Family of UK hostage Alan Henning sent audio plea for life
Islamic State captors send recording to aid worker's wife, in which he pleads for his life
Islamic State militants have sent an audio recording to the family of kidnapped UK aid worker Alan Henning in which he is heard pleading for his life. The recording, and details about it, have not been made public.
The BBC says Henning's wife, Barbara, issued a message in response, calling on Islamic State (IS) to release him. Meanwhile, the UK has said it is "getting warm" in the hunt to locate a British-accented man seen in his captors' beheading videos.
Henning, a 47-year-old taxi driver from Eccles, was delivering aid from the UK to Syria when he was taken hostage in December. "He went to Syria to help his Muslim friends deliver much-needed aid," said Barbara Henning.
In a message to the kidnappers issued through the Foreign Office, she added: "I and people representing me continue to reach out to those holding Alan. Islamic State continue to ignore our pleas to open dialogue. He was working with Muslims to help the most vulnerable within Syria."
She continued: "We are at a loss why those leading Islamic State cannot open their hearts and minds to the facts surrounding Alan's imprisonment and why they continue to threaten his life. I have been told that he has been to a Sharia court and found innocent of being a spy and declared to be no threat. I implore Islamic State to abide by the decisions of their own justice system. Please release Alan."
The Daily Mail says the digital recording of Henning is "assumed" to have been sent to Barbara Henning by email and is thought to have been the first time she has heard her husband's voice in nine months.
The Mail says it is not known whether the recording was made before or after US air strikes on IS in Syria, which began on Monday. Henning's brother-in-law, Colin Livesey, told ITV News he believes the strikes have put his brother at risk.
Livesey said he believes attacks on IS positions could force Henning's captors to flee from the underground tunnel network beneath the city of Raqqa where they are believed to be holding hostages.
Livesey said: "It scares me. They'll just run away, they'll take him with them, and no one knows where he is again."