Marine Alexander Blackman named for 'open justice'

Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Wayne Blackman
Image caption Sergeant Alexander Blackman was given a 10-year minimum life sentence

England's top judge has said "open justice" meant a Royal Marine jailed for murdering an Afghan insurgent had to be named.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 39, based at Bickleigh Barracks in Plymouth, Devon, was jailed for 10 years after he was found guilty at a court martial.

An order banning the release of his name was lifted by High Court judges.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas said there was "the greatest public interest" in identifying him.

Lawyers for Blackman, who was referred to as Marine A at the court martial, argued that his life would be at "real and immediate" risk if his name was released.

Protection for families

But Lord Thomas said: "The prison authorities will be well aware of that risk and take steps to minimise it, as they do for other offenders at risk of attack in prison.

"There is the threat, as assessed by JTAC (the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre), to his family and to Marine A on his release under licence from his life sentence.

"It is a known risk. The Ministry of Defence has taken steps in the past to protect the families of the marines. There is nothing to suggest that they would not in the future.

"Balancing those considerations, we have no doubt that the balance comes very firmly down on the side of open justice; the identity of Marine A must be made public."

The murder took place after a patrol base in Helmand came under fire from two insurgents.

One of the attackers was seriously injured by gunfire from an Apache helicopter sent to provide air support, and the marines found him in a field.

Footage on another marine's helmet-mounted camera showed Blackman shooting the Afghan prisoner with a 9mm pistol.

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