Ex-SAS man given suspended sentence
Former SAS sniper Sergeant Danny Nightingale has been given a suspended sentence after being convicted for a second time for the possession of a pistol and ammunition, and his family said they would take time to consider what they would do next to quash his conviction.
The senior NCO walked from court a free man but, along with his wife Sally and father Humphrey, he also left with a stinging rebuke from the judge who described their 22-month campaign to clear his name as misleading and uninformed and said any notion the special forces soldier was a scapegoat was "absolute nonsense".
The family said they would now take time to reflect on whether there will be a further appeal in the fight, which has already cost the family £120,000 and put great strain on the couple, who have two children.
Speaking outside the Military Court in Bulford, Wiltshire, Mrs Nightingale said: "We are very disappointed with the sentence yet we are pleased that Danny will be coming home tonight.
"Obviously the judge has his own 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.
"He (Danny) is feeling angry about the words used in court against his family and the people who have supported him."
Nightingale was found guilty of having a 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammunition in the bedroom of his shared army house. He said that he had no knowledge of the weapon and suggested it had been put there by someone else - a friend and fellow SAS soldier known only as soldier N.
At his sentencing hearing, he was given two years military detention suspended for 12 months.
Passing sentence, Judge Blackett had strong words for those he felt had criticised the army and misled the debate about the case.
"While this case proceeded, many people including you (Nightingale) have made numerous public statements, many of which were misleading. As a result there has been much uninformed and misinformed public debate. Much of what has been said bordered on contempt and has not helped the course of justice."