Web video shows last appeal of Bigley


A video tape posted on the Internet today shows British hostage Kenneth Bigley making a final appeal to the British government to meet his captors' demands before he was beheaded by a militant group in Iraq.

"Here I am again Mr Blair and your government, very, very close to the end of my life ... I'm not a difficult person. I am a simple man who just wants to live a simple life with his family," the tape shows the 62-year-old engineer saying before masked men severed his head with a knife.

"These people, their patience is wearing very, very thin and they are very serious people. Please, please give them what they require, the freedom of the women in Abu Ghraib prison. If you do this the problem is solved," said Mr Bigley, who was sitting on the floor with militants standing behind him.

Insurgent sources in Iraq had said the Briton escaped briefly from his captors shortly before they killed him in a town southwest of Baghdad on Thursday.

He was kidnapped on September 16th along with two Americans who were beheaded soon after the abductions by the Tawhid and Jihad group led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which demanded the release of women prisoners from US jails in Iraq.

"To the British people, more than ever I need your help, more than ever I need your voices, to go out into the streets and demand a better life for the females and women who are in prison in Abu Ghraib," said Mr Bigley who was wearing an orange jump suit like those worn by detainees in US prisons.

The four-minute tape, posted on Web sites often used by Islamists, showed militants holding up the Briton's severed head and then placing it on top of the corpse.