5 Jul 2013

Danny Nightingale questioned about weapons haul

It emerged during the court martial hearing today that the SAS’s Danny Nightingale has a previous conviction for unlawfully possessing ammunition whilst in the army. Whilst serving in Northern Ireland he was fined £1,000 for having about 25 rounds of various specification, a thunderflash and a smoke grenade.

Earlier the court was played two police interviews in which Sgt Nightingale admits to having ammunition and a Glock 9mm pistol in his possession and knowing this was illegal. Across the two interviews he repeatedly gives the same explanation – that he was given the pistol in Iraq by Iraqis grateful for the training they’d received from him:

“It was given me by the guys I was training out there. They liked what we did. It’s a keepsake. There you go. I intended decommissioning it. But I never got round to it. It’s always been there.”

He repeatedly blamed this and the stash of 338 rounds in his room on “poor drills” and “bad personal admin”.

Later the defence would say this was all a false confession and that in fact Sgt Nightingale had no real memory of what had happened in Iraq because of amnesia brought on by a three-day coma caused by collapsing during a charity run in Brazil.

Defence said the court would hear next week expert medical evidence to this effect.

Sgt Nightingale told police that due to the hectic nature of his SAS work he never got round to handing the ammo into the “amnesty box” on the bases.

But he admitted to police it was a short walk from where he lived to where the box was located. Asked by the police why he didn’t dump the ammunition he said:  “Yes, there would have been an opportunity” – despite the rushed nature of his work.

He told the police: “It’s something I should have done. I couldn’t tell you why I didn’t do it. I have no excuse. It’s something I didn’t do.”

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