Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Murdered Briton David Haines a dedicated aid worker

By Tom Harper

The British hostage killed by Islamic State (Isis) spent much of his working life as an aid worker, helping to protect civilians in some of the world's most dangerous countries.

David Haines (44) used his military experience from 12 years in the RAF to support various humanitarian missions throughout Syria, Libya, Sudan and the Balkans.

However, Mr Haines's long years of assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in the world mattered little to his captors, who seized him 19 months ago close to Syria's border with Turkey.

At the request of the Government, the media agreed not to report details of his capture. But the silence did not produce results and late on Saturday night footage of Mr Haines's shocking murder was posted on the internet.

Mr Haines was born in Holderness, Yorkshire, and was brought up in Perth. He joined the RAF aged 17, and married his "childhood sweetheart", Louise, with whom he had a daughter, Bethany, now aged 17. He then left the RAF and, according to his brother Mike, chose to dedicate his life to "helping people in real need".

In 2013, Mr Haines joined the Paris-based Agency for Technical Co-operation and Development. He had been with the French charity just 10 days when he was kidnapped with a colleague, Italian aid worker Federico Motka, in March that year.

Mr Motka was freed in May this year with the Italian government reportedly handing over almost £5m. The UK Government refuses to pay hostage ransoms.

Mr Haines's daughter Bethany described him as a "hero", and said: "I miss my dad. I would do anything to have him home."

Between 1999 and 2004 he helped to revive abandoned villages and to return refugees to their homes in the former Yugoslavia. Nena Skoric, his landlady at the time, said he once organised a charity concert against landmines. "He was such a good man and he was like one of my family," she said.

At the height of the Libyan civil war in 2011, he travelled to Tripoli, where he worked with the emergency charity Handicap International on de-mining programmes.

A year later, Mr Haines travelled to South Sudan, where he was a security manager for a civilian peacekeeping group.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph