Insurgent 'was already dead when I shot him'
A Royal Marine accused of killing an injured Afghan insurgent insisted he was already dead at the time, a court martial heard.
The serviceman, known only as Marine A, blamed "a stupid lack of self-control and lapse in judgement" for shooting him.
Marine A took to the witness stand to answer allegations that he shot the Afghan national in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol.
Marine A told the court martial board in Bulford, Wiltshire: "At that point I saw no signs of life from him so I believed he had passed."
A pathologist has given evidence that moments before the fatal shot is fired, the insurgent can be seen moving his arm and his face is also twitching. However, Marine A said he did not see this.
Asked by his defence barrister Anthony Berry QC why he fired, Marine A said: "Stupid, lack of self-control, momentary lapse in my judgement. I thought about it over the last year as we got towards these proceedings but I cannot give any other reason than to say that it was poor judgement and lack of self-control.
"I thought he was dead."
Marine A confirmed he was telling the truth about believing the insurgent to be dead.
Marine A's co-accused, Marines B and C, are alleged to have been "party to the killing" and "encouraged and assisted" him.
The men are charged with murdering an unknown captured Afghan national on or about September 15 2011. All three deny the charges.
The alleged murder had been captured on a camera mounted on the helmet of Marine B, which has been played to the court.
The footage shows the armed insurgent – who had been seriously injured in an attack by an Apache helicopter – being dragged across a field in Helmand Province.
On the footage marines can be heard swearing at the man.
Marine A was filmed walking forward, bending down and shooting the man in the centre of his chest with a pistol.
The Afghan was seen dying as Marine A looked on, telling him: "There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil. 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", it is alleged by prosecutors.
Asked to explain his comment to the other marines present about breaching the Geneva Convention, Marine A said: "The movement of a dead body is covered under that.
"Once someone is dead all you can do is take fingerprints and DNA evidence."
The hearing continues.