Footage Shows Moments Before 'Marine A' Shot Afghan Insurgent

Sergeant Alexander Blackman quoted Shakespeare at insurgent before killing him.

Footage never previously shown in public has been released of the moments prior to the fatal shooting of an Afghan insurgent that led to the conviction of the British serviceman known as Marine A.

The head cam footage, released on Thursday following a court ruling, shows the build-up to the death of the wounded Taliban fighter at the hands of Sergeant Alexander Blackman in 2011.

Blackman shot the insurgent - already seriously injured in an attack by an Apache helicopter - in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol before quoting a phrase from Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the man convulsed and died in front of him.

He told him: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.”

He then turned to comrades and said: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.”

The shooting was captured on a camera mounted on the helmet of another Royal Marine.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman in a picture from 2011
Sergeant Alexander Blackman in a picture from 2011
Andrew Parsons/PA Wire

During one of the three clips released by the Ministry of Defence, voices can be heard swearing repeatedly, cheering during gunfire, and then complaining that the helicopter crews had apparently “missed” the human target.

One can be heard saying: “Why don’t they use (Hellfire) rockets?”

Another adds: “Fuck me, mate - it’s just error after error after error.”

A voice can then be heard saying: “This is an absolute fucking travesty.”

British soldiers can later be seen inspecting the Afghan casualty, moments before he is executed.

Footage of the killing itself has not been released.

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

In May 2014, the Court Martial Appeal Court rejected a conviction challenge, but reduced the minimum term to eight years because of the combat stress disorder he was suffering from at the time of the 2011 incident in Helmand province while serving with Plymouth-based 42 Commando.

During his trial, Blackman - who denied murder and was known at that stage as Marine A - said he believed the victim was already dead and he was taking out his anger on a corpse.

He was ‘’dismissed with disgrace’’ from the Royal Marines after serving with distinction for 15 years, including tours of Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

Blackman, of Taunton, Somerset, won the right to appeal in December following the presentation of new evidence regarding his mental health at the time and because an alternative verdict of unlawful act manslaughter was not available in the trial.

The appeal is due to be heard later this month.


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