Footage lasted barely six minutes but sparked exhaustive investigation of Royal Marines’ conduct by military police
The two video clips only last for six and a quarter minutes. But they capture a deeply disturbing episode in the proud history of a corps that can trace its history back to the mid 17th century.
The video was taken by Marine B, who – against orders – was wearing a small head camera on the front of his helmet to film souvenir footage of his first tour.
Typically such footage is shared among servicemen and women and this video was viewed by others back at base before Marine B, realising how damaging it was, tried to delete it from his camera.
However, one of the clips survived and a year later in September 2012 was found by chance on the laptop of another marine who was being investigated over an unrelated matter.
This clip – called “clip four” during the court martial – shows the marines roughly dragging the injured insurgent across a field and abusing him.
Marine A can be heard ordering his colleagues to get the man out of sight of a British observation balloon. Marine C is heard suggesting he shoot him in the head but A replies: “That’ll be too fucking obvious.”
The footage led to the marines being interviewed by the special investigations branch of the military police. They also seized Marine B’s head-camera and managed to obtain the subsequent footage (“clip five”), which ends with A shooting the man in the chest, telling him: “Shuffle off this mortal coil, you cunt” and instructing his fellow marines: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas … I’ve just broken the Geneva convention.”
Marine A told the court martial that he had no idea Marine B was wearing the camera – and would have ordered him to remove it if he had noticed it.