IS Beatles’ terror victim’s brother ‘ready to stare down those who killed David Haines’

Mike Haines is in the US to read a victim impact statement as Londoner Alexanda Kotey is sentenced. Credit: PA/AP

The brother of a murdered British aid worker said he is prepared to stare down the so-called Islamic State terrorists accused of murdering his sibling when he comes face-to-face with them for the first time later this week. Mike Haines, whose brother David was killed in 2014, is in the US to read a victim impact statement as Londoner Alexanda Kotey is sentenced for his role in the terror cell’s murder of four hostages.

The group, dubbed The Beatles due to their English accents, was said to be made up of ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, Aine Davis, El Shafee Elsheikh and Kotey.

Bethany Haines and her father David and El Shafee Elsheikh. Credit: ITV

It was responsible for the brutal killings of a number of Western captives, believed to include Britons Alan Henning and Mr Haines, who was captured by militants in Syria in March 2013 while delivering aid to the war-torn country. The charges against Kotey, and his co-accused Elsheikh, who was convicted after trial this month, only feature US victims, but both he and Elsheikh will appear in court in Virginia on Friday when the families of those murdered by the terror cell address the judge on their collective loss. Elsheikh is expected to be sentenced at a later date.

Mr Haines, a 55-year-old RAF veteran and former mental health nurse, said: “In some ways obviously I am quite nervous, and in other ways I am looking forward to staring them in the face, to drawing a line behind what has happened. “And that is the real reason (for) going out to read my impact statement to the court – to draw a line in the sand and say: ‘Yes, you have played a big part in my family’s life, you have had a hold on my family’s life. “‘However, now, that stops’.” Elsheikh, Kotey and Emwazi all knew each other in England before joining IS. Elsheikh was captured alongside Kotey in Syria in 2018 by the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces while trying to escape to Turkey.

Davis was jailed in Turkey and Emwazi was killed in a drone strike, while Kotey last year pleaded guilty to eight counts relating to his involvement in the hostage plot.

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo spoke to both Kotey and Elsheikh after they were captured.

In 2019, ITV News quizzed Elsheikh about the death of Briton David Haines

Elsheikh said that he would "offer my sincere apology" for his role in the logistical side of the terror group. But added that he has "no problem apologising" for moving Mr Haines from location to location during his time in captivity. Kotey, however, remained evasive when pressed by Rohit Kachroo: "I won't forget what I've said before." 

In another interview, Kotey explained how after travelling to Syria from London with Mohammed Emwazi they were introduced to western prisoners in the Idlib countryside. He said that he forced hostages to share the email addresses of relatives so he could inform them their loved ones were being held.

The Londoner also admitted helping to organise the plot and direct funds toward the UK terrorists.

Mr Haines, from Dundee in Scotland, said he would cherish the opportunity to sit down with Kotey to “look him in the eyes and tell him he has been misguided”. And in an extraordinary demonstration of his rejection of hatred, Mr Haines added: “What I would like to hear, although I don’t think it will ever happen, is for Kotey to say: ‘I’m sorry, what we were doing was wrong.’ “And if that was to happen, (for him to say) ‘What we were doing was not about Islam … it was about the spread of terror’, then I would actually shake his hand.” His brother's murder sent shockwaves around the world when a video recording of his barbaric execution was used as propaganda by the Beatles. The family still do not know what has happened to the body.

On the way to the hearing, Bethany said this moment was about “representing her dad” 

In 2021, ITV News travelled with David Haine's daughter Bethany to the United States as she saw for the first time the man accused of holding her father hostage.

She said she felt "nothing but disgust" having come face-to-face with Elsheikh at the court hearing.

Ms Haines was just 17 when her father David was killed- since his death she has travelled to Syria to learn of his final days before he was murdered by ISIS.  

Listen to 'Shamima Begum: The Blame Game', available on Apple podcasts