British officials are investigating claims that the beheaded body of Ken Bigley, the engineer murdered by Iraqi insurgents, is buried in an unmarked grave near the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
Mr Bigley, 62, from Liverpool, was killed in October 2004 after being kidnapped, but his body was never found. A macabre video of his decapitation was later released and broadcast by satellite TV.
In a dramatic development, a suspected senior figure in al-Qa'ida, Louai al-Sakka, has claimed Mr Bigley's body was buried in a ditch outside Fallujah and that he presided over the "court" which condemned Mr Bigley to death.
Mr al-Sakka, a Syrian, is on trial in Turkey for alleged involvement in a series of bombings in Istanbul in 2003, including attacks on the British consulate and HSBC bank, which left 61 dead, including the British consul, Roger Short.
In Istanbul yesterday Mr al-Sakka's lawyer, Osman Karahan, confirmed his client's allegations, but refused to say if Mr al-Sakka had murdered Mr Bigley. He claimed Mr Bigley's grave was at an entrance to Fallujah, 50 metres from an insurgent checkpoint.
British diplomats are thought to be trying to interview Mr al-Sakka before attempting to find the alleged site of the grave. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We never regard a case like this as closed."
Mr Bigley's brother, Stan, said: "I don't think anyone knows whether or not these claims are true. It is very frustrating," he said.Reuse content