One of Britain’s highest ranking Royal Marines has branded the cold-blooded execution of an injured Afghan insurgent as “truly shocking and appalling”.
Brigadier Bill Dunham, Deputy Commandant General Royal Marines, spoke out after a commando was convicted of murdering the seriously wounded prisoner in Helmand Province two years ago. The serviceman, known only as Marine A, shot him at close range in the centre of his chest.
As the man convulsed on the ground, Marine A told him: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.”
He then turned to comrades and said: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.”
A court martial board yesterday found Marine A guilty of murder following a two-week trial at the military court centre in Bulford, Wiltshire.
Two others, known only as Marines B and C, were acquitted of the same charge, contrary to Section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, by the seven-strong board.
Dunham said: “It is a matter of profound regret in this isolated incident that one marine failed to apply his training and discharge his responsibilities.
“What we have heard over the last two weeks is not consistent with the ethos, values and standards of the Royal Marines.
“It was a truly shocking and appalling aberration. It should not have happened and it should never happen again.”
The court heard the marines were on patrol in a “kinetic” area of Afghan-istan on Sept 15, 2011, when they found the insurgent lying seriously injured in a field following an attack by an Apache helicopter.
Superiors were informed the man had died from wounds sustained in the gunship attack, in which 139 30mm anti-tank rounds were fired at him.
However, a year later, footage of the murder — taken from a camera mounted on the helmet of Marine B — was founf on a laptop by military police investigating unrelated matters.
The harrowing video footage was played numerous times to the court martial board in Bulford, with audio recordings also released to the public.
Marines A, B, and C — along with other members of the patrol — were instructed to carry out a “battle damage assessment” of the area and discovered the man lying in a field.
During the trial, the three marines were hidden from public view by large screens, due to a court order protecting their identity.
The judge remanded Marine A into custody until sentencing on Dec 6.
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