Anyone who defied Muammar Gaddafi was called a "rat" by the dictator during the 42 years he led Libya. But in the final hour of his death, he was found amongst those very creatures, cowering in a drainage ditch full of filth and garbage.
"He called us rats, but look where we found him," said Ahmed Al Sahati, a 27-year-old government fighter. The soldier was standing next to two stinking drainage pipes under a six-lane highway where Gaddafi had reportedly hidden after NATO war planes attacked the convoy in which he was reportedly trying to escape.
Government fighters and video evidence of the carnage in the area where Gaddafi was found all tell the story of the eccentric dictator's final hours.
Breaking out of his home town Sirte after lying in hiding for the previous two months, the brutal despot, who had mowed down his own people with machine guns and rockets, lay dead. He was shot in the head and in the abdomen.
The killing or capture of senior aides, including possibly two sons, as an armored convoy braved NATO air strikes in a desperate bid to break out of Sirte, may ease fears of diehards regrouping elsewhere.
NATO said its warplanes fired on a convoy near Sirte about 8:30am, striking two military vehicles in the group, but could not confirm that Gaddafi had been a passenger. France later said its jets had been in action at the time.
But finding Gaddafi, caught carrying his "golden gun," the same gun reportedly used to kill him as he uttered his last words: "Don't shoot."
Officials said his son Mutasin, also seen bleeding but alive in a video, had also died. Another son, heir-apparent Seif al-Islam, was variously reported to be surrounded, captured or killed as conflicting accounts of the day's events crackled around networks of NTC fighters rejoicing in Sirte.