Daughter of British ISIS victim comes face to face with her father’s killer

Bethany Haines, whose father David was killed by so-called Islamic State, spoke to ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo after coming face-to-face with one of the terror cell who murdered him

The daughter of an aid worker put to death by Islamic State has been told by one of his killers how her father asked his executor Jihadi John to “please make it quick” after he was found “by chance.”

David Haines was one of those abducted and executed by a gang of four IS militants dubbed the 'Beatles' due to their British accents, who carried out wanton acts of brutality in the mid 2010s.

His body has never been found and his daughter, Bethany, has been looking for answers ever since her father’s murder in September 2014.

During a two-hour meeting in Virginia with ‘Beatle’ Alexanda Kotey, who is originally from Paddington in London, Bethany told ITV News she was given new details about how her father was followed before his abduction and how his torment was extended.

'He told me that Jihadi John had been away to execute my father... and said ‘can you make it quick?''

“He was talking about Jihadi John’s execution of my father and it was surreal,” she said, referring to Mohammed Emwazi, the man known as Jihadi John who killed Mr Haines.

“And he told me that Jihadi John had been away to execute my father and my father knew what was coming and had said – he closed his eyes, which we saw the picture of – and said ‘can you make it quick?’”

Kotey revealed to Bethany that her father's death was delayed to give his killers time to film from different angles for their propaganda video.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty last September to a leadership role in the scheme to torture, hold for ransom and behead four American hostages, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.

The ‘Beatles’ were also responsible for the killings of a number of Western captives, believed to include Mr Haines.

For the first time, Bethany listened to how Kotey, who is now serving eight life sentences, claimed her father was taken by the terror group and eventually killed.

'By chance they had found my father... they followed them'

“I came in with loads of questions, maps, and I ended up hardly using any of it because the conversation flowed so easily,” she said.

“He was open... that he personally did abduct my father. He told me it was by chance they had found my father and Federico [another aid worker] a couple of days before they were abducted.

“And they followed them and put a tail on them and eventually they went and abducted them, so that was new.”

David Haines and his daughter Bethany Credit: Handout

According to the agreements of his plea bargain, Kotey may be brought to the UK to serve some of his sentence and may also face further trial over the deaths of Mr Haines and another Brit, Alan Henning.

Kotey, who refused to apologise for Mr Haines’ death during an interview with ITV News in 2019, said he is sorry to Bethany during their meeting, she said.

“The final question, I asked for an apology. I pressed on with it and eventually he did say I am sorry for – he just used my words for it ‘abducting and hurting your dad’,” she said.

“Did he mean it? No.”

Despite the sense of finality offered by meetings like the one Bethany had with Kotey, the legacy of this cell and these cases continues, Rohit Kachroo reports from Washington

Bethany, who said before her meeting with Kotey that she would not accept to shake his hand but wanted to remain “cool and calm”, expected she would need to be “assertive” to get any answers.

But she described the sit-down as an “honest conversation.”

'We’re having an honest, friendly conversation'

“I’m expecting to go in there passive aggressive and having to be assertive, answer my questions,” she said.

“And he’s smiling, he’s chatting, he’s telling me things and we’re having an honest, friendly conversation.

“I walked in, said hello to his lawyer, and just sat down and said ‘I’m not going to say it’s nice to meet you because it’s not.’ He just kind of nodded.”

Kotey was sentenced on eight counts – four counts of hostage-taking resulting in death; conspiracy to commit hostage-taking resulting in death; conspiracy to murder United States citizens outside of the United States; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, hostage-taking and murder, resulting in death; and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation resulting in death

He was given one life sentence for each of the eight counts he has pleaded guilty to, which are due to run concurrently.