Royal Marine refused bail for murdering wounded Afghan prisoner

He was recorded saying: "This doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention," afterwards

Royal Marine refused bail for murdering wounded Afghan prisoner

A man dressed as Santa Claus demonstrates in front the High Court in London, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. Image: Frank Augstein AP/Press Association Images

Alexander Blackman, the Royal Marine serving a life sentence for murdering an injured Afghan fighter, has been refused bail.

The 42-year-old, from Taunton in Somerset, failed to convince two judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London that he should be set free from jail while there were gasps in court from his wife and family when the news was announced.

Blackman was watching proceedings via videolink from jail.

Speaking outside the court after hearing the ruling, Blackman's wife Claire said: "We are obviously disappointed by the judges' decision not to grant bail this afternoon.

"However, we must remember that earlier this month the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) decided to refer the case back to the Appeal Courts and this is the most important step towards getting Al's conviction and sentence overturned.

"We are grateful to the court for expediting the appeal process"

People attend a Justice for Marine rally in Parliament Square, London, in support of Sergeant Alexander Blackman, who was handed a life sentence three years ago after he killed a wounded captive at close range with a 9mm pistol in Helmand province during September 2011.

Image: Stefan Rousseau PA Wire/PA Images

The bail move came after an announcement by the Criminal Cases Review Commission of its decision to refer Blackman's conviction and sentence to the court for review.

This decision was made after an 11-month "in-depth" investigation, the CCRC said, adding that there was a number of new issues, including fresh evidence relating to Blackman's mental state, which "raised a real possibility" that the Court Martial Appeal Court would "now quash Mr Blackman's murder conviction".

That appeal is likely to be heard in late January or early February. Blackman shot the insurgent in Helmand province in 2011 while serving with Plymouth-based 42 Commando.

The shooting was captured on a camera mounted on the helmet of another Royal Marine and Blackman was heard telling the insurgent, who had been injured in an Apache helicopter attack: "Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***.

"It's nothing you wouldn't do to us." Turning to his comrades, he then said: "Obviously, this doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention."

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

This was later cut to eight years on appeal due to the combat stress he had been suffering at the time of the killing.