The daughter of Perth aid worker David Haines says she felt “nothing but disgust” after coming face-to-face with an Isis kidnapper accused of conspiring to murder her father.
Bethany Haines confronted El Shafee Elsheikh during a court hearing before he stands trial next year accused of his involvement in the murder of British and American hostages in Syria between 2014 and 2015.
David Haines, 44, was kidnapped in 2013 and held for 18 months before he was brutally murdered in September 2014 when Bethany was aged just 17.
Isis used the video of Haines’ beheading by Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John”, as propaganda, disseminating it on social media.
Emwazi was killed in a US drone strike in Raqqa, Syria in 2015.
The aid worker had lived in Perth since he was a child, and had worked across the world helping victims of conflict before his murder.
Nearly ten years since her father’s death, Bethany has now faced one of those accused of playing a role.
Elsheikh is said to have been a member of the infamous “Beatles” cell of Isis kidnappers, nicknamed because of their British accents.
He will be the only person to stand trial in the US after Alexanda Kotey pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to the kidnapping, torture and murders of four Americans – including James Foley and Kayla Mueller.
As part of his plea deal Kotey has agreed to meet each of the victims’ families and in return, he will be allowed to return back to the UK after 15 years and serve out the rest of his sentence.
The trial — due to begin in January — will now only include Elsheikh, who still maintains his innocence. Ahead of that, the families came within yards of him at a hearing in Virginia.
ITV News travelled with Bethany to the United States as she saw for the first time the man accused of holding her father hostage.
On the way to the hearing, Bethany said this moment was about “representing her dad”.
Bethany has travelled to Syria in pursuit of learning about her dad’s murder, and she had been adamant that she would travel to the US to look the man charged with conspiring to murder him in the eye.
After sitting yards from him in the courtroom, Bethany she said that she thought he was “scum”.
Daughter of Perth aid worker ‘won’t be intimidated’ by accused killer
Speaking about the impact being in court had on her, she said; “Even hearing my dad’s name in court, I got emotional and had to step out for a moment.”
But she insisted she “wouldn’t be intimidated” by Elsheikh.
“He was masked. And so I couldn’t really tell what his facial expression was.
“He just stared right into my eyes and I stared back. I’m not going to be intimidated by him. I’m not going to look away. You know, I’ve nothing to be ashamed of. He’s the one who’s got to be intimidated or embarrassed.”
Bethany’s journey will form part of ‘The ISIS ‘Beatles’: Blood on their Hands’ documentary, which will air on ITV on Monday 22 November at 11.05pm.