SAS sniper Danny Nightingale given suspended sentence over possession of gun

Wife of Sgt Nightingale said the couple are disappointed over the sentencing but relieved that he will be returning home

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The Independent Online

Former SAS sniper Sergeant Danny Nightingale was given a suspended sentence on Thursday after being convicted for the possession of a pistol and ammunition for the second time.

His wife spoke following the sentencing to describe the couple's disappointment at the sentence, and said they would be discussing whether to launch an appeal with their lawyer.

Outside court, Ms Nightingale described the legal process as “very tough” but spoke of the family's relief as her husband walked free. “We're obviously very disappointed with the sentencing, yet we are pleased that Danny will be coming home with us tonight,” she said.

She went on: “Obviously the judge has his opinion. I don't agree with what was said. I feel quite upset that it's been suggested that we misled people because that's one thing we have not done.

“We've been very honest and open. We've supported Danny and we've supported him through his brain injury and we've learnt more and more about Danny's brain injury as we've gone along and the circumstances of this case.”

She added that her husband was forbidden from speaking with the media but offered thanks on his behalf to those who had supported him, insisting the soldier did not regret his two-year fight. She was unable to say whether the family could afford to continue the legal process.

The 38-year-old was initially jailed for 18 months in 2012 for the offences but had his sentence reduced and then quashed by the Court of Appeal, following a public outcry over his treatment.

The senior NCO was found guilty at a retrial at Bulford in WIltshire of having a 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammunition in the bedroom of his shared Army house in Hereford.

At his sentencing hearing on Thursday, Nightingale, of Crewe received two years in military detention, suspended for 12 months.

A pistol was discovered in Nightingale's wardrobe and ammunition was found under his bed in a plastic box Nightingale said he had no knowledge of them being in his there and said someone else had put them in his bedroom.

The gun and bullets were believed to have been transported back from Iraq and were recovered by civilian police in September 2011 in the rented house he shared with another SAS soldier, referred to only as Soldier N.

The court heard he sustained a head injury during an endurance marathon in 2009 that affected his memory and that had caused confusion.

He had pleaded not guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm between 26 November 2007 and 16 September 2011, and had also denied possession of the ammunition on or about 16 September 2011.

Nightingale, who has been in the army for 18 years, is due to be medically discharged.