Hostage Ken Bigley murdered
The 7th of October 2004 AD
Engineer Ken Bigley, originally from Liverpool , was one of those who in spite of the volatile situation there chose to work in post-invasion Iraq. He had decided it was his last posting before retirement in his adopted home of Thailand. Mr Bigley had led an adventurous life: after his engineering apprenticeship and national service he emigrated to Australia, moving on to New Zealand and eventually when work opportunities arose back to the UK and later Spain. He had been an entrepreneur, owning supermarkets and pubs, as well as working for several years at the end of his career for contractor Gulf Supplies and Commercial Services.
On September 16 62-year-old Mr Bigley and two American colleagues were kidnapped from their home in the wealthy al-Mansour district of Baghdad. The terrorist group holding them hostage made demands that all Iraqi women held in prison by Britain and America be released, but apparently only two such prisoners existed, and both were anyway due for release shortly according to the Iraqi authorities. The two Americans were murdered soon after their capture. Mr Bigley’s ordeal lasted another two weeks. His captors headed by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi released videos of him pleading for his life, and maximised the impact of his detention on Britain.
On October 7 Ken Bigley was beheaded by the group holding him. It has been reported that with the help of two bribed captors he escaped for a brief period that day, but their car was stopped at an insurgent checkpoint and he was recaptured. Much was made in some quarters of the inability of the British government to obtain his release, but tragically it seems doubtful that anything Britain could do would have prevented al-Zarqawi from murdering his captive.
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