Released SAS sniper speaks of the "trauma" of being locked up

Family on TV
The Nightingale family this morning on the Daybreak Programme Photo: ITV Daybreak

An SAS sniper who has been released from jail after winning an appeal has spoken of the "trauma" of being locked up.

Sergeant Danny Nightingale, 37, was freed after being sentenced for illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition.

He was given 18 months' military detention earlier this month by a judge sitting in a military court after admitting illegally possessing a Glock 9mm pistol and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.

But three appeal judges yesterday concluded that the sentence was too harsh, after a hearing at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London.

They cut the term to 12 months, said it should be suspended, and ordered Sgt Nightingale's release.

The father-of-two, from Cheshire, said: "It feels fantastic to be free."

He told The Sun newspaper: "It was traumatic being locked up - it was like the shock of capture.

"I've been to far worse places but in those places I was outside and not confined.

"I've done a lot of things in my work, but this is the hardest because of the fear that it could rip my family apart."

Judges heard that more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for Sgt Nightingale to be freed after his wife, Sally, 38, and other family members launched a campaign.

Sgt Nightingale said it felt good to be reunited with his wife and two young daughters, Alys and Mara.

"It feels awesome to have my girls in my arms. Words can't explain how I feel to be free and surrounded by my family again," he said.

"I'm back with my wife and my daughters and that's what counts. You can't beat that feeling."

Judges will rule later on whether his conviction should be overturned.