Member of IS 'Beatles' terror group that killed Scot sentenced to life

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, who grew up in London is known to prosecutors as 'Ringo'.

Member of IS ‘Beatles’ terror group that killed Scot sentenced to life for hostage murders ITV

A member of the so-called Islamic State terror cell known as The Beatles has been jailed for life after being convicted for his role in the murder of American hostages in Syria.

Scot David Haines, from Perthshire, was an aid worker in Syria when he was abducted in March 2013. He was killed by his captors 18 months later.

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, who grew up in London, showed no emotion as judge Thomas Selby Ellis delivered his verdict at Alexandria District Court, Virginia, while members of his victims’ families watched on.

Elsheikh was given a life sentence for each of the eight counts he was convicted of in April, which are due to run concurrently.

David Haines was working for an aid agency when he was captured by Islamic State militants.Family Handout

Judge Ellis described his actions as “horrific, barbaric, brutal and callous”.

Addressing the jihadist, Judge Ellis said: “The behaviour of this defendant and his co-defendant can only be described as horrific barbaric, brutal and callous.

“This is a significant episode in the history of our country and our justice system.”

In April, Alexanda Kotey, another member of the group, was handed eight life sentences.

Mike Haines, the brother of the murdered Scottish aid worker, said he “felt a weight lifted off my shoulders”.

Elsheikh chose not to speak before judge Ellis handed him his life sentences.

However, he has already indicated that he plans to appeal the sentence and will be replacing his legal team.

The Metropolitan Police statement said the force’s Counter Terrorism Command had provided crucial evidence to the US authorities which was used by prosecutors to bring the case to court.

Commander Richard Smith, who leads the Counter Terrorism Command, said: “This is one of the most significant international terrorism cases ever brought to trial.

“These were some of the most barbaric terrorist acts ever seen, carried out with chilling callousness and brutality.

“This is a time to remember all of the victims – those innocent people who were senselessly killed, and also the surviving hostages who experienced unimaginable horrors at the hands of El Shafee Elsheikh and his co-defendant Alexanda Kotey.

“They have shown remarkable fortitude and bravery in giving their accounts of what happened to investigators, and in court.

“I hope that those most affected may take some comfort in knowing that these extremely dangerous men have been brought to justice.”

Commander Smith added: “This was a painstaking investigation, unprecedented in scale, carried out by skilled and determined officers which involved taking tiny fragments of information about these men – gathered from isolated events that occurred years earlier – and piecing them together to paint a compelling picture proving their involvement in terrorist crimes committed in Syria.

“Elsheikh and Kotey thought they were beyond the reach of the law, but they were wrong. I want to acknowledge the huge amount of work prosecutors and law enforcement colleagues in America have done over several years to ensure that justice was achieved for all the victims in this case.

“Tackling terrorism is a truly global effort and this case was an example of how we work closely with law enforcement and security partners in the US, Europe and elsewhere to stop terrorists operating wherever they are in the world.”

Raj Parekh, representing the families, said Elsheikh – known to prosecutors as “Ringo” – remained “defiantly remorseless and unrepentant”.

He noted that the jihadist had made no effort to meet victims’ families, like his co-defendant Alexanda Kotey.

Mr Parekh said victims had described members of The Beatles as “genuine psychopaths without any moral values” and finished by reading portions of the final notes written by hostages to their families before their deaths.

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