Jailed Marine 'not a murderer'

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A Royal Marine imprisoned for executing a Taliban fighter in cold blood is not a murderer, his wife has said.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman received a 10-year minimum life sentence after he was found guilty at a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire.

The 39-year-old senior non-commissioned officer with 15 years' experience was convicted last month following a two-week hearing in which his two co-accused, known only as Marines B and C, were acquitted of murder.

He was also ''dismissed with disgrace'' from the Royal Marines. An order banning his being named was lifted by High Court judges after he was found guilty.

The killing happened five months into an arduous six-month tour of Helmand province in 2011 with Plymouth-based 42 Commando, known as Operation Herrick 14.

Blackman, a 6ft 3in physically imposing marine, 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.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, his wife, Claire Blackman, said the sentence was too severe and that he could not be compared with a common killer in this country.

Mrs Blackman, 42, said: "He's been convicted of murder but everything that defines Al points me and everyone who knows him in completely the opposite direction - he is not made that way.

"If you ask someone what murder is in this country they might say someone stabbing a little old lady in the high street.

"Death on active service in a war zone in somewhere like Afghanistan is, sadly, an everyday occurrence. I can't really imagine the horror or the pressure those lads were under."

She added: "He's held his hands up. What he has not done in my eyes is commit murder. He genuinely thought, and I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve him, that that insurgent was already dead.

"He should not have discharged his weapon into him - it was the madness of the moment - and he sure as hell wished he hadn't either but he is not a murderer.

"He can't undo it and he's ashamed of it but I still don't think it should have led to where we are now."

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