A scientific expert and key prosecution witness in the Lockerbie trial was yesterday accused of altering his ''view of the facts'' to fit with his theory.

Professor Christopher Peel's methods in determining the precise position and weight of the bomb which devastated Pan Am Flight 103 came under attack by the defence.

The 54-year-old was giving evidence for the second consecutive day at the trial of two Libyans accused of bombing the New York-bound Boeing 747 on December 21, 1988.

The witness told the specially-convened Scottish court sitting at Camp Zeist in The Netherlands that he had used an analytical model, devised by himself, in addition to Government software to calculate the ''stand-off'' distance and weight of the device.

A 450-gramme bomb was responsible for the blast which resulted in the New York-bound Boeing 747 plummeting from the skies above Lockerbie, the hearing was told.

All 259 passengers and crew perished in the disaster while 11 residents from the small market town were also killed.

Professor Peel, a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, said tests on a reconstructed part of the plane were used to predict the precise location of the bomb and determine its size.

The stand-off distance was 24 inches from the skin of the fuselage, he concluded. His calculations were backed up by a number of tests, including experiments with computer modelling.

But defence barrister Richard Keen, QC, accused the professor of changing his view of the facts in order to fit in with his theory.

''You are changing your view to the factual position. You are changing your view as to the causes of the damage to the fuselage skin.

''You have not simply developed an analytical model, but gone back and altered your view of the facts in order to apply that analytical model,'' said the QC.

Professor Peel told the court he had not consciously done so.

The controversy surrounded two separate and differing reports prepared by the scientist and the sections of fuselage he used to calculate the figures.

Mr Keen argued that, under the professor's own interpretation the large hole, clearly visible in the stricken craft in a photograph showed to the court, did not suffer ''impulse damage'' as his tests required.

But the witness disagreed and insisted that his methods were correct.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44, deny three alternative charges of conspiracy to murder, murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act. They have lodged special defences of incrimination blaming, among others, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLPGC), for the atrocity.

The defendants are alleged to have caused a suitcase containing an umbrella, clothing and an improvised explosive device concealed within a radio cassette recorder to be placed on board the plane.

Maltese businessman Alfred Grech later told the court he was managing director of clothing company Underwear Limited on the island's St Juan industrial estate.

In the late 1980s when the witness was employed as production manager, the hearing was told the firm produced a range of T-shirts distributed and sold under the Abanderado label.

The 37-year-old was shown a singed T-shirt sleeve which he agreed could be a fragment from the range produced by his company.

But under cross-examination by the defence, Mr Grech admitted T-shirts bearing the same label were also produced in Spain while, of those manufactured in Malta, 60% were exported. Mr Paul Gauci, 46, managing director of Maltese distribution company Big Ben, told how, at the time of the Pan Am bombing, his company distributed clothing across the island to a number of shops, including one named in court as Mary's House.

He identified a label from the fragment of a baby suit, displayed in court, and Abanderado T-shirts as similar to ones he had supplied to the Slima store. The indictment alleges one of the accused, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, bought clothing and an umbrella at Mary's House on December 7, 1988.

The trial, which is expected to last at least a year, was adjourned until today when the cross-examination of Professor Peel is expected to resume.