British terrorist who hunted hostages as an Isis ‘Beatle’ jailed for life

Alexanda Kotey, left, was convicted at a US court alongside El Shafee Elsheikh (Picture: Getty/AP)

A British terrorist who helped Islamic State capture hostages who were later tortured and executed has been jailed in the US for life.

Alexanda Amon Kotey, a 38-year-old Londoner who converted to Islam in his early 20s, was one of four militants in nicknamed ‘The Beatles’ by their captives due to their British accents.

Dubbed ‘Jihadi George’, he embarked on a series of brutal hostage-taking missions before working as a recruiter, sniper and ‘English media department’ officer for the terror group.

His captives included American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, whose beheadings in 2014 were shown on the internet and international TV.

That year, IS also posted a video showing the ringleader of the ‘Beatles’, ‘Jihadi John’, standing over the severed head of US aid worker Peter Kassig.

Kotey was convicted in connection with all three killings as well as that of another aid worker, Kayla Mueller, who died in 2015 in unknown circumstances after a spell in captivity.

He showed no emotion as judge Thomas Selby Ellis delivered his verdict at Alexandria District Court, Virginia, while members of his victims’ families watched on.

Kotey was given one life sentence for each of the eight counts he has pleaded guilty to, which are due to run concurrently.

Judge Ellis described his actions as ‘egregious, violent and inhumane’ but praised the victims and their family as ‘undeniably heroes’.

Kotey was stripped of British citizenship in 2018 but could serve part of his sentence in England (Picture: AP)

Speaking of the victim’s Judge Ellis said: ‘These were not prisoners of war, these weren’t soldiers in the field…they were soldiers for good.’

The charges against Kotey related only to American victims, although he was due to come face-to-face with the families of other murdered hostages, including two Brits, as they read impact statements to the court.

The brother of Yorkshire-born aid worker David Haines, Mike, said before the hearing: ‘That is the real reason (for) going out to read my impact statement to the court, to draw a line in the sand and say: “Yes, you have played a big part in my family’s life, you have had a hold on my family’s life”.

‘However, now, that stops.’

Kotey pleaded guilty in September to four counts of hostage taking resulting in death, one count of conspiracy to commit hostage taking resulting in death, and one count of conspiracy to murder American citizens outside of the US.

He also admitted conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation, resulting in death, and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, hostage taking and murder, resulting in death.

He said that when he left Britain he held ‘the belief and understanding that the Islamic concept of armed jihad was a valid and legitimate cause and means by which a Muslim defends his fellow Muslim against injustice’.

Kotey was stripped of British citizenship in 2018, although he could be returned to England after 15 years to serve the rest of his sentence and face new charges relating to other victims.

He was captured in Syria by Kurdish freedom fighters in 2015 (Picture: AP)

The Kuwait-born man known as ‘Jihadi John’, Mohammed Emwazi, was Ki**ed in a US drone strike in 2015.

The cell also included Aine Davis, 38, who was jailed in Turkey in 2017 for seven-and-a-half years, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, who was convicted in the US earlier this month for his role in four hostage-takings and faces a life sentence.

Kotey and Elsheikh were captured by Kurdish freedom fighters in Syria in 2018 while trying to flee to Turkey as Islamic State’s presence in the area crumbled.


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