Royal Marine Alexander Blackman has conviction overturned for killing Taliban fighter

A London court on Wednesday reduced the conviction of a British soldier found guilty of killing an injured Taliban fighter to manslaughter from murder, in a high-profile case that has divided the country.

Blackman has been serving a life sentence in civilian prison since 2013.

The Court Martial Appeal Court said the decision was based on the ground of diminished responsibility.

There will now be a further hearing at a date to be fixed to decide on the sentence he now has to serve.

His wife Claire Blackman said she was "delighted" by the decision to reduce her husband's murder conviction saying it "much better reflects the circumstances that my husband found himself in during that awful tour of Afghanistan".

After the verdict, she said now hopes for a "significant reduction" in her husband's sentence.

Alexander Blackman, also known as Marine A, committed the offence in Helmand Province in 2011. The camera, worn by another marine, captured Blackman making the decision to shoot the armed insurgent after the Apache helicopter that had wounded him flew away.

As he opened fire on the victim, the court heard Blackman said: "Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***".

"So I think, from now on, what really happened there is down to you, and I think we'll do our job just as well as the lawyers did theirs and the judges did theirs". Then, addressing the other marines present, he added: "Obviously this doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention", he said to his fellow Royal Marines, a reference to worldwide laws governing the treatment of prisoners of war.

At a court martial appeal in May 2014 judges rejected a challenge to his conviction, but reduced his minimum sentence to eight years.

He shot the unknown insurgent in the chest but said he believed he was already dead and was taking his anger out on the corpse.

  • Zachary Reyes