SAS sniper Danny Nightingale fights to overturn conviction on his birthday

Sergeant Danny Nightingale was jailed for 18 months in November for illegally possessing a pistol but was released after appeal
Sergeant Danny Nightingale was jailed for 18 months in November for illegally possessing a pistol but was released after appeal Photo: PA Images

An SAS sniper released from jail after a court appeal will mark his 38th birthday today with a meeting with lawyers to discuss the fight to overturn his conviction.

Sergeant Danny Nightingale was jailed for 18 months in November for illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition but was released from military detention three weeks later after appealing against his sentence.

The father of two, from Crewe, Cheshire, spent Christmas at home with wife Sally and daughters Mara, five, and Alys, two, but today has his first meeting of 2013 to discuss the battle to get his conviction overturned.

He will meet with solicitor Simon McKay and barrister William Clegg QC to discuss the way forward, Mr McKay confirmed.

Mrs Nightingale, 38, cannot make the meeting but today said they are determined to clear his name.

"Let's hope we can clear Danny's name and we can move on from this nightmare," she said.

She previously said: "He has been used as a scapegoat for a failing system, so why should he have a criminal conviction hanging over him?

"He served the country for 17 years so I think he deserves to have his name cleared.

"It affects the rest of his life, there's countries that he can't go to if he has a criminal record, so we need to clear his name."

Sgt Nightingale was released from military detention on November 30 after three appeal judges overturned his sentence. The move came after a nationwide campaign for the long-serving soldier's release.

The SAS sniper's lawyers had argued he pleaded guilty to possessing the Glock 9mm pistol - a gift after he served in Iraq - because he was led to believe he would get a lenient sentence.

He claimed he could not remember having the pistol due to a brain injury that affected his memory.

Judges concluded the sentence was too harsh and cut the term to 12 months, saying it should be suspended, prompting Sgt Nightingale's immediate release.