Aid worker paid ultimate price for wanting to help war victims

David Haines with one of his captors
David Haines with one of his captors
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HIS work for international aid agencies and the United Nations took him to some of the most dangerous places in the world.

But his desire to help communities ravaged by war led to David Haines paying the ultimate price.

His family, faith leaders and politicians paid tribute to Mr Haines yesterday as it emerged that another British hostage, Alan Henning, was at risk.

Mr Haines, who was born in Holderness in East Yorkshire but raised in Scotland, had previously served in the RAF and worked for the United Nations in the Balkans.

In a statement issued yesterday by the Foreign Office, his brother Mike said: “His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair.”

Mr Haines had a teenage daughter in Scotland from a previous marriage and a four-year-old daughter, Athea, in Croatia with his present wife, Dragana Haines, 44.

News of Mr Haines’s death came only hours after his family had issued a plea to his captors to contact them. The video begins with an interview clip of the Prime Minister and then shows Mr Haines dressed in orange overalls and kneeling down in front of a man holding a knife in what appears to be a desert location.

In a short statement to the camera, the victim says Mr Cameron is “entirely responsible for my execution” because he “entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State”.

“Unfortunately it is we the British public that in the end will pay the price for our Parliament’s selfish decisions,” he says.

The militant, who appears to be the same individual who featured in the previous beheading videos, says: “Playing the role of the obedient lapdog, Cameron, will only drag you and your people into another bloody and unwinnable war.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg condemned the murder as “barbaric” and promised the Government “will not rest until these killers face justice” while Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was “sickened” at the killing.

Among those calling for the UK to join airstrikes was former head of the Army Lord Dannatt.

“These serial repetitions of murders being put on television screens, they must not lead our governments to conclude that this is too difficult, too dangerous and we do nothing,” he said.

Former naval chief Admiral Lord West of Spithead said the potential for a limited number of civilian casualties from air strikes “pales into insignificance compared with the barbarity of this group.

“We have a perfect right to use all means at our disposal to do something about them,” he added.

British Muslim communities reacted with outrage at the beheading. In a statement, Leeds Muslim Council said it unreservedly condemned “the cold and callous murder of a fellow British citizen”.

Imam of the city’s Makakh Mosque, Dr Qari Asim said: “Isis neither speak for Islam nor is their poisonous ideology shared by Muslims across the globe. In the last few months, we have witnessed horrific and barbaric acts of murder and persecution by IS. It is disgusting to note that perpetrators of such abhorrent acts are claiming to be murdering people in the name of a religion.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury also expressed his horror. The Most Rev Justin Welby said Mr Haines – who was captured in Syria in March last year – was “evilly killed in the place he was serving in love for its suffering people”.

Comment: Page 10; we won’t be bowed says Cameron and killers we underestimate at our peril: Page 11.