Marine ‘thought prisoner was already dead' when he shot him

 

Defence Correspondent

A Royal Marine charged with murdering a prisoner in Afghanistan told a court martial today that he thought the man was already dead when he shot him in the chest at point-blank range.

The sergeant said the shooting was the result of “stupidity, lack of self control, lack of judgment” and he was “ashamed and embarrassed” by what he had done. He accepted that he had lied to the police about the death, but insisted that this was because he feared that his actions could have been “misconstrued”.

The prosecution claims that a patrol of marines killed the man, a Taliban fighter, after they had found him lying wounded and helpless in a field in Helmand.

Footage of the “battlefield execution” was recorded by a camera mounted on the helmet of one of the patrol and shown to the military tribunal in Bulford, Wiltshire, last week. The defendants, known in court as Marines A, B and C, of 42 Commando Brigade, cannot be named for legal reasons.

The sergeant, Marine A, stated that he thought the man, who had “fist-sized hole” in his back, had already died from injuries inflicted in a strike from an Apache helicopter. “It was my belief at the time I discharged my pistol that he was dead and no one had killed him,” he said.

When asked about video appearing to show the detainee, a young man, moving his arm and leg and convulsing after being shot, Marine A said he was “surprised” because the prisoner “suddenly became quite animated. I questioned whether I had made a mistake,” he added. Marine A told the court that his “stress and anger” had taken over when he pulled the trigger. 

Prosecutor David Perry QC put it to him that the video did not show him to be under stress, or lacking self-control. He said: “You were calm and collected ... You leant into him, you aimed at a precise point didn’t you? Why did you do that?” The sergeant responded: “I don’t know.”

Marine A was then asked about a scene from the video, in which he says: “There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you c***.” The sergeant told the court: “I believe it came from one of Shakespeare’s plays. It was ... bravado, something I am not proud of.”

When asked about another quote from the video in which he says: “I have just broken the Geneva Convention”, he said his concern related to strictures over the treatment of dead bodies, rather than any fear that he had taken a life. Marine A admitted under cross-examination by Mr Perry that he had not checked the prisoner’s pulse or breathing to ascertain whether he was dead or alive, either before or after the shooting.

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?