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Royal Marine convicted of murder named as Brighton's Alexander Blackman
A Royal Marine who faces a life sentence for murdering an injured Taliban fighter is from Brighton, The Argus understands.
Sergeant Alexander Wayne Blackman, whose name has been made public for the first time fol- lowing a court ruling, will learn his fate today.
On November 8 a court martial board found the 39-year-old guilty of murdering the insurgent – who had been seriously wounded in an attack by an Apache helicopter – in Helmand more than two years ago.
Blackman had 15 years’ experience in the forces, after joining in 1998, and was in charge of Command Post (CP) Omar in the Helmand province during Operation Herrick 14 in 2011.
It is believed Blackman’s mother still lives in Brighton after the death of his father two years ago.
The Royal Marine also has other close family members in the Hastings area, The Argus understands.
Blackman was considered a safe pair of hands by his superiors and at 6ft 3in he has been described as a physically imposing Marine who always led from the front.
An expert in heavy weapons, including machine guns, he was credited with building good relations with the local population and was friendly with a mullah who lived close to CP Omar.
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.
He shot the insurgent in the chest but said he believed the victim was already dead and he was taking out his anger on a corpse.
He has said he felt ashamed at his lack of self-control, describing it as “a stupid lack of self-control and lapse in judgment”.
The shooting happened five months into an arduous six-month tour of Helmand province.
During his evidence at court Blackman, who denied murder, confirmed he was telling the truth about believing the insurgent to be dead and agreed the shooting was a “spur of the moment decision because of pent-up emotions”.
The killing was captured on a camera mounted on the helmet of another serviceman, known as Marine B.
As the unknown insurgent lies on the floor convulsing and struggling for breath, Sergeant Black- man says: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil you c***. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.”
Previously known as Marine A, his name was disclosed following a ruling by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Mr Justice Tugendhat and Mr Justice Holroyde, which lifted an anonymity order preventing him being identified.
The decision by the three judges followed a hearing last week during which argument was made on behalf of the servicemen that their lives would be at “real and immediate” risk if their names were released.
Chris Terrill, a filmmaker from Brighton, was embedded with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan at the time of the incident.
He said judges should take Blackman’s service into account and should not “lock him up and throw away the key”.
He said: “Nobody can condone what happened, but you have to see it in the context of frontline warfare.
“It was technically murder but it was done in the heat of battle.
“This was a man who had endured the most awful conditions for months. “That’s bound to affect anyone’s moral compass.”
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