Marine A, Alexander Blackman and his wife Claire set to receive police protection from terror threat
Alexander Blackman and his wife Claire are set to receive police protection because the former soldier’s actions have landed him in the “crosshairs of Islamist fanatics”.
Formerly referred to as Marine A, 42-year-old Mr Blackman was filmed in 2011 shooting a severely wounded man in the chest at point blank range as he quoted a phrase from Shakespeare.
He said: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It's nothing you wouldn't do to us,” as the man convulsed and died in front of him.
After a successful appeal against a murder conviction, Mr Blackham was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter yesterday, and will be eligible for release within weeks.
The Court Martial Appeal dismissed Blackman from the Marines but lifted a previous punishment of “dismissal with disgrace” imposed at his original military trial in 2013.
Royal Marines' homecoming Fri, July 3, 2009 1 of 6
Hundreds of people cheer a homecoming parade of Royal Marines in Plymouth today.
Mr Blackman was cleared from murder after the five appeal judges accepted evidence from three psychiatrists that he had been suffering from a mental health disorder at the time of the shooting.
Although Mr Blackman is set to receive protection and had his sentence lowered, judges said his “deliberate killing of a wounded man” had “a material adverse effect” on the reputation of the British armed forces.
Royal Marine Alex Blackman's sentence has been reduced to seven years
Mrs Blackman said she and her husband have been pressured to upgrade their home security systems and minimise their online presence to avoid being attacked by fanatics.
Jonathan Goldberg QC, Blackman’s barrister, said: “Doubtless Al and Claire are now in the crosshairs of Islamist fanatics, but their local police have been magnificent.”
High Court erupted into applause as Marine A's appeal was a success
The appeal judges, headed by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, said the video of the shooting – which recorded in Helmand by another Marine’s head-cam – should not be released because it would be of propaganda value to jihadists.
His release was cheered by a courtroom packed with military veterans and supporters of his campaign.
Blackman’s wife Claire, 45, said she was “overjoyed” at his release. However a former senior Navy officer told the Times that the case would set a “horrendous precedent”.