Profile of British hostage David Haines

David Haines

The beheading of Briton David Haines, held hostage in Syria, has been shown in a newly released video.

PM David Cameron described the murder as an "act of pure evil".

Mr Haines, a 44-year-old father of two, had been held by Islamic State fighters.

He was the third Western hostage - and first Briton - paraded on camera by the extremist organisation.

Mr Haines was working for a French aid agency when he was kidnapped in Syria in March 2013.

He joined Acted to help co-ordinate the delivery of clean water, food and tents, in order to ease the growing humanitarian crisis in refugee camps near Atmeh, a town in northern Idlib province, near the Syrian border with Turkey.

Mr Haines and other aid workers were staying in Atmeh - and on 12 March he and an Italian colleague, Federico Motka, were kidnapped. Mr Motka was later released.

Born in Holderness, East Yorkshire, Mr Haines was raised in Scotland and attended Perth Academy. His parents live in Ayr.

David Haines David Haines appearing in an interview in Croatia

After leaving school, he worked for Royal Mail, before joining the RAF as an aircraft engineer.

He married his childhood sweetheart, Louise, although they later divorced. The couple had a daughter called Bethany.

Mr Haines served in the UN mission in the Balkans, where, according to a family statement, he "helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion".

After leaving the RAF, he worked for Scotrail, before beginning his career in humanitarian work.

His postings for international aid agencies took him to some of the most dangerous places in the world.

Mr Haines's online business profile also says that he worked for a US company supplying consumer goods to the military around the world - although the company has declined to comment.

Croatian reconstruction

Between 1999 and 2004 he worked for Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB), a German charity carrying out reconstruction work in post-war Croatia.

Mr Haines was the head of a regional office for the charity charged with managing a large European Commission-funded plan to help hundreds of displaced people return to the country and recover and rebuild their homes. He was involved in other projects in Croatia such as rebuilding a kindergarten in Benkovac.

Start Quote

A man's life should never be threatened on account of his humanitarian commitment”

End Quote French charity ACTED

In April 2011, Mr Haines joined another charity, Handicap International, and became the head of its mission in war-torn Libya. The organisation, which carries out de-mining work around the world, sent a team to the country to help educate people about the dangers posed by the weapons and other explosives.

The following year, he moved on to South Sudan, where he worked with Nonviolent Peaceforce, an organisation seeking to facilitate peace initiatives in dangerous environments.

Atmeh refugee camp Atmeh camp: Mr Haines was helping refugees when he was kidnapped

Tiffany Easthom, a director of the organisation, told the American NBC network that Mr Haines was "very caring" and had a good sense of humour.

He met his second wife, Dragana, who is Croatian, while working in the country. They married in 2010 - he wore a kilt - and they settled in Sisak, a town close to where he had overseen relief work. The couple are the parents of a four-year-old girl.

Jozefina Visnjic, a neighbour, told the BBC: "I would see him around with his wife and a kid in a buggy. He would always say hello. Everybody thought he was a good man."

Haines family home in Croatia Mr Haines lived with his wife and daughter in Sisak

Mr Haines returned to aid work in March 2013 when he decided to go to Syria with Acted. Ten days after his arrival, he was kidnapped.

Byron Pacula, of Acted, said: "Acted is deeply appalled and horrified by the assassination of David Haines.

"We strongly condemn with the utmost of force those crimes that have happened against David."

More on This Story

Islamic State

More UK stories



Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.