- Sgt Alexander Blackman was given life for ‘moment of madness’ in battle
- But civilian courts are giving killers and paedophiles shorter prison terms
- Mail campaign has been launched for a review of Blackman’s court martial
- His family and supporters have also launched a fighting fund to support the costs of his appeal. To contribute, visit www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman
Killers and paedophiles are serving only a few years in jail while Royal Marine Alexander Blackman was given life for a ‘moment of madness’ in battle.
A court martial convicted the sergeant of murder after he shot a Taliban insurgent who was already fatally wounded.
Yet research by the Daily Mail shows that those responsible for appalling crimes are escaping with much lower sentences than his.
Civilian courts are giving short prison terms to dozens of killers, rapists and violent attackers.
In particular, those convicted of manslaughter are often handed sentences of just a few years and are eligible for parole after serving half this time.
The same applies to killer drivers and even paedophiles. But those convicted of murder receive a mandatory life sentence, most commonly with a minimum term of 12 years.
Blackman, known in court proceedings only as Marine A, has been languishing in prison since he was convicted in December 2013.
Two years earlier, he was caught on a head camera shooting the insurgent who had been seriously wounded in a helicopter strike. He was trying to storm a British outpost.
A court martial jailed Blackman for life and warned he would serve a minimum of ten years in a civilian prison.
This was later reduced to eight years. Blackman, who described his offence as a ‘moment of madness’ remains in Erlestoke jail, in Wiltshire. He is believed to be the only British soldier to have been convicted of committing murder on a foreign battlefield.
A campaign has been launched for a review because of fundamental flaws in the way the case was conducted. A Mail investigation has revealed that:
- Blackman and his troop were at breaking point after their ‘tour from hell’ in Helmand that saw comrades tortured and killed;
- His court martial was blocked from hearing about these mitigating circumstances;
- A high-flying colonel resigned in protest at not being able to give mitigating evidence at the court martial.
Had Blackman been given the option of a manslaughter charge – on the basis of mitigating circumstances – it would have led to a shorter sentence.
Last night the 72-year-old mother of a vulnerable man killed in the street attacked the sentence handed to the Marine.
Pamela Young’s son Andrew, who was 40 but had a mental age of 14, died after challenging a man for cycling on the pavement. Lewis Gill punched him without warning. Gill was jailed for just four years after admitting manslaughter and could be out early next year.
Mrs Young said: ‘I have to cope with Andrew’s death for the rest of my life and he will probably only serve two years.
SIX CRIMINALS HANDED SHORTER SENTENCES THAN MARINE BLACKMAN
‘It gives out the message that you can get away with it. It’s an unfair justice system. This Marine did a good thing and should not have been punished.
‘Sending him to prison is like imprisoning one of our boys for shooting a German in the Second World War. He’s a hero not a criminal.’
The legal fund for Sergeant Blackman soared beyond £350,000 yesterday!
The Daily Mail launched its campaign eight days ago – and the total is still rising. Every day this week, donations and letters of support have flooded in to the Mail’s offices and via the http://www.justiceforsgtblackman.co.uk website.
Former Tory Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft has given £50,000.
But Blackman’s team of lawyers have at least a year’s work ahead of them – and the appeal will be costly.
- A shameful injustice: Campaign fights to overturn conviction of Marine given life for ‘murdering’ Taliban in the heat of battle as shocking flaws in his trial are revealed
- A fall guy for a fiasco: Two of his comrades were blown to pieces, a third was tortured and the severed limbs of another were hung from a tree by the Taliban – such was the hell a ‘superb’ Marine endured
- How hero colonel resigned in protest at the betrayal of Sergeant Blackman and ‘a failure of moral courage by the chain of command’
- ‘The world is not a better place with Al in prison’: Watch Sergeant Blackman’s wife make a heartfelt appeal for her husband’s freedom
- Hell that drove hero to the brink: Day by bloody day came torture, murder and atrocities that would shred the strongest nerves. Read what Sgt Blackman endured and ask: Would you have SNAPPED?
- Truth censored by the top brass: Evidence that backs jailed Marine Alexander Blackman to be cynically suppressed
- Court martial panel ‘was split 5-2 over guilty verdict’
- How Mail launched fight to overturn Marine’s conviction
- DAILY MAIL COMMENT: A shameful injustice only a retrial can fix
- A shameful injustice: Now we reveal top brass plot to cover up vital evidence that could vindicate Marine given life for ‘murdering’ Taliban in the heat of battle
- I’ve asked Al difficult questions – but NEVER doubted him: In a powerfully moving interview, Sgt Blackman’s wife reveals how his imprisonment for ‘murder’ has devastated her life too
- MPs join fight to clear Taliban murder Marine: Call to release sergeant jailed for killing fatally-wounded Afghan
- Mail readers boost legal fund for Sergeant Blackman to £73,000 in just two days
- You have given us a glimmer of hope, says wife of jailed Marine Alexander Blackman as donations from Mail readers top £100,000
- I’d have done just the same – hero Colonel backs ‘murder Marine’ fight, saying the commando had done ‘nothing immoral’
- Every day in battle was like Rorke’s Drift – no wonder he snapped. But now he is a scapegoat: In a furious interview, thriller writer Frederick Forsyth drops dark hints about Sgt Blackman’s court martial
- What an insult! Fury of jailed Marine’s wife as military chiefs fob her off again with heavily censored report
- I’d follow Al through the gates of hell. This terrible injustice must be corrected: Marine who lost leg on ‘hellish’ Afghan tour backs campaign for his ex-sergeant
- Widow, 90, whose six brothers fought the Nazis donates £1,000 to Sergeant Blackman appeal and tells of her disgust at his treatment by military chiefs
- Civilians can never understand the ‘hell and horrors of the frontline’ says former Royal Marine peer who believes Sergeant Blackman court martial was ‘flawed’
- SARAH VINE: Grandpa and why my heart breaks for jailed hero
- Evidence that could win justice for Marine: Mail uncovers bombshell report censored by MoD that says Marines were pushed to be too aggressive and senior officers failed to spot mental strain and fatigue
- Marine’s wife watches in dignified silence as MPs demand justice for ‘extraordinary man’ who was victim of a ‘miscarriage of justice’
- Battle for justice: Jailed commando’s legal campaign gets a £50k boost from billionaire philanthropist and Tory peer Lord Ashcroft
- Families’ fury as Mail reveals top brass ‘cover-up’: Secret dossier shows how Marines were catastrophically let down by commanders on 2011 ‘tour from hell’
Sergeant Blackman’s family and supporters have launched a fighting fund to support the legal costs of his appeal.
If you would like to contribute, visit www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman