A body that was found dumped in a Ukrainian drain was identified as missing former paratrooper Daniel Burke, who was ‘accidentally shot’ by a fellow fighter.
Ukrainian authorities informed police officers searching for missing Mr Burke, 36, that they had found a body in September.
And now DNA tests have confirmed that the body was that of the former British soldier, from South Manchester, who vanished in August around 15 miles behind the front lines.
Police reportedly found his remains on a firing range in Zaporizhzhia, after being taken there by Australian-Algerian trooper Abdelfetah Nourine, who allegedly told police he had shot Daniel accidentally.
A body that was found dumped in a Ukrainian drain was identified as missing former paratrooper Daniel Burke, who was ‘accidentally shot’ by a fellow fighter
Ukrainian authorities informed police officers searching for missing Mr Burke, 36, that they had found a body in September
Mr Burke’s father Kevin, 62, yesterday confirmed that the DNA test was positive for his son, the Sun reports.
The man who allegedly shot Mr Burke reportedly claimed that the English ex-soldier had come home from the shooting range after attending it with him.
In later messages, which the Sun newspaper has seen, Nourine reportedly said ‘obviously me, but I didn’t murder the guy’ when asked who had killed Mr Burke.
Ukrainian police officials refused to confirm to the Sun if Nourine had left the war-torn nation.
Nourine did not respond to its requests for comment.
After the body was discovered in September, Greater Manchester Police said that officers are working with the family of the deceased and the Ukrainian authorities to support the identification of Mr Burke and bring him back to the UK.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, the force’s lead for disaster victim identification said at the time: ‘This is an upsetting time for Daniel’s family, we have Family Liaison Officers in contact with the family and offering support.’
The detective added: ‘My team and I are working with the Ukrainian authorities to make formal identification with a view to repatriating Daniel following that process.
‘Daniel’s family have asked for privacy at this difficult time.’
Mr Burke went to fight in Ukraine as a volunteer last year, and then vanished from his flat in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia on August 11.
It was feared that he could have been killed not by Russian soldiers, but by his fellow foreign legion fighters because of reported disputes and jealousy over the amount of money he was receiving in donations.
Ukrainian police combed the fields of Komyshuvakha village on the outskirts of Zaporizhzhia for any sign of Burke’s body.
Daniel Burke set up his own volunteer unit in Ukraine called the Dark Angels (pictured)
A body was found in September the hunt for Daniel Burke (pictured), a former paratrooper who went to fight in Ukraine as a volunteer last year
Ukrainian police, already struggling with a heavy caseload since the war began, were investigating claims that Burke could have been killed following disputes over money.
Burke, who had served in Afghanistan with the British army before fighting against ISIS with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, had travelled to Ukraine to fight as a volunteer last year.
He had told fellow fighters that he was receiving £8,000 a month from American millionaires in donations thanks to his public profile – and there are fears this could have sparked envy among the troops.
It was also reported that police were analysing CCTV footage of Burke’s movements in a car that his friend, Australian volunteer Norine Abdelfetah, had lent him on the day he disappeared.
Abdelfetah told police he had dropped Burke off at his apartment on August 11 and had lent the Briton his car for the weekend after he complained about having food poisoning, reports the Telegraph.
The Australian said there was no sign of Burke when he came to collect the car two days later, and a day later, Adbelfetah’s colleague, James Sutton, told police.