SAS sniper Danny Nightingale to give evidence in 'illegal weapon' court martial


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The Independent Online

Sergeant Danny Nightingale will have the chance to defend himself tomorrow when he gives evidence before his court martial.

The SAS sniper's case became a cause celebre late last year when it emerged that he had been jailed for 18-months, for having an illegal weapon. 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 new court martial at the Military Court Centre in Bulford has heard from a string of SAS soldiers, who have contradicted his story but tomorrow he will take to the stand.

Sgt Nightingale has pleaded not guilty to possession of an illegal Glock 9mm pistol as well as 338 rounds, which were discovered at the house he shared with another soldier in September 2011.

Today his former house mate, who is currently serving two years military detention after admitting possessing illegal firearms and ammunition, denied that the weapon and rounds found in Sgt Nightingale's room were in fact his own.

Soldier N said simple laziness had led him to store ammunition at home rather than return it to a secure lock up after a day on the firing range. He said the Glock he possessed had been a gift from an Iraqi during his tour in 2003 and he was not shocked when he was told Sgt Nightingale had the same.

"You go on operations, you want to bring back a trophy, as our grandfathers did in the war. To bring back a trophy of some sort is kind of semi-okay," he said, adding: "You only have to look at most Sergeants' Messes... AK47s, Dragunovs. I'm a sniper and I would love to bring back a Dragunov as a centrepiece."