‘Beatles’ terror victim’s brother felt ‘weight lift’ after sentence

Mike Haines said the verdict, which handed eight life sentences to terrorist Alexanda Kotey, was the ‘closing of a door’.

Mike Bedigan
Friday 29 April 2022 22:02
‘Beatles’ terror victim’s brother felt ‘weight lift of shoulders’ after sentence (Jonathan Brady/PA)
‘Beatles’ terror victim’s brother felt ‘weight lift of shoulders’ after sentence (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The brother of murdered aid worker David Haines said he “felt a weight lifted off my shoulders” after one of the men responsible for his brother’s murder was put behind bars for life.

Mike Haines said the verdict, which handed eight life sentences to terrorist Alexanda Kotey, was the “closing of a door” and that “that part of my life” was now over.

Kotey was part of the Isis militant cell dubbed The Beatles due to their English accents, responsible for the brutal killings of a number of Western captives, believed to include Britons Alan Henning and David Haines.

He was sentenced for his role in the terror cell’s murder of four hostages on Friday at a US federal court in Virginia.

Mr Haines, an RAF veteran and former mental health nurse, was one of 13 people who read victim impact statements to the court before the sentence was passed.

Kotey was part of an Isis militant cell dubbed The Beatles due to their English accents (ITV/PA)

“The opportunity to stand in front of them and reject their hatred, the acts of hatred that took my brother’s life and the other hostages … it was the closing of a door,” he told the PA news agency.

“I know that part of my life is over.

“I’ve still had times when I’ve felt hate, we all feel hate but today I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.

“They have faced justice, they are now going to face the penalties for their crimes and that is important.”

Mr Haines, who runs education charity Global Acts Of Unity in honour of his brother, acknowledged that “every person is different” and may process their grief differently.

“There’s no one way that is right,” he said.

“All I know is that for me, drawing that line in the sand and closing that door, it releases their hold on me and on my immediate family.

“I can walk away free from their hold and concentrate on the work of Global Acts of Unity.”

He continued: “I don’t want an ‘oh I’m sorry’ to make me or my family feel better.

“What I want from them at some point, because it will come, when they question and they realise that their actions were not about Islam, that it was about the spread of hate.

“When that happens, that’s the win.”

I’ve still had times when I’ve felt hate, we all feel hate but today I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders

Mike Haines

Mr Haines said the basic message of his charity, the rejection of hatred, would always be the same.

Asked how he would like his brother to be remembered he said: “I want my brother to be remembered as the pain in the arse that he was, the irritable, opinionated, argumentative person he was.

“He did good things, he did bad things but what he did do was go and help his fellow man regardless of colour, culture, faith or politics.

“That is what made him a hero, and that is what makes all of our humanitarians modern day heroes.

“That is what I want David to be remembered for, not the way he was murdered.”

As per 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 Mr Henning.

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