Somerset

Marine Blackman: Freedom 'feels good'

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Media captionAlexander Blackman says being free is "a really good feeling"

A former Royal Marine sergeant jailed for killing a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan says his first days of freedom are "a really good feeling".

Alexander Blackman was freed 11 days ago after serving three years in prison for killing a Taliban insurgent.

He said: "It's hard to explain how really good it is, just the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want."

His wife Claire said having her husband back home was "wonderful".

Blackman, 42, received a life sentence in 2013, but his murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter after a high-profile campaign led by his wife.

He added: "You feel like going outside for five minutes, you can, you feel like going outside for the whole day, you can. It's a really good feeling."

Mrs Blackman's work won a huge amount of public support and funding to pay for the legal battle to appeal the original conviction for murder and subsequent life sentence.

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She said: "It's really here, we really did it and I did often wonder if it would ever come but it took a long time to sink in, I didn't quite believe it but now he's home it's wonderful."

The shooting took place after a British patrol base came under fire in 2011.

Speaking of the moment he killed the Taliban fighter, Blackman said: "I still don't know exactly why I did it.

"A moment of madness is the best description I can give, it's not exactly the proudest moment of my life when I look back on it.

"I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and I haven't got a definitive answer."

When asked if he would do the same, he said the circumstances were "unique" and unlikely to be replicated again.

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Image caption Claire Blackman's high profile campaign won a huge amount of public support

Timeline of Alexander Blackman's case:

  • March 2011: Sgt Blackman is deployed to Helmand province with 42 Commando
  • September 2011: He shoots a wounded insurgent in the chest with his pistol
  • September 2012: Helmet cam video is found on a Royal Marine's laptop during an investigation by civilian police into another alleged crime. A police investigation begins
  • October 2013: Blackman and two others go on trial accused of murder. All three plead not guilty
  • November 2013: Blackman is found guilty of murder. The two other marines are acquitted
  • December 2013: Blackman is jailed after being handed a life sentence
  • May 2014: He loses a Court of Appeal bid to overturn his life sentence. His minimum term is cut from 10 years to eight
  • December 2015: New evidence is submitted in an attempt to have the conviction sent back to the Court of Appeal
  • December 2016: An appeal is granted
  • February: Five judges begin hearing the appeal to have Blackman's conviction overturned

Mrs Blackman added: "It's not for me to judge, I have no concept of just how incredibly stressful it must have been out there.

"I feel personally, fairly certain, that if he had a time machine and could go back and do things differently, he absolutely would but we don't have access to such things.

"What he's done he's done and we've had the chance to move on and we're looking forward to doing that."

Blackman added: "Hindsight is a wonderful thing and given what's especially happened to us in our life, if you could go back you would change things and perhaps do things different."

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Media captionAlexander Blackman offered wife - Claire - the chance to walk away from their marriage

Excerpts of the ex-marine's helmet camera were shown during his trial.

He explained: "The trouble we found with that is that it's a five minute section of an incident that took well over an hour, and to be fair you can put quite a few different spins on what's said and, unless you were actually there, you don't know the full story.

"Obviously, I told my version of events when I was at trial along with the other guys that were there. I'm content that what I [said] was my belief at the time, if other people have other views, they are entitled to do that."

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