A Londoner has been identified as part of an Islamic State cell—along with the late Mohammed Emwazi (aka "Jihadi John")—that oversaw the beheadings of Western hostages in Syria, per a joint investigation by the Washington Post and BuzzFeed. Emwazi and Alexanda Kotey, 32, were part of a group referred to by prisoners (including Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Kayla Mueller) as the "ISIS Beatles" because of their British accents, per CNBC. They were said to be the worst of the captors, traumatizing hostages with electric shock, waterboarding, and fake executions, and believed to have beheaded 27 hostages. And the Guardian says yet another Londoner, 31-year-old drug dealer Aine Davis, was also one of the so-called Beatles and that he, Emwazi, and Kotey all attended the same London mosque (a fourth, "Paul," played a smaller role).
Kotey, whose name was confirmed by a US intel official and others familiar with British nationals in Syria, is of Ghanaian and Greek Cypriot background and converted to Islam in his early 20s when he met a Muslim woman (he had two kids with her before they parted ways). Not as much has been revealed about Davis, who ITV says was of Gambian heritage, born in London, and "in need of guidance" and a father figure, per someone who IDed himself as an associate; the Guardian adds Davis' wife was the first woman to be jailed on terrorism charges linked to Syria. Kotey, who was especially key in radicalizing young men to come to Syria, was either the Beatle known as "Ringo" or "George." One Danish ex-hostage recounts how Ringo kicked him 25 times in the ribs on his 25th birthday, while George was simply known as the "most violent and unpredictable" of the four. Officials don't know where Kotey is; it's unclear if they're aware of Davis' whereabouts. (BuzzFeed has lots more on Kotey.)