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El Shafee Elsheikh’s victims’ families say his silence ‘speaks volumes’

El Shafee Elsheikh victims’ families say his silence ‘speaks volumes’ (Andrew Harnik/AP)
El Shafee Elsheikh victims’ families say his silence ‘speaks volumes’ (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The families of hostages kept by British terrorist El Shafee Elsheikh say the jihadist’s refusal to address them at his sentencing “speaks volumes”.

The loved ones of US journalist James Foley and humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller, who were both killed in Syria, said they think Elsheikh “still believes he was doing the right thing”.

The 34-year-old Londoner, a member of the British Islamic terror cell dubbed The Beatles, was jailed for life at a US federal court in Virginia on Friday after being convicted of crimes relating to the hostage murder plot in April.

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The families of James Foley and Kayla Mueller said they think Elsheikh ‘still believes he was doing the right thing’ (Andrew Harnik/AP)

He attended the sentencing in person, wearing a dark green prison jumpsuit, white trainers and black face-covering, and wore glasses.

At times, he appeared to turn his head in the direction of those reading out their victim impact statements.

Elsheikh was given the opportunity to speak by judge Thomas Selby Ellis before receiving his sentence, but he declined to do so.

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Speaking outside court, the families of Mr Foley and Ms Mueller said they were ‘not shocked’ by Elsheikh’s silence (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Speaking outside court, the families of Mr Foley and Ms Mueller said they were “not shocked” by his silence.

Diane Foley, mother of Mr Foley, said: “I had hoped he would speak but I think he just doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to say he has any regret.”

Asked if words from Elsheikh would have made a difference to how she felt, she added: “Well, yes, but he didn’t want to so that speaks volumes.”

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Carl Mueller said the jihadist was ‘without remorse’ throughout the trial (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Carl Mueller, father of Kayla Mueller, said: “I didn’t expect him to speak. He’s been obviously cold, without remorse, throughout the whole trial.

“I still think he believes he was doing the right thing.”

Mr Mueller’s wife, Marsha, added: “I was hoping he would speak but I wasn’t shocked that he didn’t.”

Elsheikh received eight concurrent life sentences but is expected to appeal and replace his legal team.