Ken Bigley's family find little comfort in the fate of his killer

Ian Herbert
Friday 09 June 2006 00:00 BST

For the family of Ken Bigley, who was captured and beheaded by insurgents under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's command in 2004, news of the al-Qaida leader's death brought only a mild sense that justice had been served.

Mr Bigley's body remains undiscovered, two years after his kidnap in Baghdad, and his brother, Stan, said he believed now that it would never be found. "I'm glad [Zarqawi] is off the face of the earth, not just for my brother but for all the people he has killed," said Mr Bigley, a lorry driver and former RAF serviceman from Wigan.

"Ken was just one of a multitude of innocent people killed by that man. He was a monster. Personally, I would rather have seen him captured and made to stand in the dock and face justice for what he's done. If that had happened, I would like to have seen him locked up for life rather than given the death penalty. The death penalty is too quick for someone like him. He should have been made to live out his life behind bars. I won't lose any sleep over him being dead. I'm not worried that he's gone."

Zarqawi was rumoured to have been personally involved in Mr Bigley's beheading, two weeks after he was taken hostage along with his American colleagues Jack Hensley, 48, and Eugene Armstrong, 52, in September 2004. The images of Mr Bigley being held in a tiny cage before his death remain a source of torment to his family. Though the lawyer of a suspected al-Qaida militant claimed earlier this year that the body was buried in a ditch at the entrance to Fallujah, it has apparently not been found.

At her home in northern Thailand, Mr Bigley's wife, Sombat, said of Zarqawi: "He's dead, he's dead, it's good. I'm happy. I am still very angry and cannot forgive those who killed my husband. I feel very hurt for Ken losing his life. I hope my husband saw him die, I hope my husband is happy that the man who killed him is dead."

But she indicated that Zarqawi's death would not help her come to terms with the murder of her husband. "I miss him so much," she said. "I want to get Ken's body back so that I can put this behind me."

Mr Bigley's mother, Lil, who suffers from a weak heart, was shielded from television news at the time of his abduction and yesterday the family was again trying to resist speaking about her son in front of her.

Views from Iraq

"This is a black day in Ramadi [the provincial capital]. This a great loss for all the Sunnis. If they killed Zarqawi, more than one Zarqawi will replace him"

Abid al-Duleimi, 40, Sunni from Anbar province, heartland of Sunni-led insurgency

"We hope the killing of Zarqawi and his aides, those who killed many Iraqis, will finish all the terror in Iraq and let everybody live safely"

Anwar Abdul Hussein, baker in Shia slum of Sadr City, Baghdad

"The killing of Zarqawi will not change the bad security situation unless the Iraqi government eliminates all the terrorists"

Yassir al-Hamdani, 25, student in Mosul

"Killing Zarqawi made us very happy... but we have some fears that the followers of this criminal will try to undermine this happiness. I hope the Government will hit with an iron fist. I hope this day will be turning point"

Abdul-Amir Ahmed Ali, Shia Muslim from Najaf

"The killing of Zarqawi today reminds me of the toppling of Saddam three years ago. That gave the Iraqis more freedom and now we hope we will have peace"

Adul-Wahid Khalil, teacher in Mosul

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