Royal Marine to serve minimum 10 years for Afghan murder

Friday 06 December 2013 15.31
Royal Marine sergeant Alexander Wayne Blackman convicted of murder after shooting dead injured Afghan insurgent
Royal Marine sergeant Alexander Wayne Blackman convicted of murder after shooting dead injured Afghan insurgent

A Royal Marine filmed executing an injured Taliban insurgent in cold blood has been given a ten year minimum jail sentence.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 39, whose name was made public for the first time yesterday following a ruling by judges at the High Court in London, was convicted last month of murdering the Afghan national in Helmand Province in September 2011.

Two other soldiers, known only as Marine B and Marine C, were acquitted of murder by the court martial board in Bulford, Wiltshire.

The killing happened five months into a six-month tour of Helmand province in 2011, known as Operation Herrick 14.

Blackman shot the Afghan, who had been seriously injured in an attack by an Apache helicopter, in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol before quoting a phrase from Shakespeare as the man convulsed and died in front of him.

"There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It's nothing you wouldn't do to us," Blackman told him.

Blackman then turned to fellow soldiersc and said: "Obviously this doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention."

The execution was filmed by a camera mounted on the helmet of Marine B.

Marines B and C were alleged to have been "party to the killing" and "encouraged and assisted" Blackman in committing the murder but they were cleared.

Blackman was given a life sentence with the minimum term decided by the seven-man court martial board made up of senior non-commissioned officers and officers, and Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett.

During his evidence at the court martial, Blackman, who denied murder, admitted he fired his gun out of anger but insisted the insurgent was already dead.

Blackman explained to the court martial why he fired: "Stupid, lack of self-control, momentary lapse in my judgement.

"I thought about it over the last year as we get towards these proceedings but I cannot give any other reason than to say that it was poor judgement and lack of self-control. I thought he was dead."

He blamed "foolish bravado" for quoting Shakespeare at the dying man and said it was something "I am not proud of".

Blackman, who completed tours of Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland during his military career, had 15 years experience in the Royal Marines.

He was in charge of Command Post Omar in Helmand during the tour and was considered a safe pair of hands by his superiors.

Blackman was credited with building good relations with the local population.

His role in Afghanistan also included taking part in shuras - meetings with community leaders and elders.

Prior to a video of the murder coming to light, Blackman was being considered for promotion to colour sergeant.