SAS man home arms 'risk to public'
Published 02/07/2013 | 13:47
An SAS sniper put the public at risk by having a lethal arsenal hidden in the bedroom of his rented house, a court martial has heard.
Sergeant Danny Nightingale, 38, had a Glock 9mm pistol stored in his wardrobe and 338 rounds of ammunition stashed under his bed.
The haul was recovered in September 2011 when civilian police searched the father-of-two's three-bedroom house, a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire was told.
They were acting on information they had received about Sgt Nightingale's housemate - another SAS serviceman known only as Soldier N.
Timothy Cray, prosecuting, told the hearing Sgt Nightingale has changed his account of how the pistol and ammunition came to be stored in the civilian rented house.
Mr Cray said the serviceman would claim the arsenal could have been put there by somebody else but had originally said the pistol was a "trophy" brought back from Iraq.
He said Sgt Nightingale had insisted that his confusion followed a serious illness he suffered while taking part in an endurance event in Brazil in 2009, which had affected his memory.
Mr Cray told the five-strong court martial board that several serving SAS soldiers would be giving evidence anonymously during the trial - with the public and press cleared from the court. "The Crown's case put shortly is that the defendant's possession of the firearm and ammunition was in breach of standing orders that are familiar to every soldier and fundamentally was contrary to the law of this country," he said.
Sgt Nightingale, of Crewe, Cheshire, whose regiment in court was listed as The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border), has pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of a prohibited firearm, namely a Glock 9mm pistol, between November 26 2007 and September 16 2011.
He also denies possession on or about September 16 2011 of ammunition, namely 122 9mm live rounds, 40 7.62mm live rounds, 50 9mm frangible rounds, 50 .338 armour piercing live rounds, two .308 live rounds and 74 5.56mm live rounds.