1. ITV Report

Former SAS sniper Danny Nightingale has 'no regrets' after gun conviction

Sergeant Danny Nightingale with wife Sally outside court today Photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire

A former SAS sniper could face jail after being convicted of the illegal possession of a pistol and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.

Sergeant Danny Nightingale, 38, pleaded guilty at an earlier court martial in 2012 but the charges were later overturned by the Court of Appeal and he changed his plea.

Speaking after today's hearing, the father of two said the months of legal battles had taken a financial toll on his family and that he would have to consider whether he could "keep going".

Sentencing was adjourned but Sgt Nightingale could now be sent to the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex.

ITV News' Midlands Correspondent Rupert Evelyn reports:

"I never regret fighting it ... not for one second," Sgt Nightingale said after being released on bail. "If I did not have such a strong family I'd be broken," he added.

His solicitor Simon MacKay tweeted that Sgt Nightingale's family would now seek legal advice:

Sgt Danny Nightingale on a military operation

The case centred on a Glock 9mm and 338 rounds of ammunition that were found by police at the rented house Sgt Nightingale shared with another SAS soldier, known only as Soldier N, in 2011.

Police were acting on a tip-off from Soldier N's estranged wife who said there might be a gun stored at the home. The pistol was found in Sgt Nightingale's wardrobe and the ammunition was under his bed in a plastic box.

At the time, Sgt Nightingale told police that he had been given the pistol as a "trophy" at the end of a tour of duty in Iraq and had accumulated the ammunition in training exercises.

But he told the court martial that his confession had been false and that his memory was distorted by a brain injury he suffered during an endurance marathon in 2009.

He said he had "no recollection of receiving the gun" and that he was a "diligent" soldier who would not have "randomly" stored ammunition at home.

Sergeant Danny Nightingale with wife Sally speaks to the media outside the court Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Speaking after the hearing, he told reporters that "there are now things in my head that are not facts" and added that he sometimes had difficulty recognising members of his own family.

His wife Sally added: "He never brought a weapon into the country ... He still confabulates and still struggles with his brain injury on a day-to-day basis".

The Crown said Sgt Nightingale had put the public at risk by having the lethal arsenal stored in an insecure house.

Prosecutor Timothy Cray told the five-person board:

No soldier, no matter what his experience is or what unit he is attached to, is above the law.

No matter how he tries to deny it, the gun and ammunition were there in his bedroom because he put them there and he kept them there.

– Prosecutor Timothy Cray

During the trial several members of the SAS gave evidence anonymously - with the press and public able to hear their evidence from an annexe.

One serviceman said the storing of weapons in accommodation was a "gross breach" of Army regulations.

Soldier N, however, said bringing back trophies from overseas operations was "part of the course".

"You go on operations, you want to bring back a trophy, as our grandfathers did in the war," he said. "To bring back a trophy of some sort is kind of semi-okay."

Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett said he would be adjourning sentence until the Court of Appeal had ruled on the court martial board's sentencing powers.

Sgt Nightingale was sentenced to 18 months' military detention for his earlier overturned conviction, although this was reduced and suspended on appeal.