1. ITV Report

Marine 'A' Alexander Blackman thanks 'wife in a million' after being released from prison

Alexander Blackman, 42, known as Marine A, was released from jail on Friday. Credit: PA

The Royal Marine jailed for killing an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan has thanked his "wife in a million" as he spoke for the first time since being released from prison.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, known as Marine A, said his partner Claire's determined fight for his release had "saved me".

The commando described his release from prison after spending three years in jail as an "immense feeling".

Sergeant Blackman was released from HMP Erlestoke, Wiltshire on Friday after having his murder conviction quashed last month and his sentence changed from life in prison to seven years for manslaughter.

Known then as "Marine A", in 2013 Blackman was convicted of murder at Bulford Court Martial over the fatal shooting of an injured Taliban insurgent in 2011 and jailed for life.

Mr Blackman left prison shortly before 12.20am on Friday. Credit: PA

The appeal court accepted the grounds of diminished responsibility as he was suffering from a mental illness, known as adjustment disorder.

It was argued that during his tour of duty in Helmand during 2011 Sergeant Blackman and his men had been overstretched and under resourced.

"I will be eternally grateful to Claire and I cannot put into words how wonderful she is," he told the Daily Mail.

"She is a wife in a million. Other inmates often said how lucky I was to have her fighting so hard for me. I don't think there is anybody who has witnessed the effort she has gone to who will doubt how she feels about me, and that's beyond words really. You just can't imagine anyone cares for you that much," he said.

His life sentence was reduced to seven years, meaning he was eligible for release on licence after serving half the term.

Blackman said he was "very conscious" his sentence was not complete and he will have to adhere to the conditions of his parole - but he can now enjoy the "little things" such as walking, eating and sleeping when he chooses.

He described the feeling of waking to "glorious birdsong" as a "massive contrast" to life at the Category C prison.

Mrs Blackman fought for her husband's conviction to be reviewed and he was granted an appeal in February.

Mr Blackman's wife, Claire Blackman, has campaigned for his release. Credit: PA

She told the Daily Mail how she felt a "surge of happiness" when she was reunited with her husband describing the moment as "like a dream".

"We have spent so long on this rollercoaster ride and have always steeled ourselves for the worst-case scenario," she said.

"Now we have got Al out, the result we always hoped for, it is taking time to sink in."

The sergeant can no longer work for the military, however his dismissal with "disgrace" was overturned following the appeal.

He has since received several job offers and his story has caught the eye of Hollywood, according to his barrister.

Jonathan Goldberg QC told BBC News: "The case is controversial - this is obviously why Hollywood want to make a film about it.

"I was there last week meeting some important people, and the idea is that Kate Winslet might be cast as Claire, Tom Hardy as Al and - can you believe it - Al Pacino as me."