THE body of a Warrington aid worker who died while detained by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine ‘shows signs of possible unspeakable torture’.

This is according to Ukraine’s foreign minister on social media following reports that his body has now been handed over.

Paul Urey, aged 45 and from Culcheth, died in captivity in July, according to the human rights ombudsperson for the Moscow-supported leadership in Donetsk, Daria Morozova.

She branded Mr Urey a ‘mercenary’, for which a Moscow prosecutor said the maximum penalty is the death sentence, and claimed he died in captivity of chronic illnesses and stress.

“From our side, he was given the necessary medical assistance despite the grave crimes he committed,” she added.

However, Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said yesterday, Wednesday, that Mr Urey’s body had been returned ‘with signs of possible unspeakable torture’.

He wrote on Twitter: “Russians have returned the body of a British humanitarian worker Paul Urey whom they captured in April and reported dead due to ‘illnesses’ and ‘stress’ in July. With signs of possible unspeakable torture.

“Detaining and torturing civilians is barbarism and a heinous war crime.

“I express my deepest condolences to relatives and close ones of Paul Urey. He was a brave man who dedicated himself to saving people. Ukraine will never forget him and his deeds.

“We will identify perpetrators of this crime and hold them to account. They won’t escape justice.”

It comes after Mr Urey’s grieving family launched a fundraising appeal to cover the cost to repatriate his body for a funeral and burial.

While they accepted they may never find out the truth surrounding his death, not being able to give him a proper send-off was adding to their agony.

An online donation page set up by the aid worker’s daughter, Chelsea Coman, read: “Our efforts to repatriate my dad’s body are going extremely slowly.

“We have been advised by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office that this repatriation will cost us up to approximately £10,000.

Warrington Guardian: Video emerged of Paul Urey on Russian state TV being interviewed wearing handcuffs in early MayVideo emerged of Paul Urey on Russian state TV being interviewed wearing handcuffs in early May (Image: Unknown)

“My only wishes are to bring my father home and give him a burial and send-off, here in the UK with people who love him and celebrate his life.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said it would not comment on the costs involved in repatriation, but it repeated that those responsible for Paul’s death will be held accountable.

Following the news of his death, Mr Urey’s mother Linda Urey expressed her anger, branding the separatists ‘murderers’, and asking: “Why did you let him die?”

Russian ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin was summoned to the Foreign Office to face questioning over what happened to Mr Urey, who was detained near the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia in April.

He and a fellow Briton, Dylan Healey, went missing while driving to help a woman and two children near a checkpoint south of the city in south-east Ukraine.

Video also emerged on Russian state TV on May 4 showing an interview with the Warrington man, who was asked questions while in handcuffs as to why he was in Ukraine.

Liz Truss, who was Foreign Secretary at the time, said she was ‘shocked’ by reports of the death of Mr Urey, who had type one diabetes and required insulin shots.

“Russia must bear the full responsibility for this,” she said in a statement.

“Paul Urey was captured while undertaking humanitarian work. He was in Ukraine to try and help the Ukrainian people in the face of the unprovoked Russian invasion.

“The Russian government and its proxies are continuing to commit atrocities. Those responsible will be held to accountable. My thoughts are with Mr Urey’s family and friends at this horrendous time.”

Ms Urey said she was ‘truly angry’ in a post on Facebook, where she also described the situation as a ‘cruel, cruel world’.

Speaking at the time of his capture, she told Sky News she had begged her son not to go to Ukraine.

She added: “He said, ‘Mama I can’t live with myself knowing people… need help to get to a safe place, I have to go. I would feel bad’.”