Former British paratrooper feared murdered in Ukraine as body found after another UK volunteer 'dies with hands tied'

16 September 2023, 13:17

Burke is believed to have been murdered
Burke is believed to have been murdered. Picture: Facebook

By Will Taylor

A body has been found in the search for a missing British former paratrooper who was thought to have travelled to Ukraine.

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Ukrainian authorities told their counterparts in Greater Manchester Police that they found a body in the Zaporizhzhia area in the south of the country.

It is being treated as an "intentional homicide" amid questions over where he was murdered by fellow foreign fighters in Ukraine during an argument about money.

He is not believed to have been killed in action in online chat groups rife with speculation.

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Burke, 36, a veteran from Manchester, was last seen on August 11 when he was seen on CCTV driving out of Zaporizhzhia city in a Mitsubishi alongside a foreign fighter.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes of Greater Manchester Police said: "This is an upsetting time for Daniel's family, we have family liaison officers in contact with the family and offering support.

"My team and I are working with the Ukrainian authorities to make formal identification with a view to repatriating Daniel following that process.

Burke is suspected to have been murdered
Burke is suspected to have been murdered. Picture: Facebook

"Daniel's family have asked for privacy at this difficult time."

DNA tests are being carried out on the body.

Burke had a flat in Zaporizhzhia and there were no signs of robbery there.

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He was dropped off there by an Australian volunteer, Nourine Abdelfetah, who said he had complained of food poisoning before lending him his car.

When Abdelfetah went back to return it two days later, there was no trace of Burke.

Given the recent death of Jordan Chadwick - a 31-year-old Scots Guard veteran from Burnley - who was found dead in water with his hands tied behind his back near the eastern city of Bakhmut, there are suspicions of foul play as Ukrainian police investigate.

A body believed to belong to Burke has been found in Ukraine
A body believed to belong to Burke has been found in Ukraine. Picture: Alamy

The cases have not been linked but both are feared to have been killed by fellow foreign fighters who volunteered to help defend Ukraine, instead of their Russian enemy/

Police are probing whether Burke, who set up the Dark Angels volunteer group in Ukraine, was killed in a dispute over money and vehicles.

He had claimed a woman in the US was giving him almost £8,000 a month - which it was speculated could have driven envy.

In Chadwick's case, there have been claims he might have been shot as part of a petty argument or as part of a military initiation event that went wrong.

There are fears that the vetting of foreign fighters is poor, allowing questionable individuals to join the ranks of troops who have bravely committed themselves to defending a free Ukraine.