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BREAKING NEWS: Royal Marine convicted of executing Taliban prisoner is from Somerset

By cfayfineran  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Royal Marine convicted of executing Taliban prisoner is from Somerset

Royal Marine convicted of executing Taliban prisoner is from Somerset

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The Royal Marine convicted of executing a seriously wounded Taliban prisoner has been named as Sergeant Alexander Wayne Blackman of Taunton.

His name was disclosed following a ruling at the High Court by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Mr Justice Tugendhat and Mr Justice Holroyde, which lifted an anonymity order preventing him being identified.

Blackman is the first British soldier to be convicted of murder on the battlefield since the World War II.

Now a convicted murderer, Blackman was a hugely experienced sergeant, who was aged 39 by the time of the court martial.

He had 15 years’ experience in the Royal Marines, having joined in 1998 and had completed three tours in Iraq, two in Afghanistan and one in Northern Ireland during his military career.

He was in charge of Command Post Omar in Helmand province during Operation Herrick 14 in 2011.

He was considered a safe pair of hands by his superiors and at 6ft 3in 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 the 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.

The judges also announced that two acquitted servicemen should be named – but their identities will not be released pending a possible move by their lawyers to take the issue on to the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court.

The question of the naming of two other Royal Marines, against whom charges were discontinued, will be the subject of a further hearing.

Lawyers for the five challenged an order which lifted anonymity following the conviction of one of them at a court martial.

Today’s decision follows a hearing last week during which argument was made on behalf of the servicemen that their lives will be at “real and immediate” risk if their names are released.

During the trial of three of the servicemen at a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire, an order prevented the names being made public.

On November 8 a court martial board found a commando, known only as Marine A, guilty of murdering the man in Helmand more than two years ago.

Two others, known only as Marines B and C, were acquitted. Charges against a further two Marines, referred to as D and E, were previously discontinued.

The challenge before the three judges related to a ruling by Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett that the names of the defendants and those of Marines D and E, should be identified publicly.

Lawyers for Marine D and Marine E said in their cases no one had anticipated that the prosecution would seek to persuade the judge to lift their anonymity and they did not receive a fair hearing on the issue.

The sentencing hearing in relation to Marine A is due to take place tomorrow.

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