SAS sniper Danny Nightingale guilty of possessing gun and ammunition
Weapon was found in wardrobe and ammunition under his bed in plastic box
An SAS sniper, whose jailing for possession of a war trophy pistol led to public outrage, was found guilty at a court martial re-trial today.
Sergeant Danny Nightingale's case became a cause celebre late last year when it emerged that he had been jailed for 18-months after a Glock 9mm pistol and ammunition were found at a house he shared with another soldier. A campaign by his wife Sally led to such a public outcry that the matter was raised in parliament and the 38-year-old was released after the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction.
The court martial re-trial, which it was claimed pitted army authorities against the elite regiment, saw a host of SAS soldiers brought before the Military Court Centre at Bulford, Wiltshire, under the cover of anonymity.
Today Sgt Nightingale, who had a distinguished 18-year career in the army, showed no emotion as the President of the board returned two guilty verdicts on charges of possession of the weapon and 338 rounds of ammunition. The soldier, who is due to be medically discharged from the army, replied simply: "I understand, Your Honour," when Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett said he would be bailed until a decision was made on sentencing.
Outside court, he said the verdict came as a "great shock" but thanked his supporters, adding: "I think at the moment we need it more than ever. There is a bit of David and Goliath going on."
He added that what he had been through during the last two years had been "shocking": "If I did not have such a strong family I'd be broken. We're close to financial ruin. We have to look at whether we can keep going but I am very lucky. Sally has been amazing throughout, as have the rest of the family."
Timothy Cray, prosecuting, insisted the experienced soldier had put the public in danger by keeping a weapon and ammunition in his house.
Adding that the case had attracted a lot of attention because of the "mystique" surrounding the special forces regiment. However, he added: "No soldier, no matter what his experience is or what unit he is attached to, is above the law."
Sgt Nightingale insisted he had no recollection of the weapon, and believed it might belong to his former housemate Soldier N, who has since been jailed after admitting possession of a weapon and ammunition.
Psychologists gave evidence that, having suffered brain trauma after collapsing during a jungle marathon in Brazil in October 2009, he had been "confabulating" by making up a false confession to fill in the gaps in his memory.
The judge referred the case back to the Court of Appeal to decide whether the court martial had the power to hand down a greater jail term than the 12-months suspended sentence appeal judges had imposed.
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Kennington bus crash: 32 injured after double decker hits tree in south London
Robin Thicke named sexist of the year 2013
PAs cleared of fraud - and Nigella Lawson left reeling at 'ridiculous sideshow' of drug allegations and public dissection of marriage to Charles Saatchi
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Apollo Theatre collapse: Scores injured after ceiling collapses in London's West End
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...
£27000 - £30000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Capita ...