Nightingale retrial: Soldier denies possessing same gun

Sgt Danny Nightingale has pleaded not guilty to illegally possessing a gun and ammunition Photo: Press Association

An SAS soldier jailed for weapons offences today denied that he had possessed the gun alleged to have been kept by Sergeant Danny Nightingale.

The serviceman, known only as Soldier N, is currently serving a two-year period of custody in military detention after admitting possessing prohibited firearms.

The soldier, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was the housemate of Sgt Nightingale, 38, when civilian police raided their rented home in September 2011.

The court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire has heard that Sgt Nightingale is accused of having stored a Glock 9mm pistol in his wardrobe and 338 rounds of ammunition under his bed.

Today, Soldier N, giving evidence for the prosecution, was asked by William Clegg QC, defending Sgt Nightingale, whether the gun his client is accused of possessing was in fact his.

Mr Clegg asked: "Was that Glock pistol one that you had ever been in possession of?"

Soldier N replied: "No."

Mr Clegg asked: "Are you sure?"

He replied: "Yep."

Soldier N, whose evidence was relayed to the public gallery in a neighbouring annexe in order to protect his identity, has earlier been asked whether he had ever gone through his friend's wardrobe in the house.

"As a soldier you don't go rooting through a fellow soldier's kit. It's not the done thing," he replied.

The court martial board heard that Soldier N was on deployment in Afghanistan when he was informed that police were going to raid the house after his ex-wife told them there might be a gun stored there.

The witness said he told a superior that there was a Glock 9mm stored there and some ammunition.

Afterwards he met Sgt Nightingale who had returned to the base to speak to the same officer.

"I didn't understand why he would be involved," Soldier N said.

"I told him what happened and what arms had been found and what I had admitted to.

"I told him I had a pistol and some ammunition.

"It may have come out in conversation that I brought it back from a certain operational theatre in 2003.

"He said 'I've got the same mate'."

Soldier N told the court that he had a second conversation with Sgt Nightingale - after the defendant had spoken to his superior.

"It was a little bit confusing at first," Soldier N said.

"He mentioned a Glock pistol. I said 'no, no that's mine'.

"He said 'no mate, I have a pistol too'."

Soldier N said Sgt Nightingale did not go into the details of how the Glock came into his possession.

"It was more about the consequences of having it, with a possibility of a five year (prison) term," he added.

Soldier N was also asked how he had come to store ammunition in the house he shared with the defendant.

"Things were hectic and we did a lot of the training and range work," he said.

He said that the house was half-way between the base and the firing ranges and he would take ammo home rather than return it to the stores.

"Therefore, I know it's lazy, however at the end of the day it was easier to drive home ready for the next day rather than going all the way through town etc etc, then vice versa in the morning," he said.

Sgt Nightingale, of Crewe, Cheshire, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of a prohibited firearm, namely a Glock 9mm pistol, between November 26 2007 and September 16 2011.

He also denies possession on or about September 16 2011 of ammunition, namely 122 9mm live rounds, 40 7.62mm live rounds, 50 9mm frangible rounds, 50 .338 armour piercing live rounds, two .308 live rounds and 74 5.56mm live rounds.

Sgt Nightingale's family, including wife Sally and father Humphrey, were in court to support him.