Hostage families face horrors as Alexanda Kotey pleads guilty but without a shred of remorse

Emmy Murphy reports on how Alexanda Kotey admitted his guilt but did not appear to show remorse for his horrific actions

There is a big difference between an admission of guilt and acknowledgement of wrong.

Alexanda Kotey is the personification of it.

In an American courtroom he admitted being part of an ISIS terror cell, known as The Beatles, and pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to the kidnapping and torture of four Americans which led to their eventual murder.

He admitted sending ransom demands to their families knowing they would go to their deaths if the demands were not met.

On Wednesday, ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reported on the latest developments on Kotey's case

The families of James Foley, Kayla Muller, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig were in court to hear him plead guilty to eight charges without a shred of remorse, humility or shame.

Dressed in a green prison issue boiler suit, the 37-year-old from London - described by the judge as a “specially designated global terrorist” - had the bored look of person listening to the lengthy terms and conditions you get when buying insurance.

Diane Foley, mother of journalist James Foley, who was killed by the Islamic State terrorist group in a graphic video released online. Credit: AP

As the dreadful, brutal detail of his crimes and the dreadful, brutal ends of his victims were read out, he glanced over at the families who have somehow survived the agony he bestowed on them.

The hands that had inflicted such harm gently fiddled with the hair of his straggly beard.

Occasionally he flicked through the pages of the charges against him.

I have seen people in court for minor traffic offences look more sorry.

Alexanda Amon Kotey speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at a security center in Kobani, Syria. Credit: AP

He has agreed to this guilty plea deal to save himself from a lifetime in one of America’s highest level prisons.

He will get the chance to return to the UK in 15 years if he sticks to the deal.

Between now and then he must tell foreign governments all he knows about crimes committed and must meet with any of the families who wish to meet with him.

He was asked to explain his own crimes. Instead he read from a prepared statement, three times pulled up by the judge, telling him he didn’t want justification or reason but detail.

It made no difference he ploughed on. His voice strong, his back straight.

A Kurdish security officer escorts Alexanda Amon Kotey, right, and El Shafee Elsheikh, at a security center in Kobani in Syria in 2018. Credit: AP

Just a few feet away the families, so dignified and resilient, seemed to shrink into their seats, wilting in the presence of the man who brought evil to their worlds.

The judge asked if he had any questions about the deal. He did.

He wanted to clarify that he couldn’t be called to testify against his friend and fellow jihadi who is due to face trial also in the United States.

The devil's pact of evil they shared on Syria’s dusty battlefields still very much in tact.

As his future sentence was explained, the judge told him he would never be free, but as a result of a deal done between the British and US governments he would not be executed.

“You could have received a death sentence but you will get life,” he was told.

How very different from the outcome that befell his victims.

They could have had life, but they got death.