The wife of a Royal Marine who was convicted of murdering a wounded Taliban fighter has launched a fresh bid to clear her husband’s name, following allegations a comrade was silenced from giving evidence that could have cleared him.
An unnamed sergeant major was allegedly prevented from testifying that Sgt Alexander Blackman’s unit had been left without sufficient support in a Taliban stronghold due to failings by commanders.
The testimony, which was never heard in court, forms part of hundreds of pages of new evidence compiled by Sgt Blackman’s supporters as they try to have his murder conviction overturned.
The dossier claims his original legal team let him down, and that senior officers failed to reveal key information during his court martial.
Sgt Blackman’s wife Claire argues he was suffering combat stress and should only have been convicted of manslaughter. She will likely be joined by hundreds of supporters when she hands the dossier to the Criminal Cases Review Commission next week, in an attempt have his case sent back to the Appeal Court.
The Telegraph reports that a source close to Warrant Officer Steph Moran, who served on the same tour as Sgt Blackman, wanted to give evidence about the pressure his unit had been under. However, after he told his commanding officers he heard nothing more of it.
He then contacted Sgt Blackman’s legal team directly, only to be told to “stay out of it”.
Another officer also reportedly resigned his commission after not being able to give evidence.
Sgt Blackman, who was known as “Marine A” throughout the trial, received a life sentence in 2013 for the killing and was told he must spend at least eight years in prison.
Supporters believe he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and have already donated £1 million towards his legal fees.
His wife said: “It’s an exciting time. There have been months and months of meticulous work by the QC and his team.”
“It’s fantastic to know that we are not fighting this fight on our own, but with what feels like the whole country, and beyond, right behind us,” she added.
A Ministry of Defence Spokesman said: “We respect the authority and decision of the court and will, of course, cooperate fully with any future legal process.”