Militants loyal to the Islamic State have made frightening gains in Libya in recent weeks, and are now in control of three towns including Sirte, Gaddafi's birthplace.
Colonel Gaddafi's 42-year-rule which ended in 2011 was characterised by tyranny.
He murdered political opponents and dissidents, and replaced law with his 'Green Book' of rambling political philosophy, taught in all Libyan schools.
He saw himself as the leader of the Third World and used Libya's vast oil wealth to sponsor terror, shipping Semtex to the IRA and sending agents to bring down a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland.
By the 1990s he had become a pariah, but was rehabilitated in 2004 under the British Labour government with the despot signing an £120million gas contract for Shell with Tony Blair.