‘Murder is murder’: Armed forces chief says it would be wrong to call for exemption in case of convicted Marine A

‘No one’ serving in Afghanistan has asked for clemency in case of murdered insurgent, says Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

The chief of the British Armed Forces has said it would be “wrong” for the military to ask for any sort of exemption in the case of the Royal Marine convicted of murder.

Known only as Marine A because of an anonymity order protecting his identity, the man was found guilty this week of executing a severely wounded Afghan insurgent by shooting him in the chest.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today, the Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton said that “murder is murder, this is a heinous crime”. His comments were echoed by the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, speaking from Afghanistan, who said nobody he spoke to out there had called for clemency in the case.

Gen Houghton said: “No serviceman or woman of the British Armed Forces is above the law - not above the law of the country, international law or the law of armed conflict.

“This was a heinous crime. Judicial process has found this individual guilty. It would be quite wrong for the armed forces to adopt some special pleading, some sort of exemption.

“Those in authority over the armed forces should not request any form of leniency... we should be immaculate in these respects. Murder is murder, this is a heinous crime, thankfully it is an exceptional act in terms of the conduct of our armed forces.”

In an interview with the Sky News Murnaghan programme, Mr Hammond said it was clear the murder was against the values of both Britain and the armed forces.

He said: “I have not heard any such suggestions (for clemency) here. People here understand part of what makes us different from the insurgents and the terrorists that we are going after is we maintain a certain standard.

“These are standards that are core to our values as a society and core to the values of the British Armed Forces. This is an isolated incident, I believe, one individual who has let the side down.

“It is not indicative of the kind of behaviour that people in the British Armed Forces condone or expect to indulge in. I have heard no suggestion since I have been here there is any request for special treatment for anyone convicted of the crime of murder.”

The statements from the pair come in the wake of comments from one of Britain's most distinguished Royal Marines, the retired Maj Gen Thompson.

He said that while Marine A’s actions were “totally wrong” and “totally unforgivable”, it was important to understand the pressures faced by a battle-hardened soldier.

In the footage which was the main piece of evidence against the sergeant, he can be seen firing a bullet into an insurgent’s chest. He is heard saying: “There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you c***. It’s nothing you wouldn’t have done to us. Obviously this don’t go anywhere fellas. I’ve just broken the Geneva Convention.”

“He certainly shouldn't serve any less than five years, maybe 10,” Maj Gen Thompson said.

“He should not be kicked out of the community as it were. I hope and I'm sure the Marines will support him and particularly his family through the years ahead,” he said.

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
News
people
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
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: 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Engineer - Managed Services Provider

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Eng...

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot