he met his fateful final days and untimely death in 1993.
Like his brother, Steven's own life was blighted by failure and heartache.
After the disaster, Steven was taken into the home of Lockerbie couple Bob and Peg Jardine and became a millionaire after his compensation award.
Then Bob caught Steven in bed with Peg forcing Steven to leave the village, vowing never to return.
But he did return and fell in love with local girl Lisa Gregory moving into her home in the town's Queensberry View.
Even after he had settled down with Lisa in 1997, he struggled to make a go of his life.
Five weeks after the couple announced the birth of their baby boy, Luke, Steven said he would not be settling down with Lisa and he walked out on the relationship.
Instead he went to stay in England where he continued to drink heavily, leaving Lisa, 29, to bring up their son on a Lockerbie council estate.
At the time, a close pal said: "It seems tragic that someone who was orphaned in such a sad way won't be there for his own boy."
Another friend said: "To put it quite simply, she was sick of his heavy drinking and late nights."
Lisa herself admitted it was she who ended the relationship with Steven.
She said: "Steven is down in Wiltshire staying at a friend's house. It was me that decided to split up. I don't think we'll get back together again. Steven saw Luke at the hospital and he's coming to visit us in two weeks' time.
"He's really been through hell and back in his life."
Steven was just 14 at the time of the Lockerbie crash.
After the disaster, he visited the house of Princess Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd.
He was also treated to a stay at her holiday home in Australia.
When brother David died in the Thai sex resort of Pattaya, Steven inherited all the money and property he had left.
But money could never buy Steven happiness or peace of mind.
At first, he moved to Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, with friends to forge a new life.
He later moved again, just seven miles away to the Wiltshire village of Heybrook.
However, locals said Steven continued to drink heavily and had to be helped home on a number of occasions.
And last Friday, it became too much for him and he decided to end it all. But because it was a slow-moving train he jumped in front of, he didn't die instantly as he had planned.
Instead, there were several agonising hours in hospital before his life finally slipped away.
Police say there's nothing suspicious about the death.
Inspector Andy Cousins, of the British Transport Police, said: "The incident happened at approximately 2.30am on Friday.
"It is thought the man jumped off the bridge at Yarnbrook, near Trowbridge.
"But he was not killed as it was a slow moving maintenance train.
"He suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital where he later died.
"There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and it appeared to be a suicide."
Steven's funeral, which takes place in Lockerbie on Monday, is likely to bring the town to a standstill.
His family were devout Roman Catholics and the service and Requiem Mass is likely to be held in the town's Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
At his brother's David's funeral, local priest Father Gerry Macgee spoke of the Prodigal Son returning in front of hundreds of mourners in 1993.
As he made the moving comment, there was not a dry eye among the mourners who packed the humble chapel.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Aug 22, 2000|
|Previous Article:||FAILING TO BRIDGE THE GREAT SCOTTISH DIVIDE; Enterprise chiefs rapped as East-West gulf grows.|
|Next Article:||Russians' fury as hope ends for Kursk.|