Hexapole state selection is used to prepare CH<inf>3</inf>I molecules in the |JKM〉 = |1±1∓1〉 state. The molecules are aligned in a strong 800 nm laser field, which is linearly polarised perpendicular to the weak static extraction field E of the time of flight setup. The molecules are subsequently ionised by a second time delayed probe laser pulse. It will be shown that in this geometry at high enough laser intensities the Newton sphere has sufficient symmetry to apply the inverse Abel transformation to reconstruct the three dimensional distribution from the projected ion image. The laser induced controllable alignment was found to have the upper and lower extreme values of 〈P<inf>2</inf>(cos )〉 = 0.7 for the aligned molecule and -0.1 for the anti-aligned molecule, coupled to 〈P<inf>4</inf>(cos θ)〉 between 0.3 and 0.0. The method to extract the alignment parameters 〈P<inf>2</inf>(cos θ)〉 and 〈P<inf>4</inf>(cos θ)〉 directly from the velocity map ion images will be discussed.