ISIS Beatle victim’s daughter tells killer he destroyed his own child’s life too


Mourning Bethany Haines will sit down with a member of the terrorist cell that beheaded her father and deliver him an extraordinary letter.

In the note, she will remind torturer Alexanda Kotey that they will both be missing loved ones this Father’s Day.

Bethany was robbed of her aid worker father, David, by Kotey and the so-called ISIS Beatles – four Londoners-turned-jihadists wreaking havoc in Syria.

Justice caught up with Kotey in 2018 so that neither he nor his daughter will ever experience the joy that Father’s Day brings again.

And Bethany will ram that point home when she meets Kotey in a US prison for up to four hours in eight days.

The mother of a child is afraid of the meeting – but knows that it is necessary.

Bethany and David Haines


bethany haines

Bethany Haines, daughter of the decapitated David Haines


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She told the Sunday Mirror: “I have the opportunity to write him a letter and I will give it to him when I sit down with him in prison.

“I want him to understand the devastating impact his actions have had on others, including his own 17-year-old daughter.

“It’ll say, ‘Just like my dad, you didn’t celebrate Father’s Day.

“I haven’t seen my father and you haven’t seen your daughter. But for you it is optional.

“You have the rest of your life to deal with it.”

Kotey, 38, was sentenced to life in prison in April after pleading guilty to terrorism charges against hostages in Syria – including Brit David in 2014.

In court, 24-year-old Bethany read a moving victim’s impact statement while looking him straight in the eye.

She also wrote a heartfelt message to her father and will bury it under a special tree that her family uses in place of a grave to celebrate Father’s Day.

Bethany writes about her dread of meeting Kotey, how she still feels David could call at any moment to say he’s on his way home – and celebrates the fact that two of his tormentors are now found guilty became.

It reads: ‘I think we can now say we won! We have them! The monsters are gone and will never be free again.”

El Shafee el-Sheikh (L) and Alexanda Kotey (R)


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And she vowed to find David’s remains in the hills of Syria and bring them back to Britain, writing: “I promise I won’t stop until I bring you home.”

Bethany also hopes to speak to the security services and finally get to Syria to give David a proper burial.

He was abducted from a refugee camp in 2013 and held for 18 months by El Shafee Elsheikh, Kotey, Mohammed Emwazi and Aine Davis – all from west London.

In 2014, video of the gaunt and pale David, 44, kneeling next to knife-wielding Emwazi – dubbed Jihadi John – shocked the world.

It ended with his beheading – one of 27 the group is said to have carried out.

Emwazi died in a drone strike in Syria in 2015, while Davis, 38, was being held in Turkey in 2017 and sentenced to seven and a half years for membership of a terrorist organization.

Earlier this year, Elsheikh was found guilty of kidnapping and conspiracy to murder.

He will be sentenced in August.

Mohammed Emwazi, Jihadi John



Kotey was sentenced to life in prison for each of the eight charges he admitted. Bethany, from Perthshire, says: “I have compiled notes and have 200 pages that helped piece together my father’s days in captivity.

“I learned difficult things in the process – like how he was treated with the waterboarding.

“Kotey was the one holding a towel over my father’s head. It was difficult to listen. When he was convicted, I walked across the court and told him to “go to hell.”

“I know my father wanted me to speak my mind and I did. Since then, I’ve felt like I’m getting closer to graduation.

“It feels like we accomplished something for my father this year by incarcerating Kotey and Elsheikh.”

Despite facing her father’s abusers in court, Bethany says meeting Kotey face-to-face is her biggest challenge yet. He is being held in Virginia and meeting the victims’ families is a condition of his conviction.

Bethany continues, “I have mixed feelings about the meeting. I know it’s now or never.

David with daughter Bethany and dog Dusty in 2012


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“I want to question him calmly and calmly, but I know I have to try not to get angry and attack him.

“I am preparing a questionnaire and will practice it with the police. I try out scenarios of what I want to say to him. I have a 25-page letter from him that we all received after the conviction.

“I’ll break this down in detail. I don’t want an apology or for him to ask for forgiveness. Something like that will be fake, I know that. He’s had meetings with other families in the last few weeks and he cried at one.

“I’ve also heard that he has admitted a small degree of guilt but has shown no real remorse. If it had been up to me, he would have gotten the death penalty. I just want answers, I need to add them to my notes on what happened to dad.

“My ultimate goal is to find Dad’s remains and get him home as soon as possible. I’ve done enough research to believe I know how to push Kotey’s buttons.

“I want him to be as uncomfortable as possible.”

Bethany says the court cases have allowed her to regain some positivity.

She adds: “Father’s days are often difficult. In recent years I have taken a letter to a tree in the woods that my father used to take me to ride my bike with as a child.

David Haines poses with his daughter Bethany in Millport in 2011


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“Without a grave, the tree feels like the best place to connect with. I have a tradition of burying the letter under the tree. The letters are often rather dejected in tone.

“But this year I feel like I have even more positives to share for dad.”

The letter begins: “Dad, it’s another Father’s Day without you. It still feels like I’m on an endless journey to a far away land and like I get a text or a call every day to say I’m on my way home.”

He continued: “I stood in court, looked them in the eye and told them what they had done to our family. I hope I made you proud and you would have rolled your eyes when I asked him to “go to hell”.

“I’m scared of facing him in a room, but I know it’s the right thing to do and the right thing isn’t always the easiest. He will regret the day he dared to hurt our family.”

And the letter ends: “Every time I look up at the stars I see your face and I know you are up there encouraging me to keep going. Until we meet again. Your loving daughter Bethany”.

She shares how she keeps David’s memory alive by talking about “Grandad” with her son.

Recalling their last Father’s Day together, she says: “I remember we did an early Father’s Day because he went to Turkey, the trip he disappeared on.

“We went for coffee, watched a Disney movie and I remember him saying, ‘Stay strong and take care of your mother.’ I never thought this would be the last we shared together.

“Father was a special person. There was the helper that people seem to know, seen in the orange jumpsuit, but then there was the smiling, happy man I knew.

“The guy who wore cargo pants, loved Disney movies, and made horrid dad jokes. He was my hero.”

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