The harrowing evidence from a Beatles hostage which aided the conviction of El Shafee Elsheikh

Hostages hold handwritten messages to governments around the world pleading for ransom money. Credit: William J Hennessy Jnr

Warning: This article contains descriptions of evidence played during the trial of El Shafee Elsheikh which readers may find distressing.

The Western hostages the 'Beatles' and Islamic State killed were just some of those whose lives were ended.

Far more Syrians and Iraqis died or went missing at their hands, thousands of Yazidis were also captured or killed. Many are still missing.

The murder of one Syrian man was carried out as a warning to Western hostages and their families and replayed in court.

With court sketches of the hostages holding the papers in the grave where the body fell.

The hollow eyed men holding the messages were forced into the grave - fearful they were next. Credit: William J Hennessy Jnr

A Syrian man stands on the edge of deep ditch. It looks like a grave and it soon will be. He is handcuffed and blindfolded. A small group of other men watch on. Against the wind they struggle to hold handwritten messages to governments around the world pleading for ransom money.

A man with a gun stands behind the Syrian. Another frames up his camera. They fret about filming properly. In English they warn they only have “one try at this”.

Another English voice asks “are we good?”.

The voices are of El Shafee Elsheikh, Alexander Kotey and Mohammed Emwazi, their London accents unmistakable.

There is a gunshot and the Syrian man plunges into the pit. More shots are fired down into his body.

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The hollow eyed men holding the messages are forced into the grave, they know they could be next and their messages plead for their lives.

They are eventually allowed to clamber out and are driven back to their cell by their captors, who were “super excited” by their kill.

The dreadful scene was played to a silent courtroom as part of El Shafee Elsheikh's trial.

It was part of the harrowing evidence from Federico Motka, one of the hostages who survived to tell of the hell he and his fellow captives endured at the hands of ISIS.

Who the man was they didn’t know and we will never know. What matters is that while the focus is on the Western hostages who were killed, the fate of so many others in Iraq and Syria is never forgotten.