Marine A 'could be free by the weekend'

Hayley Dixon
Alexander Blackman, known as Marine A, pictured on the patrol where the Afghan insurgent was killed  - PA

A Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan will be sentenced for manslaughter next Friday after his murder conviction was quashed by leading judges, it has been announced. 

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, better known as Marine A, could be free to return home to his wife almost immediately if his legal team succeed in arguing that he has already served his sentence in the three and a half years he has spent behind bars.  

It comes after five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London ruled on Wednesday that Blackman, 42, was suffering from an "abnormality of mental functioning" at the time of the killing.

They found that the 2011 incident was not a "cold-blooded execution" as a court martial had earlier concluded, but the result of a mental illness - an "adjustment disorder".

Blackman's murder conviction was overturned by the panel of judges, headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, and replaced with a verdict of "manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility".

The hearing on Friday March 24 will decide on the sentence he now has to serve.

Claire Blackman next to a cut out of her husband Alexander during the campaign to have his appeal heard Credit: JR John Robertson midlands photo

Blackman was convicted of murder in November 2013 by a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire, and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 10 years.

That term was later reduced to eight years on appeal because of the combat stress disorder he was suffering from.

But a second appeal was granted after his new legal team, led by Jonathan Goldberg QC, put forward new psychological evidence.  

The judges said that Blackman had been "an exemplary soldier before his deployment to Afghanistan in March 2011", but had "suffered from quite exceptional stressors" during that deployment.

Alexander Blackman Marine A timeline