A Scottish aid worker kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan paid the “ultimate price” for helping others, an inquest heard.
Khalil Dale told friends and colleagues at the International Red Cross he was ready to risk his life to carry out his humanitarian mission.
The 60 year-old’s heartbroken fiancée, who described him as “a legend”, listened as the court was told that Mr Dale was snatched off a busy street by masked gunmen in January 2012.
His captors demanded $30million (£19.5 m) for his return, but both the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UK Government refused to pay a ransom to men they believed were terrorists.
Months later the Muslim convert’s body was dumped in an orchard with a note saying had been killed because their terms had not been met. Local police blamed the Taliban.
But a senior civil servant revealed that more than three years on the identities of those responsible for a killing, condemned by David Cameron as “shocking and merciless”, remain unknown.
The inquest heard that Khalil agreed to go to Quetta, in south-west Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan – a place he described it as the most dangerous on earth.
He had spent many years working as an aid worker and had also previously worked as a nurse in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary. Mr Dale volunteered for the aid mission despite previously having been being taken hostage and tortured and witnessing two colleagues killed.
He had been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, but was still determined to carry on his work.
Chesterfield Coroners Court was told Mr Dale was kidnapped as he drove home in a marked Red Cross vehicle on January 6, 2012. Passers-by found his decapitated body on the roadside on April 29 with the note. Both the International Committee of the Red Cross and Government said they had done everything possible to secure his release and had been in constant contact with the abductors.
After the killing the Pakistani government said it would stop at nothing to find and punish the killers.
But, in a statement read out in court, Jonathan Allen, of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated: “It remains unclear who kidnapped Mr Dale and what their motive was.”
Derbyshire’s senior coroner Dr Robert Hunter described the kidnap as “professional” and said the aid worker was “specifically targeted”.
But he added: “It’s difficult to say whether this was a criminal abduction at the hands of a criminal gang for financial gain or whether this was a political abduction at the hands of terrorists.”