- Sgt Danny Nightingale was being held in Colchester after admitting illegally possessing a Glock 9mm pistol and more than 300 rounds of ammunition
- The sniper told a court martial earlier this month the pistol was a gift from Iraqi soldiers he had helped to train
- Appeal judges today cut his sentence from 18 to 12 months and suspended it, allowing the soldier to go free
- His wife Sally Nightingale, who has campaigned for her husband’s release, wept at the verdict
Martha De Lacey
15:53, 29 November 2012
19:06, 29 November 2012
An SAS sniper jailed for illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition walked free today after winning an appeal.
More than 100,000 people had signed a petition calling for the release of Sergeant Danny Nightingale, who was sentenced to 18 months’ military detention after he admitted illegally possessing a Glock 9mm pistol and more than 300 rounds of ammunition – a gift from Iraqi soldiers he had helped to train.
The sniper thanked the ‘great British public’ for its support following today’s hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, which led three appeal judges to conclude his sentence had been too harsh.
Freed: Sergeant Danny Nightingale and his wife Sally Nightingale, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London
Relief: SAS soldier Danny Nightingale is seen kissing his wife Sally outside the Royal Courts of Justice where judges agreed to suspend his sentence
Vindicated: Sgt Nightingale had been sentenced to 18 months’ military detention after admitting illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition – gifts from Iraqi soldiers he had helped to train
Sgt Nightingale was being held in a military detention centre in Colchester, Essex, after admitting possession of the pistol and the ammunition at a court martial hearing earlier this month.
Today judges cut his term from 18 months to 12 and said that it should be suspended, allowing the soldier to go free.
The father-of-two said he had been ‘humbled’ by the public reaction to his plight.
His wife Sally Nightingale, 38, who wept at today’s verdict, had campaigned tirelessly for her husband’s release.
‘Thank you to the great British public,’ Sgt Nightingale said outside the hearing.
‘They have been absolutely wonderful in their support.
‘It has just been extremely humbling. Very, very humbling,’ he added.
The decision was also welcomed by MP Julian Brazier, who said the soldier’s original sentence had been a ‘serious miscarriage of justice’.
Former SAS soldier Danny Nightingale speaks to the media after his release
The SAS sniper walked from the Court of Appeal after having had his sentence for possessing a pistol suspended
Sgt Nightingale had told the court martial earlier this month that the gun was a gift from Iraqi soldiers he had helped to train.
It heard that Sgt
Nightingale, who has suffered medical problems affecting his memory,
appeared to have put the gun in a cupboard in his army accommodation in
Hereford on a ‘very hectic day’ when preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
Sgt Nightingale said he had not ‘appreciated’ that he had it.
SAS soldier Sgt Danny Nightingale, left, and with his wife Sally at a Christmas ball in 2010, right
Sally Nightingale, wife of soldier Danny Nightingale, outside the Royal Courts of Justice before handing in a petition for his release
Three judges – the Lord
Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mr Justice Fulford and Mr Justice Bean – heard today’s legal argument in London.
Mrs Nightingale said today: ‘It can only be good for all the troops out there fighting for our country to see justice has been done.’
Mr Brazier, MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, who has campaigned on behalf of Sgt Nightingale, welcomed his release.
‘I was delighted to hear the news,’ he said.
‘While firearms offences are normally very serious, given the very
unusual circumstances of the case, and Sgt Nightingale’s remarkable
record of service, the original sentence was a serious miscarriage of
‘I am delighted that Danny will be going home to his family for Christmas.’
Mrs Nightingale previously said she had been ‘overwhelmed’ by public interest in her husband’s case.
public interest has just overwhelmed us,’ said Mrs Nightingale, as she
arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice, where the appeal was to be
heard. ‘It has helped me fight on.’
Sally Nightingale said: ‘The public interest has just overwhelmed us’
Jailed SAS soldier Danny Nightingale’s wife, Sally Nightingale, stands with his father, Humphrey Nightingale, as they arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London today
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The comments below have been moderated in advance.
Great news Welldone
Shouldnt have been charged in the first place – Good on you chap ..
Good. I feel more comfortable with that but I still think that under all the circumstances he should have been given a reprimand.
Southend, United Kingdom,
Good to see you out.you should never have been there in the first place.What is wrong with this country’s justice system?
northolt, United Kingdom,
Brilliant news! Merry Christmas to all the Nightingales.
Good luck Danny and family.
Finally! Fantastic news.
who dares wins – thank you for your services!
London, United Kingdom,
Glad to see that this Government can make a right decision !, Good luck fella.
Fantastic news for Danny and his family he should never have had to go through that! Well pleased for him!
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