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Wife of jailed Brighton marine ‘overwhelmed’ by support
The wife of a Royal Marine jailed for murdering an Afghan fighter has said she is “overwhelmed” by mounting calls for his freedom.
Last week Sergeant Alexander Blackman from Brighton was sentenced to life for executing a severely wounded Taliban prisoner in Helmand in September 2011.
Military chiefs said the 39-year-old had brought shame on his regiment and deserved his tenyear minimum stretch.
But there is now a growing campaign to reduce the commando’s sentence – because he was suffering from the stress of war.
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At the weekend his wife Claire Blackman praised the “outstanding” backing from more than 100,000 people, including MPs and senior military figures.
Speaking on behalf of Mrs Blackman, solicitor Issy Hogg told a national newspaper: “She has been overwhelmed by the tremendous kindness and outstanding support which the British public has shown and would like to express her gratitude for the comfort this continues to provide.”
She added that Mrs Blackman “wishes to avoid the glare of publicity at this difficult time”.
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.
Yesterday a petition on a government website calling for Blackman to be freed had attracted more than 26,000 names.
Another 80,000 people had used Facebook to call for the serviceman – dismissed from the Royal Marines in disgrace – to also have his conviction overturned.
Meanwhile, a survey found that six out of ten people thought the commando’s prison sentence should be halved to five years.
One in three of the 900 people questioned by pollsters Survation felt he should serve no jail time at all.
Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire Tory peer, wrote onTwitter that he could help bankroll the appeal.
However Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said it would be ‘wrong’ to comment on the calls to reduce Blackman’s sentence.
He said: “This is an independent judicial decision.
The court will have had all the facts, including pleas in mitigation around the sentencing decision. There may well be an appeal over the sentence.”
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