Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 13:41 UK

Body of Iraq hostage arrives home

Alec MacLachlan
Alec MacLachlan was seized at Baghdad's Ministry of Finance

The body of a British security guard killed after being taken hostage in Iraq has been flown back to the UK.

The Foreign Office said the body of Alec MacLachlan, 30, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, had arrived on a flight from Baghdad.

Members of his family were present at RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire, to meet the flight, a spokesman said.

Mr MacLachlan was one of five men kidnapped in 2007. The bodies of two others were returned to the UK in June.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said its staff remained in close contact with all the families and that their thoughts were with them "at this difficult time".

It is understood that an inquest into Mr MacLachlan's death will be opened by the Wiltshire coroner and then adjourned while investigations are carried out.

Shot dead

The five men - four security guards and the man were they were protecting, IT consultant Peter Moore - were captured at Baghdad's Ministry of Finance in May 2007.

We continue to do everything we can for the return of the other hostages
Foreign Office spokesman

They were seized by about 40 men disguised as Iraqi policemen, who are understood to belong to an obscure militia known as Islamic Shia Resistance in Iraq.

The bodies of security guards Jason Swindlehurst, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and Jason Creswell, from Glasgow, were handed over to the Iraqi authorities in June.

Tests later showed they died from gunshot wounds.

Then in July, the BBC learned that two more of the men, including Mr MacLachlan, were also believed to be dead.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said he believes Mr Moore, from Lincoln, is still alive, although his condition is not known.

Clockwise from top left: Alan McMenemy, Peter Moore,  Alec Maclachlan, Jason Swindlehurst, Jason Creswell
The five hostages were taken in May 2007

"We continue to do everything we can for the return of the other hostages," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

Last week, Gordon Brown vowed to bring those responsible for Mr MacLachlan's murder to justice.

Of the victims' relatives, he said: "No family should have to endure what they have gone through, the loss through the hostage taking, then the period of silence and not knowing what is happening, and now to find that their loved one is lost."

The hostage crisis has been Britain's longest for nearly 20 years.



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