Daughter of IS murder victim David Haines to travel to Syria to find father’s remains

The bereaved daughter of a man who was murdered by the Islamic State is traveling to Syria on a quest to find her father’s remains.

Bethany Haines, from Perthshire, said that a mystery man called her and gave her a tip-off.

She will make the journey from America to the Middle East with map coordinates of the exact location where the body of her dad, David, is thought to be.

The 24-year-old told The Mirror how she made it her goal to bring him home and lay him to rest.

She said: “I’ve made it my goal to bring him home for a proper burial. I won’t rest until that happens.”

David Haines was captured and beheaded in 2014 after being held by a four-man terrorist group

The mum-of-one also plans a memorial to David and others executed by IS.

She was a schoolgirl when video of her father’s murder horrified the world in 2014. She has since visited Syria to look for his remains and now plans to return, believing the caller “obviously wanted to help me”.

Bethany was speaking from America, where she is watching the trial of one of her father’s tormenters.

David Hayes
David Hayes

El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, was one of the four Londoners in IS who were dubbed “The Beatles” by hostages because of their British backgrounds.

Ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was filmed killing David in a propaganda video. The next year, the monster was taken out in a drone strike.

Dad-of-two David, a former RAF engineer born in Holderness, East Yorks was working for a French agency when he was kidnapped in Syria in March 2013.

David Haines in South Sudan in 2012
David Haines in South Sudan in 2012

Elsheikh was said to be the main torturer and last week Bethany looked him in the eye as he went on trial in Virginia.

He is the last of the gang to face justice and denies eight charges related to the capture, detention and deaths of six US and Japanese aid workers and journalists, as well as David and fellow Brit Alan Henning.

On Wednesday a court heard how Elsheikh seemed to enjoy and take “satisfaction” from the “horrific” torture of hostages.

Prosecutors said he served as a prison guard for the foreign hostages and acted as a go-between with their families as the cell tried to get ransoms.

Bethany and her dad David
Bethany and her dad David

The defense tried to claim Elsheikh was a “simple IS fighter” and it was a case of mistaken identity.

Bethany has said she wants her father’s killers “hung from a tree”. She said: “If it was up to me these men would get the death sentence but because of the extradition agreement, that can’t happen. I’ve been shown the maximum-security jail they’re likely to be sent to. I’m happy they’ll have a suitably horrible time.”

Bethany says she has pieced together her dad’s final months by speaking to fellow hostages, Syrian police and government officials.

And she will face another of the “Beatles” – Alexanda Kotey, 38 – as part of the conditions of his guilty plea.

She said: “I’ll have no fear. I’ll put my theory on where dad is to him, then I can start arranging a dig. I do fear my dad’s body was burned.

“Other hostages’ remains were burned as the ground was too hard to dig a grave. But there will still be part of him I can bring home so me and my son can properly say goodbye.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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