A ROYAL Marine jailed for life for murdering an injured Afghan insurgent hopes to be free within days.
Sgt Alexander Blackman, 39, of Taunton, is appealing against his conviction and the ten-year minimum prison term imposed for executing a Taliban prisoner in Helmand Province.
Throughout his trial he was named as Marine A and his identity was only revealed by a High Court ruling after he was found guilty at a court martial in December.
He is serving his sentence in a civilian prison.
His appeal is being heard by the country’s three most senior High Court judges next Thursday (April 10) when Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas will be presiding.
This week his wife, Claire, told the BBC she hoped his conviction would be overturned, though she recognises it is “a very difficult decision to make”.
She said: “There’s a lot of international politics tied up with this case and I understand that, but for me this is about one man and his life.
“If it doesn’t happen this time it doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but for the sentence to be reviewed and reduced is a real hope, a tangible hope.
“Al is no risk to society. There’s more of a risk to him and his safety. He doesn’t belong in prison.”
Thousands of people protested after Blackman was told he must serve at least ten years before being eligible for parole.
His trial heard that he shot the insurgent in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol after a patrol base came under attack from small arms fire.
Blackman was filmed by a camera mounted on the helmet of another Marine.
Blackman, a member of 42 Commando in Plymouth, is the first British serviceman since at least the Second World War to be convicted of murder on overseas deployment.