MORE than 70,000 have called for the release of a Royal Marine jailed for murdering a seriously injured Taliban insurgent on the battlefield in Afghanistan.

If a further 30,000 people sign an on-line petition calling for Sgt Alexander Blackman to be set free, MPs could then debate the issue.

Blackman, from Taunton – known as Marine A throughout his trial – was originally sent to prison for a minimum ten years for killing an injured insurgent in Helmand Province in 2011.

His actions were recorded on a colleague’s video camera and he was given a life sentence and dismissed with disgrace by a court martial last November, which said he should not be considered for parole for at least ten years.

That period was reduced to eight years at appeal earlier this year.