The Royal Marine’s sentence for shooting an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan has been reduced to seven years.
A Royal Marine who shot and killed an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan could be released from prison in two weeks.
Alexander Blackman, 42, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for diminished responsibility manslaughter after his murder conviction was overturned.
The sentence means he could be released from prison next month, once the time he has already served for his original conviction in November 2013 is taken into account.
There were huge cheers from the Royal Marine’s supporters in the public gallery as the sentence was delivered.
Announcing the sentence, the panel of judges, led by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, said: “As with any person sentenced to a determinate term, his release will ordinarily be at the halfway point of the sentence.”
Blackman has already served almost three-and-a-half years in prison after originally being sentenced to life with a minimum term of 10 years by a court martial, a sentence which was reduced to eight years on appeal.
His legal team say he could be released from jail in around two weeks, with the exact date still to be determined by the Prison Service.
Speaking after the sentencing, Blackman’s wife Claire said: “We are overjoyed at the judges’ decision to significantly reduce Al’s sentence such that he can be released imminently.
“This is the moment we have all be fighting hard for. It is hard to believe that this day is finally here.”
Earlier this month, judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court decided the shooting, which took place in Helmand province in 2011, was the result of a mental illness.
The shooting was captured on a camera mounted on the helmet of another Royal Marine, who went with Blackman to find the Taliban fighter who had been wounded by an Apache helicopter.
In his original court martial, Blackman claimed he had thought the man was already dead, but in the video the body visibly twitches after the shot.
During sentencing the judges said that “this was a deliberate killing of a wounded man” and that Blackman “still retained a substantial responsibility” for the death.
They said he “suffered from quite exceptional stress” during that deployment and that his ability “to form a rational judgement” was “substantially impaired”.
Oliver Lee, Blackman’s former commanding officer in September 2011 and a former colonel of the Royal Marines, said he was “very pleased that Sergeant Blackman has now been dealt with justly and fairly.”
“My hope now is that the many lessons from this tragic case will be learned and the Royal Marines can look forward to another 350 years of highly distinguished service,” he said…