A LANCASHIRE soldier who became Britain's first war criminal has been dismissed from the army and sentenced to a year in a civilian jail.

Corporal Donald Payne, 36, admitted a charge of inhuman treatment of Iraqi civilians in Basra in 2003.

He was among the first soldiers in UK history to be charged with the offence, framed under the terms of the International Criminal Court Act 2001, and his admission has resulted in him being Britain's first convicted war criminal.

In September Payne admitted treating Iraqi civilians inhumanely.

The 35-year-old was one of three Queen's Lancashire Regiment soldiers to be the first prosecuted on a charge drafted under the terms of the International Criminal Court.

The trio were among seven QLR soldiers, including its former commander Colonel Jorge Mendonca, tried over the alleged abuse of Iraqis detained as suspected insurgents.

One of the civilians, hotel worker Baha Musa, 26, died.

The six-month court martial - Britain's most expensive ever at an estimated cost of £20 million - resulted in all seven men, apart from Payne, being cleared.

Although Payne admitted inhumane treatment, he was cleared of Mr Musa's man-slaughter and of perverting the course of justice.

Prosecutor Julian Bevan QC told the trial in opening that Payne's actions amounted to "systematic abuse" against the prisoners.

It was alleged that the Iraqis were held for 36 hours following their arrest.

The court was told they were repeatedly beaten for failing to hold stress positions, deprived of sleep, hooded and cuffed - pre-interrogation "conditioning" techniques the prosecution claimed are banned under international law.

The trial heard that conditioning was sanctioned by senior figures at 19 Mechanised Brigade, over-seeing the British effort in Basra in 2003.

A spokesman for the former QLR, said: "We fully supported the robust invest-igation and if at the end of that process any individual was found to have behaved in a manner we did not believe was typical of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment then the law must take its course."