A captured Chechen has confessed to kidnapping and beheading a Midland telecommunications engineer and two of his colleagues s in 1998, a senior prosecutor said yesterday.

Adam Dzhabrailov, (31), who was captured in a security sweep on Monday in connection with the 1996 slaughter of six Red Cross workers, has given evidence of his role in the deaths of the the Britons and a New Zealander, said Chechnya's acting Prosecutor General Vladimir Kravchenko.

"Dzhabrailov, in his confession, told us in detail about the kidnapping and execution of the three Britons and one New Zealander.

"We will carefully check his testimony about his role in this," Kravchenko said.

In one of the most gruesome incidents involving foreigners in Chechnya, 46-year-old Peter Kennedy, from Hereford, Darren Hickey, aged 26, from Surrey, Rudi Petschi, aged 42, from Devon, and New Zealander Stanley Shaw, aged 58, were kidnapped on October 3, 1998, held hostage and, after negotiations failed, were beheaded.

Their severed heads were found by a roadside in December that year.