IT is impossible to fully appreciate the horrific ordeal endured by Ken Bigley.

The longer it went on, the more we felt a sense of hope that perhaps he might be spared after all. But in the end, it simply prolonged the agony for Mr Bigley and his loved ones.

The hostage-takers had shown no mercy before, so why should they start now?

We pay tribute to Mr Bigley's family, who responded with great dignity to the news they had been dreading.

In their moment of grief, as their worst nightmare became reality, they had the generosity to say thank you for the prayers from around the world, and for the care shown by members of their local community.

It would have been easy to lash out, but instead they insisted that the Government had done everything in its power to find a solution. They accepted that it was simply an impossible situation brought about by barbaric people with no respect for human life.

Ken Bigley's murder has shocked us all. But it has served to reinforce what we already knew: that no matter how strong the temptation may be, there can be no negotiating with terrorists.