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Mail readers boost legal fund for Sergeant Blackman to £73000 in just two days

  • British public has so far donated 73,000 to Sergeant Blackman legal fund
  • Thousands of people have been outraged by plight of veteran commando
  • Sergeant Alexander Blackman was jailed for murder as ‘political scapegoat’
  • His family and supporters have launched a fighting fund to support the costs of his appeal. To contribute, visit www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman [1]

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Mail Readers Boost Legal Fund For Sergeant Blackman To £73000 In Just Two Days

The generous British public has made a flood of donations to the Sergeant Blackman legal fund

The generous British public has made a flood of donations to the Sergeant Blackman legal fund. An amazing 73,000 has been pledged in the first two days of the appeal mostly from ordinary readers offering a tenner here or 20 there. Thousands of people have been outraged by the plight of the veteran commando and his wife Claire.

Messages of support and financial contributions have poured in after the Mail revealed shocking evidence casting doubt on the jailed Royal Marine s conviction. His path to justice is via an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and then the Courts Martial Appeal Court. It is a process that will take months of work by his new legal team. Sgt Blackman, whose Armyrats © military wages ended with his dismissal from the Marines, and his wife Claire are being backed by a host of supporters including author Frederick Forsyth, West End lyricist Sir Tim Rice and retired Special Forces director Major General John Holmes who have set up a fund for anyone who wishes to contribute to the legal fees.

It is the steady tide of one-off donations from ordinary people that is making the difference. Reader Caroline Moore wrote: This is a small donation – a gesture really of the injustice of Sgt Blackman s treatment. I for one am very grateful that people like him are trying to protect me and my country. Another, Mary Mills, wrote to Mrs Blackman: I serve as a magistrate. It pains me to read of your husband s case. I sincerely hope there will be some justice ahead for you and your brave husband. My husband and I have made a donation to your new appeal and we fervently hope that there will be a successful outcome.

Hundreds of people have simply let their chequebooks do the talking. One man posted an envelope containing a cheque for 300, and another sent one for 100 neither of whom felt it necessary to say anything else. The majority of support has built up by generous readers putting pen to cheque – or going online – and pledging 10 or 20 to the cause.

Backers from all over the world have vowed to help the jailed serviceman clear his name.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Sergeant Blackman’s family and supporters have launched a fighting fund to support the legal costs of his appeal. If you would like to contribute, visit www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman[2] for details of how to pay by cheque, PayPal or through online banking. Donations will be received by a not-for-profit company, Justice For Sgt Blackman Ltd.

If there is any money left in the fund at the end of the appeal process then the money will be donated to good causes. Armed Forces veterans and professionals from all walks of life weighed into the debate with messages of support for the Blackman family and stinging criticism of the legal system. Ex-Royal Marine Andrew Stark, 58, said: I really feel he has been made a scapegoat. It all happened in the heat of the battle.

RAF man Peter Thomas said: This is such an obvious miscarriage of justice it makes my blood boil. Michael Johnson, a 71-year-old former Petty Officer Radio Supervisor from Penrith in Cumbria, said: As a Royal Navy veteran and ex-JP with thirty-one years of service, I have always believed that Sgt Blackman was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice. Stephen Worrall, an ex-medic in the Territorial Army, said: Every day the UK legal system lets offenders off with a warning or minimal sentence due to so called mitigating circumstances yet here we are sending a true hero to jail for making a misjudgement.

Mail Readers Boost Legal Fund For Sergeant Blackman To £73000 In Just Two Days

The jailing of the veteran commando, known as Marine A at his court martial in 2013, triggered a public outcry. He is shown above filmed on a helmet camera on the fatal day of the shooting in Afghanistan

Mail Readers Boost Legal Fund For Sergeant Blackman To £73000 In Just Two Days

The Daily Mail has launched a high profile campaign to overturn Sergeant Blackman’s conviction

WHY THE BATTLE FOR JUSTICE FOR SGT BLACKMAN IS SO IMPORTANT

Sergeant Alexander Blackman believed to be the only British serviceman ever convicted of murder on the battlefield was locked up as a political scapegoat for failings by top brass, say supporters. Blackman was a highly experienced Marine destined for promotion when, on September 15, 2011, he led a patrol to check on a Taliban gunman who had been mortally wounded while attacking a British outpost in Helmand Province. It was near the end of a horror-filled tour of Afghanistan in which seven fellow Marines had been killed and 40 more injured by the Taliban. The insurgent was found dying in a field, and was shot by Blackman who told the court he believed the man was already dead in a moment of madness blamed on the acute stresses of the tour.

In his first interview, given in prison, Blackman, 41, told the Mail: I made a split-second mistake, but I had been sent to a brutal battlefield to fight a war for my country. At the end of my trial, the Establishment lined up to portray me as evil, because it suited them to show the world how politically correct we are. I have been made a scapegoat for all that went wrong there. Now a campaign spearheaded by legendary thriller writer Frederick Forsyth is mounting a fresh legal appeal to free Blackman – known as Marine A after a painstaking Mail investigation revealed that evidence that might have resulted in a lesser charge of manslaughter was deliberately withheld . A high-flying colonel who was blocked from telling the truth to the court martial called it a failure of moral courage by the chain of command . The colonel was so disgusted that he resigned his commission.

Also court martial panel members sent a message to Blackman who is eligible for parole after eight years apologising for the length of his sentence. Michelle Brown, a solicitor, said: Stay strong and brave for Sgt Blackman, justice is slow but she comes in the end to those who go the distance. Danny Smith, a former Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers, said: Sorry you ve been betrayed by your country, hang in there bud.

Jim McDonell wrote: Sgt Blackman was given a life sentence. If the Chilcot report identifies other culprits can we look forward to them being put away for life.

Pauline Skelton wrote: I have just donated to the fund on my country s behalf as it appears that they have crucified a member of the Armed Forces who were sent to war to protect our nation.

Sergeant Blackman’s family and supporters have launched a fighting fund to support the legal costs of his appeal.

If you would like to contribute, visit www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman [3]

Next story

Mail Readers Boost Legal Fund For Sergeant Blackman To £73000 In Just Two Days Clarifications and corrections [4]

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References

  1. ^ www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman (www.justiceforsgtblackman.co.uk)
  2. ^ www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  3. ^ www.dailymail.co.uk/blackman (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  4. ^ Clarifications and corrections (www.dailymail.co.uk)

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